March 25, 2022 by Rick Griffith
With the rising cost of things, and civil unrest in Europe pushing world leaders to dip into fuel reserves, it’s no surprise that fuel prices are on the rise. So if you’re a car owner, you’re probably looking for ways cut costs, adjust your budget, and adapt your driving style to help with gas savings.
One way to do that is by keeping a regular maintenance schedule on your car to get the best fuel mileage. In addition, keeping an eye on your vehicle’s operating performance and taking immediate corrective action can save you hundreds a year in fuel costs.
There are huge incentives to proper engine care. For example, the U. S. Department of Energy suggests that a car that fails an emissions test loses 4% fuel mileage. So having something fixed like a failing oxygen sensor will improve your vehicle’s mileage by 40%. An improvement like that can save you $0.17 on the gallon.
If you notice your car bucking when accelerating from a stoplight, it’s likely due to an emissions-related problem. It can run the length of system problems from air intake to the exhaust.
Many cars today have catalytic converters, and when those get clogged, it’s only a matter of time before your car begins exhibiting engine problems. The most significant issue is fuel mileage, though.
Although it might not make much sense at first, the tires on your car factor into your car’s fuel economy and hit your pocketbook hard. So nearly 11 years ago, Popular Mechanics magazine decided to test the theory known as rolling resistance by increasing the tire pressure above the car manufacturer’s recommended pounds per square inch (psi). The idea in question was, would increasing the psi somehow improve a car’s fuel mileage?
The loosely based theory arose from data results released by the U. S. Department of Energy that under-inflated tires lowered fuel mileage by as much as 0.4 percent. But what the team at Popular mechanics suggested was that if you overinflated the tire, wouldn’t you, in theory, get better gas mileage.
Not exactly. If your tire is overinflated, you are not making the expected gains. Popular Mechanics’ tests didn’t increase fuel mileage enough compared to the losses in an under-inflated tire.
Besides, the Popular Mechanics team that ran this test warns consumers not to overinflate the tire, at the risk of less surface contact between the tire and the road. Therefore, making the vehicle less responsive to a driver’s reaction time behind the wheel.
Bottom line, you want to save money in fuel cost, keep your tires properly inflated to vehicle specifications found in the vehicle owner’s manual will save you in the neighborhood of $112 to $800 per year.
Here’s another easy, affordable solution to improving your fuel mileage. Use the manufacturer’s recommended oil grade. Cars that call for 5W-30 motor oil lose 1% to 2% in fuel efficiency on average when using a 10W-30 motor oil.
But if you are looking for an excellent way to save, ask your mechanic if the motor oil they are using states “energy conserving” on the API performance symbol. In addition, these oils contain “friction-reducing additives” that can save you money at the fuel pump.
Furthermore, many vehicles built after 2010 operate at peak performance using synthetic oils. Manufactured oils can save money and time since most cars can go 10,000 miles before needing an oil change.
When you get that oil change every 3,000 miles, or every three months, go ahead and have your mechanic replace your air filter and fuel filter. After all, combustion engines need good air intake to accelerate.
Although, fuel economy did not improve in cars built after the early 1980s. But a combustion engine made before the eighties can see fuel mileage improve a few percentage points.
A few additional signs your car may be losing fuel economy force you to make more frequent trips to the gas station. To keep a vehicle in good mechanical condition, car owners should watch out for the following red flags.
Leaks under your car. Your car needs a tight pressure seal to run efficiently. If a seal is old or broken, it’s a clear sign you’re not getting the best gas mileage.
Intense fuel smells, like it’s burning rich, maybe a sign the fuel injectors need replacing or cleaning. Also, older cars with carburetors may be using too much fuel to fire the pistons and need to be rebuilt or replaced.
Here are a few other things you can do to improve your car’s fuel economy as the driver too.
Don’t accelerate too quickly when taking off from a stopped position. Instead, gradually increase your speed at a consistent rate.
Stop warming up your car. Your car will reach average operating temperatures on its own; unless you have a diesel vehicle, “uptime” is unnecessary in vehicles that run on gas.
Turn off your air conditioning while in town and roll your windows down instead. Using your air conditioning in stop-and-go traffic puts a load on the engine. Therefore use more fuel when you accelerate to get up to the speed limit.
Using your air conditioning at a constant speed, like during interstate driving cross-country, can afford you better fuel mileage. Slow down and use your cruise control while interstate driving outside of peak traffic hours improves fuel mileage.
Keep all the fluid levels, like transmission fluid for your cooling system, power steering fluids, oils, and brake fluid, full at all times in your car. Doing this can reduce the load and friction on the engine and other engine parts from overheating and overworking.
If your current model year car isn’t getting the best gas mileage and you’ve only just begun to research for a new, used car with better fuel economy. Then talk to the folks at Car Credit. They have a wide selection of used vehicles and can tell you the MPG combined value for each car in their inventory.
Their knowledgeable staff and team can also share an excellent regular car maintenance schedule for any car you purchase through them.