The hottest news story may be different everyday, but there’s one topic that seems to come up over and over again – the price of gas. But we’ve found several basic things that any vehicle owner can do to greatly reduce their gas consumption, save money, and help the environment. You can really impact your fuel economy by how you drive – but first, here’s a review of things you can do for your car that’ll save gas no matter how you drive.
The first one is keeping your tires properly inflated. That can save two miles per gallon. Driving on low tires is like driving through sand – your car just has to work harder. Most service centers will fill up your tires for free, so just ask your service adviser. Also, make a habit of checking your tire pressure whenever you get gas in your car. Many gas stations have an air hose you can use for free.
Another important item is to keep your air filter clean. An air filter all clogged up with dirt and bugs doesn’t let enough clean air through to efficiently burn fuel. Using a dirty air filter will cost you almost two miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency. And worn spark plugs can cost another two. A spark plug can fire as many as 3,000,000 times for every thousand miles driven. Check the owner’s manual for replacement recommendations.
The biggest item is the oxygen sensor. This device provides the engine management computer with information it needs to fine-tune the fuel/air mix. When that’s messed up it can cost up to three miles per gallon. And of course, there’s dirty or substandard oil. Dirty oil causes extra drag. The wrong grade may be too thick. That’s another .4 miles per gallon right there.
One item people seldom think about is their gas cap. A worn, loose or missing gas cap can cost another two miles per gallon. Adding up all of these worn, missing or sub-par items leads to a total of almost 11.4 miles per gallon in reduced fuel efficiency! And with current gas prices, the cost really adds up. Taking care of these simple maintenance items will save big bucks at the pump.
Now most people aren’t missing on all of these items, but think about which ones might affect you right now! And don’t forget tune-ups, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, fuel system cleaning, wheels out of alignment, PCV valve, fuel filter and other key services spelled out in your owners’ manual.
Your service center knows all this stuff and can tell you when you’re scheduled to take care of each item. Create a system of your own to track your service schedules, or just use the computer system at your service center – which may also be updated with recall notices and maintenance schedule items from your manufacturer.