You can maximize your gas mileage, or the number of miles your car can travel on a full tank of gas. The higher this number, the less frequently you’ll have to fuel your car, and the less money you’ll spend on gas.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a few effective tricks for keeping your miles-per-gallon high and your costs low. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these benefits are minimal; they can significantly improve your savings!
Maintain your engine.
Before you do anything else, take your car in for a check-up. You may be unaware of certain maintenance issues that are affecting your gas mileage. For instance, does your car have a rough idle? Do you ever hear it pinging? Then you may have a faulty oxygen sensor. This tiny little part might be costing you as much as 40% of your engine’s efficiency.
Clogged air filters are another common malady, one your technicians at Chapel Hill Tire will check during regular maintenance. A dirty air filter can decrease gas mileage by as much as 10%.
Fuel injectors and fuel systems also become clogged over time with carbon deposits. This reduces the efficiency of your engine. The pros at Chapel Hill Tire can provide a fuel/air induction service that will improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and restore power.
Inflate your tires properly.
Did you know that tire inflation changes depending on the tires you have, how much driving you have done, and the weather? Most people don’t, so they don’t check to make sure their tires are inflated to the proper psi (pounds per square inch). Your engine has to work harder to push the car down the road when the air pressure is low. Properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by more than 3%.
So check your tires’ recommended tire pressure, and check regularly to make sure you’re not losing air pressure. The maximum tire pressure for a tire is printed on the tire’s sidewall, but don’t inflate the tire to that amount; it’s not calibrated to your specific vehicle. Instead, check your owner’s manual and find out what your manufacturer recommends.
For even more efficient performance, we recommend inflating your tire with nitrogen. Nitrogen helps your tires maintain air pressure more consistently over time and across different temperatures.
Use the right oil.
Oil lubricates metal parts in your engine, helps clean it, and transfers heat to keep your engine cooler. Not all motor oil is made equal; it comes in different grades, or measures of viscosity. When you touch motor oil and it feels thick and sticky on your hand, it’s high viscosity; when your fingers slide more easily, it’s lower viscosity.
Using the correct oil for your vehicle creates a more efficient environment in your engine. For instance, if you’re using oil that isn’t viscous enough to fully cushion moving parts, you’ll experience greater engine wear. On the other hand, your car may require a less viscous oil, and if you use the wrong grade engine parts will experience too much friction to move efficiently. This lowers your gas mileage — sometimes by as much as 2%.
These few tricks will go a long way toward keeping both your car and your bank account happy. If you spend a little time on them, you’ll see a big result!