Whether you’re a weekly commuter or weekend warrior, saving money on gas is probably worth it to you. After all, gas can add up to around $200 a month just for the necessities of your life. Getting that cost down can greatly impact the overall cost of driving your vehicle and allow for more dollars to be allocated elsewhere such as for trips and vacations.
And don’t worry, buying a new vehicle is not necessary to improve your fuel economy! Follow these tips to maximize any vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
1. Vehicle Maintenance Up-to-Date
A vehicle runs optimally when all systems are in great working order. Having necessary repairs and staying up-to-date on factory scheduled maintenance helps ensure that all systems in your vehicle are functioning at their best. Preventive maintenance will not only help you avoid unexpected and costly repairs, it will also improve your fuel economy.
Make sure your oil and oil filter is changed regularly and the vehicle is inspected for any issues. Keeping a clean air filter can also have an impact.
Consider having your fuel system cleaned if your vehicle needs it. A dirty system can cause fuel to burn inefficiently.
2. Check Engine Light Fixed
A vehicle’s check engine light is oftentimes triggered due to an emissions issue--such as a poor gas cap or evaporative leak. When there is a leak in the system and vapors or fluid is expelled, it can impact your vehicle’s fuel economy.
If your check engine light is on, you’re going to want to find good auto mechanics in your area to help.
3. A/C On Highway and Windows Down In Town
Vehicles are designed with aerodynamics in mind and driving with windows or sunroofs open creates resistance drag. Resistance drag will lower your fuel efficiency as it requires more power to propel the vehicle forward. Resistance drag has a greater effect on the highway (at high speeds).
Your vehicle’s A/C (air conditioning) system requires quite a bit of power to run, in fact, you’ve more than likely noticed a significant difference in fuel efficiency after driving a long time with your A/C on. And some vehicles are worse than others. It typically pays to avoid running your A/C.
However, the need to stay cool is real and so for the best possible fuel economy scenario: keep your windows up and run your A/C on the highway, and turn your A/C off and roll your windows down when you’re driving in town.
4. Tires Aligned and Tire Pressure In-Spec
Tire pressure can have a significant impact on fuel economy. Especially if your tires are underinflated, it can create heat and drag that not only wears your tires sooner, but also decreases your fuel efficiency. Since tire pressure is temperature-dependent, it’s a good idea to check and adjust your tire pressure at least once a month and always before and during road trips.
Proper tire alignment will help ensure even wear on your tires and other suspension components as well as keep your vehicle moving optimally down the road.
5. Don’t Idle
Turn your vehicle off whenever you are going to be in the same place for more than five minutes. Every second that your engine is running, it’s using gas. Turning your engine off not only improves your fuel economy and saves you money, it’s also better for clean air, pedestrians and our environment.
6. Steady on the Gas Pedal
Pedal-to-the-metal uses a lot of gas. Slow, smooth and steady accelerations and decelerations (versus on/off or abrupt pressure applied to the gas pedal) is a more fuel-efficient driving habit.
Also, simply driving slower improves fuel economy. The higher your speed, the more fuel it takes to maintain it.
Next, stop-and-go driving is extremely hard on vehicles and greatly impacts fuel efficiency. Try to plan your driving to avoid traffic and multiple short-distance trips. If you’re able to make your driving as long, smooth and slow as frequently as possible (think mountain highway), you’re well on your way to better fuel economy and saving money.
If you have any questions or need help, contact us!