How fuel efficient your car was even a few short months ago wasn’t that big of a deal. When gas prices were low, a swing of 5 to 10 miles per gallon barely registered in your mind.
Yet now, gas prices are rising … drastically. You notice it every time you pull into a gas station and fill up your tank. It’s difficult watching your final cost rise significantly upward, knowing there isn’t much you can do. Gas saving tips you read online never really amount to much … Do companies really think trading your car in for an electric car will save you money? Not when the average price of a car just rose beyond $47,000?
If your summer plans include road tripping, you want real gas saving tips you can use right now, with the car sitting in your driveway. Luckily, there are many things you can do that won’t break the bank.
Let’s start with the reasons why your car’s losing fuel efficiency
Sure, you can save a little bit of money by tracking gas prices with your favorite app, but that amounts to a few cents each fill up. The same applies to paying with cash.
Gas is an important part of keeping your vehicle fully operational. Have you ever purchased cheap gas and noticed your car ran rougher as it moved through the system?
The quality of gas is equally important. We suggest finding a reliable source that’s convenient for your lifestyle. Then use that source every time you fuel up. Do they have a loyalty program? This is the time to use it.
Depending on where you go on your summer road trip, you can sometimes find the same source along your drive. Many consumers use Costco for gas as well as other lifestyle choices. You can map out the best places to stop based on where a servicing station is convenient. It also works well if you need to pick up a few food items when arriving at your final destination.
While you can save some cash this way, it won’t make a huge dent in your fuel bill. This is when it comes time to ensure your car is in top condition, to ensure it’s using fuel as efficiently as possible.
An engine needs both fuel and air to power the engine. Without the proper air supply, it won’t operate correctly. If the engine isn’t taking in enough air, it compensates for it by adding more fuel to the mixture. It will take more fuel to travel at the same speed.
This is why it’s vital to ensure the air filter is clean and capable of allowing a proper air stream into the engine. Clogged air filters are especially common in older cars that still rely on carburetors. While most manufacturers recommend replacing your air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, it’s a good idea to check it regularly and replace it as you notice changes.
A fuel filter blocks contaminants in the fuel supply, preventing them from traveling throughout the engine where they can cause harm. One of the biggest places contaminants can hamper fuel efficiency is by damaging fuel injectors. It can also lower fuel pressure, which further compromises your engine.
As your car ages, manufacturers suggest replacing a fuel filter every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. Check with your owner’s manual to follow recommendations. If you suspect a dirty fuel filter, bringing it in and letting a mechanic inspect it will ensure all parts of your fuel system are working as designed.
One of the most common reasons for a drop in fuel efficiency is a dirty fuel injector. Fuel injectors are tiny nozzles that spray fuel into the engine cylinder. This spray system must work precisely to mix with the air supply at the right time. Without it firing properly, it disrupts the fueling process.
When fuel injectors become dirty or clogged, the fuel spray is anything but precise. In some cases, the fuel injectors can be cleaned. Other times they may need replacing to ensure a proper spray pattern. Fixing the problem early will prevent it from escalating and damaging other parts of your vehicle.
Today’s modern cars use an oxygen sensor to measure how lean or rich the exhaust gasses are as they exit the engine. These sensors register the results, then send a message to the computer system to adjust the amount of fuel that enters the engine.
When an oxygen sensor is dirty, it can lead to an inefficient amount of fuel entering the engine. Some estimate that fuel economy can be lowered by as much as 40 percent.
A faulty oxygen sensor is one of the more common reasons the check engine light will illuminate on your dashboard. It’s a good idea to bring your vehicle in anytime a light illuminates. A faulty oxygen sensor is an easy, affordable fix, and will help keep your fuel economy in check.
Low tire pressure can be a common occurrence as you drive on scorching hot roads. It’s also a common cause of lowering your fuel efficiency. Underinflated tires have more roll resistance with the road. It creates drag as you drive and lower the fuel economy over time.
Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to fix. Pay attention to the dashboard. If it illuminates low tire pressure, inspect your tires for any signs of weakness. You should also check your tire pressure and fill it up with air as needed. Because tires can have a major impact on safety, especially as you road trip, it’s essential to pay attention to this throughout your trip.
No matter how well you drive, you can’t avoid potholes, bumps, and other road hazards all the time. Each bump impacts your wheel alignment, and if it no longer sits straight, it’s costing you money at the pump.
Just like low tire pressure, a poorly aligned wheel creates resistance as it travels down the road. This continual pull hurts fuel economy too.
Now’s the time for a little TLC – before your road trip
With both your safety and fuel efficiency at stake, scheduling a maintenance visit before your next road trip just makes sense. You’ll stop any potential repairs from escalating, and ensure your vehicle is as efficient as possible.
It’s the best gas saving tips we can give.