Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Get better gas mileage

How to get  better gas mileage

10 ways to improve gas mileage

Tire pressure, under inflated, fuel economy, MPG, more miles per gallon1. Keep your tires inflated to the pressure listed on the label inside the driver’s door pillar.

Most drivers never check their tire pressure, and that can cost you at the pump. An underinflated tire deflects more energy, increasing rolling resistance, which robs the vehicle of fuel efficiency. Tires lose pressure over time and running a tire 20 percent underinflated, which is 5 to 7 psi below the recommended pressure can increase your fuel consumption by 10 percent.

What’s that in terms of dollars? Underinflation costs you 2-3 miles per gallon, or .27/gallon to .41/gallon (gasoline price $2.75 and 20MPG).

Not only that, but “running underinflated also reduces the tire’s tread life,” said Bob Toth, Goodyear’s general manager, auto tires.

If that’s not enough, the Society of Automotive Engineers reports that 87 percent of all flat tires have a history of underinflation.


2. Replace spark plugs early

Sure, the owner’s maintenance guide says your plugs are good for 100K miles. But that last 20% of your plugs life is going to cost you. That’s when spark plug gap wears to a point where you get misfires, poor starting and lower overall performance. You have to replace them anyway, so why not replace them slightly BEFORE they’re due and enjoy the better performance and increased gas mileage?

3. Lose some weight

Do you really need to haul all that extra junk in your trunk. Clean out your car and trunk and you’ll reduce vehicle weight and increase gas mileage.

4. Lighten up

It’s not a race and putting the pedal to the metal costs you big time. Less aggressive acceleration reduces fuel consumption. You’ve heard a hundred times, now do it.

5. Use the correct motor oil

Think you know more than the engineers that designed your engine? Think again. Adding a heavier weight oil increase friction in your engine, causing it to run hotter and less efficiently. The lighter weight oil in recommended for late model engines actually saves gas.

6. Use cruise control

Steady acceleration saves gas.

7. Reduce electrical loads

That bitchin’ sound system you added gulps power. Power isn’t free. Turn off heated seats, heated mirrors, rear window defogger and reduce blower motor speed as soon as you’re comfortable.

8. Use your AC instead of driving at high speeds with your windows open.

The Aerodynamic drag caused by open windows at highway speeds costs you more than the cost of running your AC. At city speeds, the opposite is true. If you can handle the temperature, turn off your AC and open your windows when driving at less than 40-MPH.

9. Don’t warm up your engine

Warming your engine in cold weather wastes gas. Start your engine. Buckle your seat belt. Turn on the defroster. Check for traffic. Then DRIVE. That heats up your engine much faster than letting it idle and that uses LESS gas.

10. Combine trips

Warming up a cold engine takes a lot of energy. Once it’s warm, run as many errands as possible, especially in cold weather. You’ll save gas.

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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