Owning and maintaining a car has never been cheap. And, gas is one of the biggest, of those expenses. With gas prices at all time highs, this has never been truer. But you can save gas and save money if you follow the following tips.
- Check your tire pressure. Under inflated tires increase resistance and are the number one cause of avoidable fuel loss.
- Wheel alignment alert. Misaligned, unbalanced wheels hurt mileage by causing tires to shimmy and drag sideways. If your car pulls to either side on straight, flat roads, if the steering wheel vibrates, or if your tires show irregular wear, it’s time to check and correct alignment.
- Keep brakes in shape. Dragging brakes also hamper fuel efficiency, and the culprit is usually a maladjusted or stuck parking brake. Have it checked once a year.
- Use the right gasoline. Most cars today are designed to run on regular gas. Check your owner’s manual. If premium fuel is required, plan on biting the bullet, but if the manufacturer only recommends premium, you may be able to get by with a lower grade. “If it’s recommended, you may have an option to go to a lower grade fuel — although there will be some tradeoff there if you’re saving a ton of money in the process”.
- Change your oil and filter every 3,000 miles to avoid engine friction from dirt. The time your car burns the most fuel is while it’s “warming up”, but a light viscosity oil flows easier during this warm-up period, so use the lightest oil recommended in your owner’s manual.
- Choose proper spark plugs. Owner’s manuals specify a range of spark plugs from hot to cold. Choose hotter plugs if you’re driving around town; colder plugs for frequent highway driving. One misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel mileage by as much as 30 percent!
- Check your air filter. It is important to make you’re your air filter is clean. A dirty filter will rob your car of performance and fuel economy So check every 5,000 miles by holding it up to a light bulb. If light doesn»t shine through it, replace it.
- Reduce Wind Resistance. Fancy add-ons – even roof luggage and bike racks – can reduce your mileage by increasing wind drag. Store as much in the car as possible.
- Use air conditioning wisely. The drag caused by open windows when driving over 50 mph is greater than the energy required to run the air conditioner. So you can get the most fuel efficiency by using the A/C on the highway, and rolling down the windows while driving in town.
- Be a smart driver. Stop and start driving really burns fuel. So, do your best to keep it at a minimum. For example, if you have cruise control, use it to keep highway speeds as steady as possible. Shift manual transmissions into neutral before stopping. And, if you can, consider changing driving routes to avoid excessive stopping and idling.
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