Follow these tips to make sure you improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.
10. Get Rid of the Extra Weight
Did you know that hauling around an extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce your car’s gas mileage by up to 2 percent? Yep, it’s true! Now that you are aware of this, go through your car and take out anything you don’t really need to be hauling around, like a heavy toolbox or heavy sandbags. Remove any unnecessary stuff you may have on the roof, too, like an empty bike rack, which can drop your mileage by 5 mpg.
9. Don’t Overinflate Your Tires
If someone tells you that you can get better gas mileage by overinflating your tires, don’t believe it. What will happen is that you’ll wear out your tires prematurely, increase your stopping distances, and wear out your suspension components. Not only that, but you’ll also have a rougher ride in your car. Instead of listening to your bonehead friends, check the placard inside the driver door’s frame for the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle.
TIP: Underinflated tires can also cause your vehicle to burn more gas, so always make sure you check your tires’ air levels.
8. Take Care of Your Vehicle
Maintaining your vehicle doesn’t just keep it running in tip-top shape, it also maximizes your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. According to GOBankingRates, “the U.S. Department of Energy found that a poorly tuned engine consumes more fuel.” So, take a tip from the experts and get a tuneup regularly.
TIP: Make sure you’re using the right motor oil, too. Using the wrong kind can cause your engine to work harder, thereby burning more gas. The North Carolina Consumers Council recommends using fully synthetic oil. It’s more expensive but it’s made from polymers, not crude oil, and results in up to 3 percent better fuel economy.
7. Use the Cruise Control
Believe it or not, the cruise control feature on your vehicle is actually an effective way to save gas. According to Edmunds.com, cruise control can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy up to 14 percent, with the average savings coming in at around 7 percent.
TIP: If you’re in a mountainous area, DO NOT use cruise control. “It will try to keep you up to the speed you’ve set and will use a lot of extra gas downshifting to lower gears to accomplish this,” Edmunds.com notes.
6. Leave the Tailgate Up
If you drive a pickup truck, one of the best ways you can improve your gas mileage is by leaving the tailgate up. “Keeping your tailgate down while driving reduces your fuel economy by increasing aerodynamic drag. When the tailgate is up, a bubble of air called a vortex is created in the bed,” the North Carolina Consumers Council said on its website. “This bubble pushes the air coming over the cab higher, causing it to flow over the top of the tailgate and onto the road. When the tailgate is left down, the bubble collapses and the air rushing over the cab pushes down on the tailgate, increasing stress on the bed and creating additional drag.”
5. Upgrade Your Vehicle’s Software
According to the North Carolina Consumers Council, improving your gas mileage may be as simple as upgrading your vehicle’s software. “Ask your dealer for an engine computer software upgrade, which is often free if your vehicle has less than 80,000 miles. The software may be updated to provide more efficient operation, not to mention fix other problems. While you’re there, the dealer can also update the other modules in the vehicle, but it might cost you if you are not within warranty,” the Council said in an article published on its website.
4. Slow Down
Driving faster will get you where you’re headed much quicker, but it’ll burn more fuel too. According to GOBankingRates, Consumer Reports says that the slower you drive the better your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. For example, you reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by 5 to 7 mpg when you increase your speed to 75 mph. You need to avoid unnecessary braking as well. This can also drain your vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency. Those who avoid unnecessary braking can avoid reducing their vehicle’s gas mileage by up to 40 percent!
3. Choose the Best Route
Choosing the best route, i.e. the route with the fewest stops (stop signs, traffic lights, traffic jams, etc.), can help you save on gas. Keep in mind that the best route isn’t always the shortest route. That’s because the shortest route isn’t always the most fuel-efficient way to travel.
TIP: Try changing your work hours to avoid sitting in traffic. If possible, ask your boss to let you come in an hour earlier or later and leave an hour later or earlier. If that’s not possible, then turn your car off while sitting in traffic.
2. Replace Your Spark Plugs
If your car’s gas mileage drops suddenly, there’s a pretty good chance that your spark plugs are misfiring. Therefore, to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, you need to replace your spark plugs — and do it often. According to The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, bad spark plugs can decrease your car’s fuel economy by up to 30 percent, thereby costing you up to about 94 cents per gallon.
TIP: Don’t wait until your spark plugs are completely worn before replacing them. Instead, change them before they are 80 percent worn.
1. Turn Off Your Engine and Your AC
Whether you’re waiting in a traffic jam or waiting outside in the car for your spouse or kids to finish getting ready, turn off your engine. “Idling is a major waste of gasoline, and contributes massive amounts of pollutants to the atmosphere,” MoneyCrashers.com said on its website. And, running the air conditioner wastes gas, too. We know there are times when you need it, but you really need to keep it turned off as much as possible. To do this, try parking your car in the shade and roll down the windows to let air circulate through it.
TIP: Turn your AC off during frequent or heavy acceleration, too. A car uses the most fuel during acceleration, and if the AC is running, it’s just going to use up even more fuel.
Your turn! What things do you do to improve your vehicle’s gas mileage? Let us know in the comments below.