Tips for Reducing Your Vehicle’s Fuel Consumption
Gas isn’t cheap at the best of times, but with economic worries front of mind for most people right now, it’s more important than ever to reduce fuel consumption, so your gas dollars stretch further.
Although a lockdown may mean you’re driving less than usual anyway, there are still plenty of other things you can do to reduce your mileage further.
Check Tire Pressure and Wheel Alignment
Be diligent about checking your tire pressure. While this should be done once a month or so anyway to ensure your tires are safe and your vehicle driving smoothly, completing this task also helps with fuel efficiency.
Under-inflated tires burn through more fuel because rolling resistance increases. This means your vehicle needs more energy to stay at a given speed. In turn, your miles per gallon level reduces. To find out the correct air pressure level for your tires, check your car owner’s manual for specifics.
Also, keep in mind that while many modern cars have in-built tire pressure sensors, you’ll typically only receive a low-pressure warning once the level drops very low. It’s essential, then, to check tire pressure yourself regularly to keep it at the recommended levels.
Another job is checking wheel alignment. Have your car realigned when you next get new tires, have the vehicle serviced, or anytime you notice the car takes more effort to drive in a straight line. More gas is required when wheel alignment is off because there’s the resistance of tires that aren’t correctly lined up with the car’s steering wheel. This situation then leads to an unnecessary loss of fuel economy.
Replace Your Car Battery
Car batteries need replacing every few years anyway, but there’s an additional reason to check and have yours replaced when the time comes. Heavily discharged batteries place more load on engines and eat up more fuel to boot. This happens because the alternator remains engaged to recharge the battery, thereby using more fuel.
Also, invest in a new car battery installation sooner rather than later because when your battery isn’t properly charged, the fuel injectors likely won’t add fuel to the cylinders as efficiently. In turn, you can end up losing significant fuel mileage. Be on the lookout for indications that your battery needs checking, such as the vehicle running less smoothly, the engine lurching, or trouble starting the car.
Another way to boost fuel consumption is to reduce the amount of idling you do when driving. After all, when your car’s running but you’re not going anywhere, you’re using gas but getting zero mileage from it.
If you think your vehicle will stay in one spot for more than a minute or two, switch the engine off rather than leaving it running. However, this must only be done when safety permits, such as when you’re parked on the roadside, in your driveway, or a car park, etc.
When it comes to your driving methods, drive smoothly wherever possible. Be mindful of applying steady and consistent pressure to the accelerator pedal, rather than slowing down and speeding up often, which wastes fuel. When you don’t have to break suddenly or put your foot down hard, your car won’t have to work as hard. Thus, this significantly improves fuel efficiency.
Think ahead by watching what’s happening on the roads in front and around you, rather than driving on auto-pilot. Drivers who are focused notice when a build-up of traffic, turning vehicle or red light in front of them makes it likely they’ll have to brake soon. They can, therefore, brake slowly and gently.
Swap Out the Air Filters
One of the most important maintenance tasks to complete on cars each year is replacing dirty air filters. This job is necessary for numerous reasons, one of which relates to fuel economy. Dirty filters make car engines work a lot harder than they have to maintain the same speed. The reason for this is that clogged up materials limit the amount of air that enters engines.
Any time your vehicle’s engine has to work more, you get less-than-ideal fuel efficiency. Follow the recommendations in the manufacturer booklet that comes with your car about how often the air filters need changing. Note, though, that people who regularly drive in dusty conditions should get their filters swapped out more than those who don’t.
Working to improve fuel consumption throughout the year can add up to a lot of money saved over 12 months. Plus, these kinds of reductions also help the environment, which is an added bonus.