One of the most exhausting chores that comes with being a motorist is filling up the gas tank, especially considering how much the cost of fuel adds up over time. Thanks to rising gas prices, increased emphasis on climate change, and the geopolitical impact of dependency on fossil fuels, improving fuel efficiency has become a major goal for most drivers, even if it’s just to save money. Everybody knows that the best way to avoid wasting fuel and polluting the environment is to drive efficiently. But it doesn’t end there. How well you maintain your vehicle also has a major impact on its fuel economy because the more efficiently your car operates, the less fuel it will burn, and the less exhaust it will diffuse into the air. Here are a few tips on how to improve fuel efficiency by taking good care of your vehicle:
1. Schedule Routine Tune-Ups: A tune-up is an in-depth type of maintenance designed to prevent wear and tear. Consult your owner’s manual for how often your vehicle needs a tune-up, and if it’s overdue, have it done immediately. A simple tune-up can reduce carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon exhaust emissions by 30 to 50 percent. It also saves fuel and improves your vehicle’s overall performance.
2. Keep the Spark Plugs Fresh: If the spark plugs in your vehicle misfire from dirt or improper gapping, this issue can cost you up to 25 percent in gas mileage. Automakers recommend replacing spark plugs every 30,000 miles, so keep track of how long you’ve been using the same ones in your engine. Some of the symptoms of worn spark plugs include slow acceleration, misfires and stalled ignition.
3. Clear Up Your Air Filters: If a car’s air filters are dirty, it can end up losing one mile per gallon of gas at 50 mph. In light of this fact, it goes without saying that replacing air filters routinely can cut fuel consumption significantly. If fuel consumption is reduced by as little as 10 percent, you can save an average of 77 gallons of fuel a year. Refreshing air filters also has the added benefit of improving the internal air quality of your car.
4. Keep the Brakes Pristine: If a brake is poorly adjusted, it may end up dragging while the vehicle is in motion. Moving the wheel against a dragging brake takes more power, which means your brake linings and the fuel in your tank won’t last long as a result. Whenever you get your breaks serviced, don’t just pay attention to the depth of the brake pads, make sure there isn’t any friction even when the brake isn’t depressed.
5. Don’t Ignore Strange Noises: If you hear a rumbling sound while driving or when spinning your steering wheel, the wheel bearings may be worn and may need to be replaced. Wheel bearings are mechanical components of your wheel designed to stabilize them in motion. The wheel bearings are in there to prevent friction, and if they’re worn, it takes extra energy burnt from fuel to turn the wheels and propel the vehicle forward.
Owning a car involves much more maintenance than the average driver realizes. The manner in which you take care of a vehicle, before something malfunctions on it, makes a tremendous difference both in how long the vehicle will last, and how much fuel is consumed while operating the vehicle. As is the case in all other areas of life, prevention is better than cure for any motorist who wants to economize on fuel. Don’t just choose low prices at the gas pump, maintain your car in a way that makes it difficult to burn off any of the fuel that’s pumped into it in the first place. Never hesitate to drive carefully, and be as preemptive as possible about inhibiting wear and tear.