Want to know how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to gas? With proper auto maintenance you can increase your fuel economy, saving you money and time spent at the pump.
What to Watch For
- Make sure to keep the air filters clean. Dirt, dust and bugs can choke off the air, creating a “rich” mixture. This wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. At each oil change, ask the technician to inspect your air filters as well. Torn, dirty, water or oil soaked filters should be replaced with clean ones, which can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
- Seasonal temperature changes can cause tires to lose pressure, preventing your vehicle from getting maximum performance and mileage. Check tire pressure (including the spare) on a monthly basis. Fully-inflated tires can save you as much as three to five cents per gallon.
- Worn spark plugs sometimes cause the engine to lose power or misfire, wasting fuel. Spark plugs have a replacement interval ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 miles depending on the vehicle, so check your owner’s manual.
Never underestimate the power of a routine tune-up. In addition to checking the spark plugs, the technician should replace any other ignition system or emission system parts as well as the fuel and air filters, adjust the ignition timing and idle speeds and ensure that the onboard computer control system is working properly. These simple checks can improve gas mileage by an average of four percent.
How you drive makes a difference, too. Aggressive driving can reduce fuel economy by as much as 33 percent on highways and five percent on city streets. Also try to avoid excessive idling, driving over the speed limit, and using the A/C.