Saving money on gas is a topic every car driver has on their mind. While most of us think about saving money at the pump, fewer of us consider maintenance considerations that can help save money on gas by creating greater fuel efficiency. There are little things that can be done to your vehicle, many of them very simple and able to be done quickly by you, that factor in to overall fuel economy. By staying on top of these little maintenance points you will be able to make certain that you are maximizing your vehicle’s fuel economy and saving on gas by maintaining your vehicle.
The first and most easily accomplished task is keeping an eye on your vehicle’s tire pressure. According to the Department of Energy, properly maintained air pressure can improve fuel economy by 3.3%, while poor improper inflation can lower gas mileage by 0.3% per each drop in 1 psi for all four tires. New cars will often have an electronic tire pressure monitor system, but on older vehicles and as a matter of good practice be sure to maintain your vehicles tire pressure to exact specification to save on gas. Your vehicle’s door jamb, owner’s manual as well as the tires themselves will have tire pressure guidelines to follow. One thing to keep an eye out for; depending on the make and model of your vehicle, your car’s front and rear sets of tires may have different ideal tire pressures. Also, as a matter of precaution, don’t forget to check on the spare tire once a month to make sure that it is properly inflated should you encounter a flat tire while on the road. Not only do properly inflated tires preserve the tread life of your tires, they also serve to improve your vehicle’s overall stability and safety.
Tune ups and emissions tests can also help you save gas through vehicle maintenance. A tune-up on your vehicle can improve gas mileage by an average of 4%, while fixing a major concern such as a faulty or malfunctioning oxygen sensor can have a huge effect, improving your gas mileage by up to 40%! In a similar way, replacing dirty worn-out air filters will help to save gas. People often think of a car running on gas alone, but your vehicle actually runs on a combination of oxygen and gas, making a dirty air filter a real drag on your fuel economy.
Finally, be sure you are using the right kind of engine oil. Defer to the owner’s manual for the ideal motor oil choice for your vehicle. By using less-than-ideal motor oil in your vehicle, you may be lowering your gas mileage by 1-2%. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the American Petroleum Institute’s “Energy Conserving” label on any motor oil you choose.
By following these simple maintenance precautions, you can save on gas with minimal effort and investment. Along with sensible driving habits, you will be sure to maximize your MPG’s this summer when you take off on your next road trip adventure. Happy travels!