How Car Maintenance Affects Your Gas Mileage
It is no secret that routine maintenance is required to keep a vehicle safe, but it seems that most people forget that routine maintenance of their car or truck has an added less noticeable but none the less welcomed benefit of better gas mileage and increased fuel economy. From your vehicle’s electronics to its filters, regular maintenance is key to spending less time filling up at the pump and getting the most out of your engine.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
The easiest way to get more gas mileage out of your car starts as far away from the engine as you can get. The tires are one of the most common place to lose fuel economy; if your tires are balding, underinflated, or misaligned you could be costing yourself a fortune at the pump.
According to the United States Department of Energy, you could improve your gas mileage by up to 3% just by making sure your tires are properly inflated, and in a world where the average American spend over one hundred hours a year just commuting, that time and distance adds up quickly.
The more worn your tires are, the harder the car needs to work to produce the amount of force needed to move itself forward; thus, more fuel is used. A proper alignment can do wonders for reducing tire wear, which will give you more traction, making it easier to put your vehicle in motion.
Sometimes it is more cost-effective to buy a new set of tires than to let your current set continue to cost you money. If you want new tires, but are not sure what tires you should be getting for your car, we found this guide to be the easiest way to search for and shop for new tires. It is always advised that you let a professional install, balance, and align your tires, to ensure that it is done right and will get you the most out of them.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Much like the humans who drive them, a car needs clean air to function correctly. When your vehicle takes in air, it sends it through a filter to rid it of any foreign substances that may cause harm to the engine, such as dust, dirt, and pollen.
Like any other filter, though, its job is to hold on to those substances, causing the unfortunate side effect of letting less air and more debris flow through the more the filter does its job. It is recommended that you change your air filter every fifteen to thirty thousand miles; however, regularly checking and cleaning your filter when needed can greatly increase your MPG and the performance of your vehicle.
Sensing Better Fuel Economy
The wonders of modern technology means that the manufacturer of your car has already supplied you a great tool to combat poor fuel economy in the form of the engine control unit (ECU). This marvel of modern engineering and computing allows your car to, among other things, measure and adjust the ratios of fuel and oxygen, as well as other substances, to improve your vehicle’s performance.
The O2 sensor is usually a good starting point when it comes to the ECU. The O2 sensor’s job is, as the name implies, to monitor the levels of oxygen being brought into your engine. A bad O2 sensor can cause an overcompensation of fuel due to the perceived lack of oxygen.
Another job of the ECU is to measure air mass and density via the mass air flow (MAF) sensor. Similar to the O2 sensor, a dirty or faulty MAF sensor can lead to more fuel usage due to inaccurate measurements of the air in the engine. Getting your engine control unit and the sensors that help it do its job are important and sensitive components of your car, but are easily checked by any certified mechanic with the right tools.
Breaking the Bank
Good fuel economy is quickly becoming a must. With the average American set to spend just shy of $2,000 each on gas alone this year, making sure you are getting the most out of the pump is not penny pinching; it’s just common sense.
With routine and proper maintenance being such an easy option to save money, you would be crazy not to. Remember, always go through a certified mechanic so you can be sure that all of the work on your car is being done correctly and safely.