Q: What can I do, short of going to an auto repair shop, to help improve my vehicle’s gas mileage?
A: The most important thing you can do to improve your gas mileage is make sure your vehicle is running at top performance. The following maintenance tips will make a difference.
•Make sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure. A mile or two per gallon can be lost if tires are underinflated.
•Check for worn spark plugs. Heavy deposits and worn electrodes cause misfiring. Loss of power and reduced gas mileage are the result.
•Replace dirty engine air filters. A clogged air filter will cause the engine to use more gas and affect gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
•Use synthetic lubricants in your engine and driveline. Not only do they help cut down on repairs, but they can increase gas mileage by 8 percent. These superior lubricants reduce friction, resulting in less effort required for the engine to run and a longer life for the engine parts.
Your driving style also affects gas mileage, so consider the following factors when getting behind the wheel.
•Aggressive driving – driving fast and accelerating hard – can decrease mileage by as much as 30 percent.
•When approaching a stoplight, if it is obvious that you will need to stop, ease off the accelerator 100 feet or so before the light. Coasting saves gas.
•Weighting your vehicle down by filling your trunk with unneeded items can impact mileage; every 100 pounds can cut gas mileage by 1-2 percent.
•Air conditioning takes extra power to run and has a negative effect on gas mileage. If it is not too hot, just use the fan setting.
•Taking several short trips from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip covering the same distance.
Paying attention to your vehicle and keeping it well maintained – which should include taking it to a trusted auto repair facility when needed – along with being aware of your driving habits, will positively impact your mileage.
For more gas-saving tips, visit the Car Care Council at www.carcare.org.