A poorly maintained vehicle will consume up to 15% more fuel, produce higher levels of emissions, require more costly repairs and will have a lower resale value. However, there are six easy maintenance tips you can use to reduce your fuel costs and increase gas mileage.
Using energy conserving oil, doing regular coolant changes, using fuel treatments, replacing spark plugs and wires and checking your tire pressure can also improve your fuel economy.
Reducing Your Fuel Costs
6 easy habits that you can change to enhance your vehicle's fuel economy
- Avoid road rage and aggressive driving: Quick starts, hard stops and aggressive driving can increase fuel consumption by up to 25%.
- Observe the speed limit and slow down: While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 100 km/h. Reducing your speed from 120km/h to 100km/h can cut your fuel consumption by 20%.
- Avoid unnecessary idling: Unnecessary idling for 10 minutes a day results in a 5% increase in fuel consumption over a year. Aside from wasting fuel, it generates greenhouse gases that negatively contribute to climate change.
- Track your fuel consumption: By tracking your fuel consumption, you can monitor how many kilometres you get out of a fuel tank.
- Keep an eye on your tire pressure: Keeping your tires properly inflated means they won't wear out as quickly and ensures you're getting the most mileage out of your gas. Tire pressure should be measured monthly and inflated to manufacturer specifications when tires are cold.
- Reduce vehicle weight: By adding more weight to your trunk carrying heavy items and decreasing your vehicle's aerodynamics with bikes and roof racks, you will increase your fuel consumption. Carry only what you need and avoid the extra cost. Reducing the load in this way could reduce fuel consumption 2-3%.
Use Energy Conserving Oil
The best oils for fuel economy carry the label 'Energy Conserving'.
Regardless of what motor oil you use, changing it regularly (following the vehicle manufacturer's guidelines) is one of the best ways to ensure that your vehicle stays in top condition.
Keep Tabs on Your Coolant Level
An engine not running at the optimal operating temperature consumes more fuel. As well, it can cause emissions issues and wear out your engine more quickly. Ensuring proper coolant changes and mix helps prevent these problems.
Check to make sure there is coolant in the overflow tank. Watch out for cracked hoses, as well as loose clamps and belts. Remember, coolant degrades over time, so follow your manufacturer's recommendations and change it regularly.
Use Fuel Treatments to Improve Gas Mileage
A poorly maintained fuel system reduces fuel economy, as fuel injectors become clogged, while the engine and intake valve deposits build up. Clogged injectors burn more fuel to travel the same distance. Fuel treatments clean your vehicle's fuel system while you drive to restore lost power and remove harmful deposits.
Replace Spark Plugs and Wires as Required
A worn or malfunctioning ignition system will cause your engine to misfire, which could leave a small amount of fuel unburned. To get optimal fuel efficiency, ensure that your ignition system is in top shape.
Check Tire Pressure
The simple act of maintaining proper tire pressure will help save fuel. Check your tires once a month. Do it when the tires are cold. The recommended tire pressure is shown on a plate or sticker attached to the edge of the driver's door, the door post, the glove compartment or the fuel tank door. If you can't find it, check the owner's manual or consult your dealer. It's important to recognize that the number on the tire itself is the maximum pressure and will not likely match the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure. Check your tires. Not only will you save on fuel, your tires will last longer.