You don’t have to buy a new vehicle to improve your fuel efficiency, but you do need to tame your lead food. Driving fast and furious may momentarily impress your friends, but it won’t be as impressive at the fuel pump (or when you get your speeding ticket in the mail)!
Here are some basic tips to help you curb bad fuel economy and boost your mileage by as much as 30%.
Don’t Speed on the Highway
Driving fast might be fun, but it drags big time when it comes to fuel costs. Even if you’re driving just a small amount over the limit on the highway, it can have big-time impacts on your fuel economy. If you drive just 10 km/hr over the limit on the highway, you’ll use significantly more fuel. Try to stay at or below the speed limit and watch your mileage soar (and save money on those speeding tickets).
Drive Calm and Cautious, not Fast & Furious
When you’re driving around town, try not to floor the gas pedal between lights (unless you’re racing Vin Diesel – then all bets are off.) Take it calm and slow with gradual accelerations and decelerations. This will not only save fuel, but will save your vehicle’s brakes and other components from wearing as quickly.
Use Cruise Control
In the summer, when driving conditions are good, cruise control can be a great feature to help you boost your highway gas mileage. All of those little variations in acceleration – the result of human error – are eliminated with cruise control, boosting economy.
Plan Your Trips
Try combining many small trips into one bigger one. The fewer trips you take, the less fuel you’ll be using, and the less wear and tear you’ll have on your vehicle.
Idle Cars Are the Devil’s Playthings
Many people don’t know that most cars only have to idle for about 30 seconds before they’re warm enough to drive. If you’re in a situation where you have to leave your car idling for more than a couple of minutes (say waiting in line at the car wash), turn it off. Idling isn’t just bad for fuel economy – it’s bad for your car too. Excessive idling wears down your oil faster and qualifies as more extreme driving conditions, meaning your vehicle would need more frequent service intervals.
Stay Cool, But Forget the A/C
If it’s really hot outside, we don’t blame you for using the A/C. But on most cooler summer days you can save on fuel by dropping the windows and saving the A/C for when you really need it. Unfortunately, driving with the windows down uses fuel too – so for the most savings, try to drive with the windows up when you can.
Take a Load Off – or Leave it Behind
Take only what you need for the trip. This could mean leaving your aunt Marie behind, or other items that could reduce weight. An extra 100 pounds in your trunk can worsen your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent, so try to start slimming down on your loads.
Drive in a Higher Gear
While lugging your engine isn’t good either, you’ll get the best fuel economy when you use the highest gear possible for the speed you’re driving. While there’s not much you can do in an automatic (except make sure you have overdrive engaged), if you have a standard transmission you can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommended speeds are for different gears.
Choose the right Octane fuel
While high-octane fuel probably won’t hurt your car, it might not help it either. Unless your vehicle specifically calls for high-octane fuel in the owner’s manual, then you could be paying extra cash for no benefits. Conversely, if you have a higher-performance engine that does call for a higher-octane fuel, you should be sure to use it for the best operation and fuel efficiency.
Make sure your Vehicle’s Maintenance is Up-to-Date
Essential maintenance items can have a big impact on your vehicle’s fuel economy. Be sure that your vehicle’s service is up-to-date, and book your next service appointment at Wood Wheaton if it’s due for a tune-up.
Change your air filter
A dirty air filter will reduce performance and lower your fuel economy. Fortunately it’s fast and easy to change on most vehicles, whether you do it yourself or leave it to your service professional.
Keep your tires properly inflated
Under-inflated tires can reduce your fuel economy by increasing your vehicle’s drag on the road. Conversely, over-inflated tires aren’t a good idea either as putting to much air in your tires could cause a dangerous blowout and premature tire wear, outweighing any temporary benefits in fuel economy.
Do regular oil changes
Make sure your vehicle’s oil has been changed at the proper intervals as laid out in your owner’s manual. Old oil doesn’t lubricate your engine as well and can decrease economy and damage your engine over time.
Check your alignment and inspect your suspension and chassis for damaged or broken parts. If your vehicle isn’t properly aligned, the additional drag on your vehicle will impact your fuel economy.