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Seasonal Car Care

We all want to extend the life of our cars just a little bit longer, without the often heavy price tag. And we’re here to help you do just that! Use these Fuel Economy Tips to “Drive a Little Smarter” and save a lot more this summer travel season.



Keep Your Car in Shape



Properly Inflate your Tires

Improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent simply by keeping your tires inflated to the appropriate pressure. Tires that are low in air mean lower gas mileage by at least 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure – per tire.

 

You can find the proper air pressure for your vehicle on the glove compartment, the driver’s side door or your owner’s manual.

Tune your Engine

If your car seems to be out of tune or has failed an emission test, make sure to get it tuned as soon as possible. This fix can lead to improved gas mileage by about 4 percent.

 

In order for your vehicle to operate at peak performance, you should know and follow manufacturer’s recommendations, particularly on how to know when to perform tune up.

 

Fixing maintenance problems that are even more serious, can improve gas mileage by as much as 40 percent. In order to do this, make sure to be alert to your car’s needs, and take it in to a car shop as needed. And remember, regular preventive maintenance can also avoid the expense of costly repair.

Perform Regular Oil Changes

Regular oil changes greatly help to protect fuel economy. When performing a change, make sure to use the oil grade, weight and type recommended by the manufacturer, which can also be found in your owner’s manual. Changing your oil as recommended and using the correct oil-type can improve your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.

 

If you also pair the perfect match with a brand that reads “energy conserving” on the API performance, you can reduce friction, improve engine efficiency and, consequently, improve gas mileage.

Replace Clogged Air Filters

On carburetor equipped vehicles, which tend to be older, replacing a dirty air filter can increase fuel economy from 2 to 6 percent. Replacing a clogged air filter in these same cars can result in an increase of fuel economy by as much as 14 percent.

 

Replacing dirty or clogged air filters in fuel-injected, computer controlled engines, which tends to be most cars manufactured after the 1980s, does not improve the fuel economy directly but can improve acceleration, which can retroactively improve gas mileage.



Drive More Efficiently



Drive Wisely

Aggressive driving, such as rapid acceleration and rapid braking, simply wastes gas –by reducing your mileage by around 33 percent on highways and 5 percent around town.

 

One way to drive sensibly is by observing the speed limit. Although every vehicle reaches its best possible fuel economy at a different speed or range of speeds, gas mileage typically decreases exponentially after 50 mph.

 

On a long trip or road with a constant speed limit, you should use cruise control, which maintains a stable speed and, consequently, improves gas mileage.

 

If you’re parked, be sensible too! Make sure to turn off your engine because excessive idling can use from a quarter to a half gallon of fuel – per hour.

Remove Excess Weight

Prepare your car for the scale! Remove any unnecessary items from your vehicle, particularly heavy ones – 100 extra pounds in your vehicle can reduce mileage by about 2 percent. This is particularly true for smaller vehicles.



Plan Your Trips Wisely



Combine Your Trips

Need to go to the post office now and the grocery store later? Try to organize your errands into one gas-saving (and time saving) trip. Several short trips and the back and forth involved can use twice as much fuel as a multipurpose trip, particularly because restarting and re-warming your engine requires more fuel.

Commute Smarter

May the stoplights and traffic be ever in your favor! Try to avoid peak rush hours to avoid constant, abrupt accelerating and braking. If that’s not possible, consider using public transportation or carpooling.

To cater these fuel saving tips to your car and situation, use this fuel cost calculator to understand where you are now and why; then, apply the tips as needed.

 

You can also find more information on fuel efficiency in the following sites:

 

Federal Trade Commission – “Gas Saving Products”

 

Federal Trade Commission – Paying a Premium for High Octane Gasoline?

checklist

1 Estimates for fuel saving from proper tire inflation, engine tuning, proper oil changing, overall car maintenance and sensible driving are based on Gas Mileage Tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.