8 Tips to Improve Your Vehicle’s Gas Mileage
If rising gas prices have you concerned, you’re not alone. Here at Scholfield Honda we have nine vehicles that get 30 mpg combined city and highway and another six vehicles that get over 40 combined mpg. But no matter what kind of car you drive, there are always ways to maximize your current vehicle’s gas mileage. Many of these fuel economy tips are effortless but some may require a little work and a change of habit.
1. Replace Your Air Filter
Many vehicle owners forget to change or replace their vehicle’s air filter. This is one of the easiest and practical ways to improve your gas mileage. Think of your car as a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum has a powerful suction that can be affected by the degree of blockage due to debris in the bag. Cleaning or replacing the bag helps bring back the vacuuming efficiency. Your vehicle works the same way. If the car’s filter is clogged with dust and debris, the engine will have to work harder to draw in air. This increases fuel consumption and lowers your gas mileage.
What to do: Replace your vehicle’s air filter according to your vehicle’s manufacturer recommendation.
2. Plan Your Trip
Traffic jams, unnecessary errands and prolonged idling aren’t always avoidable, but planning your trip accordingly can help boost your fuel economy. Did you know that running your engine at idle actually consumes roughly half a gallon to about a gallon of fuel every hour, not to mention the carbon dioxide that your engine is putting into the atmosphere? Most modern cars burn less fuel when turned off and restarted rather than waiting with the engine on.
What to do: Download a navigation app like Google Maps to your phone or use your vehicle’s navigation system to help plan around traffic jams, construction and accidents. Doing this will not only get you to your destination faster and more efficiently, it will also improve your gas mileage!
3. Turn Off Your AC
Running your air conditioner puts an extra strain on your engine, meaning it’s working to drive the A/C compressor as well as the car itself. It’s also a good idea to not run the AC when your windows are down. The savings may be minimal but every bit counts.
What to do: Be sensible when using the air conditioner. Keep your windows up or turn the AC off when it’s not necessary.
4. Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Tires with low air pressure not only lead to premature wear and poor handling, it also lowers your fuel economy. Under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which means it takes more energy to move them.
What to do: Buy an air gauge to keep in the car and check your tire pressure at least every couple of weeks or when the weather changes dramatically. If your car has a built-in tire pressure reader, check it daily.
5. Break Your Bad Driving Habits
Let’s face it, we all have a few bad driving habits. Some of us accelerate a little too fast and other times we break too aggressively. Even if your car can go from 0-60 mph in under five seconds, doesn’t mean it’s not burning more fuel. The faster you go, the greater the drag is that your car will have to work against. The same is true when coming to a stop. Once you have to stop abruptly, energy will need to be spent to bring your car to a stop.
What to do: Take it easy on the pedal. Look far ahead while driving and keep moving when possible by anticipating obstacles. Easing off the throttle and keeping momentum is better than speeding up, braking and then starting all over again. Mind the distance from the driver in front of you and when approaching a light, simply allow your vehicle to come to a slow rolling stop.
6. Watch the Weight
Many of us use our vehicles as a way to haul cargo around, move luggage or act as a delivery truck. Unfortunately, doing so increases the weight of your vehicle and puts more strain on the engine, making it work harder. As you may know, an engine that is working harder than it normally operates will require more fuel to burn. This translates to poor gas mileage.
What to do: Clear out any extra junk you may have in the trunk. Do you really need to keep your kids sporting gear from last season in there? No matter how much you clear out, remember, the less weight your car carries, the more your gas mileage will improve.
7. Reduce Drag
Avoid putting bike mounts, roof racks or storage accessories on your car. Not only does this add weight and increase your car’s fuel consumption, the unusual surfaces of the accessories also increase the aerodynamic drag. An increase in drag simply means your car’s engine will have to work hard to push itself through air.
What to do: Of course, if you are really needing to haul equipment, it may be necessary to install these items. But we suggest leaving them off when you’re not using them.
8. Use the Recommended Motor Oil
Aftermarket providers can be very persuasive when it comes to how their motor oil can improve performance and gas mileage. While some products may actually deliver, they are not specific to your vehicle. When car manufacturers design cars, they put them through a battery of tests to determine what specific type of motor oil works best. This is why they will always offer a list of motor oil recommendations. Using oil that has never been tested on your vehicle’s brand, model or trim, may result in more friction for your engine. And as you may have guessed, this decreases gas mileage.
What do to: Only use motor oils that are recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Do you know your vehicle’s mpg? While you can’t control the rising gas prices, you can follow these eight little-known facts to help boost your vehicle’s fuel economy. If your current vehicle still isn’t getting the gas mileage you need, shop our online inventory or stop by our showroom at 7017 East Kellogg Dr today and get more mpg asap!