The auto industry is moving towards fuel efficient and eco-friendly hybrid cars and trucks. This is a welcome move when the fuel prices are rising day by day. However, if you own a gasoline or diesel powered car, you can not just dump it and go for a hybrid vehicle. We can still take some measures to improve fuel economy of conventional cars to combat skyrocketing fuel prices. Here are some simple tips – which are often overlooked – to increase your car’s fuel efficiency; each little step can add up to cut down your fuel expenses significantly.
1. Tune Your Engine
Fixing a car that has failed the emission test or whose engine is out of tune can increase the fuel economy by up to 4%. Serious problems like faulty oxygen sensor can reduce fuel efficiency by 40%. So follow the recommendation on servicing by your car manufacturer and change your oil regularly.
2.Keep Proper Tire Pressure
Keeping your tires inflated to the optimum pressure is one of the simplest steps you can take to improve the fuel efficiency of your car. You can improve your car mileage by about 3.3 % by having proper pressure in your tires. Properly inflated tires also are safer and last longer. You can check the sticker for recommended tire pressure near the driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual.
3. Lighten Your Load
Your car trunk may have unnecessary items such as tools, luggage, golf clubs or skiing shoes. Books, CDs, and other things can also add up to weight of car. A roof rack when it is not needed is also adding to the load your car is carrying. You should get rid of all such unnecessary items. In a typical vehicle, your fuel efficiency can drop by 2% for every extra 50 kg you carry.
4. Clean the Air Filters Regularly
Air filters are needed to keep your engine protected from impurities. Fuel economy can be improved by as much as 10% by replacing a clogged air filter. It can also improve acceleration time by about 5 to 10 %.
5. Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil and Fuel
When you change your oil, you should insist on the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. This step can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 %. Also, you should always use the manufacturer’s recommended grade fuel for your car. Higher octane fuel leads not only to wastage of money, but may damage the vehicle, as well.
6. Don’t drive fast
You should drive within the speed limit recommended by the manufacturer. If you drive faster, you’d consume more fuel. Even if you exceed the speed limit by 8 km/hr, your fuel economy can be affected by affected by about 25%. In the same manner, accelerating quickly uses more fuel; so you should accelerate gradually and slowly and stay within the recommended speed limits.
7. Clean Spark Plugs
Spark plugs get eroded and have a limited life span. You should inspect your spark plugs regularly and make sure that they are in good condition. You should replace the spark plugs and wires at regular intervals recommended by the manufacturer. This will help keep all engine cylinders to fire properly thus resulting in higher fuel efficiency.
8. Keep the Windows Closed
When you are driving on highways, driving with your windows open consumes more fuel than keeping the air conditioner on. So, if you want to keep your interior cool, it is advisable to keep the windows closed and the Air Conditioner on. Of course, you should use the A/C judiciously as it can decrease the fuel efficiency considerably too.
9. Don’t Be a Clutch-Driver
Some people have the habit of keeping their foot on the clutch while driving. When you do this, the pressure on your clutch not only reduces mileage, but also causes wear and tear of the clutch plate, replacing which is often expensive.
10. Stay away from Car modifications
It’s always wise to keep the car in the original condition. Remember that any modification to the car, such as adding diffusers, broad tires, etc., will affect the fuel efficiency and mileage considerably.