The rise in fuel prices has drivers trying all sorts of things to save fuel economy. Some of them work… and some of them don’t. Here are a few tips and tricks that’ll actually save you cash at the pump.
1: Check the tire pressure
A regular inspection of your vehicle’s various components is key to maximize the range of each drop of fuel. Start with the pressure of your tire. An under-inflated tire will increase rolling resistance significantly; with a drop of only 8 pounds of pressure in your tires, fuel economy might also drop by as much as 5 percent.
2: Have the engine checked
An optimally performing engine is a fuel efficient engine. Back in the day, mechanics would “read” the spark plugs and adjust carburetors to optimize fuel delivery and replace what they believed needed replacing. Today, modern computers and fuel injection have eliminated the guesswork from the procedure, but it hasn’t removed the need for a regular tune-up. Technicians will analyze the various readings of the car’s sensors and perform a checkup of all components, changing things like filters and belts.
3: Turn off the air conditioning
The air conditioning of your vehicle is a source of drag to the engine, which means it will increase fuel consumption when it is used. The solution is simple: turn it off when you don’t need it. If the weather is fair, just roll down the windows and enjoy the fresh air. In the middle of a summer like this, however, don’t go crazy… saving a few litres of fuel isn’t worth a heat stroke.
4: A regular check-up of the whole vehicle
While a choked engine is obviously bad for your fuel economy, it isn’t the only part of your vehicle that can affect fuel consumption. Things like bent wheels, worn axles bearings or shocks, and broken springs can all increase the drag on your engine, which will make your engine struggle and drink more fuel. And as an added bonus, you will make your vehicle safer to drive.
5: Choose the right tire
Those big, knobby tires on your SUV look awesome and aggressive, no doubt, but they almost certainly also increase your fuel consumption because they are harder to turn. Make sure you’re using tires with highway-efficient tread if fuel economy is your goal.
6: Pack only the essentials
Open your trunk and take a long, hard look at everything that’s in it. If you see anything that you don’t need on your daily commute—other than safety gear, obviously—leave it at home. Dead weight will obviously increase your fuel consumption. Same goes for the roof rack: that aerodynamic drag makes your car drink more than it needs to.