12 Tips to Improve Your Fuel Efficiency

Guess what?  Gas prices are rising again.  Before you know it, summer is here and there are more drivers on the streets.  Gas prices will rise again.  So to help you save some money and improve fuel mileage, here are 12 quick ways to get the most from your vehicle while spending less at the pumps.  In no particular order of importance :

# 1 Tire Pressure

Check Your Tire Pressure

Check it regularly and set the tires to the specifications set inside the door of your vehicle.  Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.

# 2 Battery

Check Your Car Battery

If the battery is not in good condition, that will cause the alternator to charge all the time trying to charge the battery.  That consumes power and that reduces mileage.    Check the battery indicator on top of the battery to see if its needs to be replaced.

# 3 Air Filters

Replace Dirty Air Filters

Check your airfilter to make sure its nice and clean.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by 10 percent, while replacing an oxygen sensor could result in an improvement as high as 40 percent.  Experts recommend that air filters should be replaced every 15,000 miles or 10,000 miles if you live in a dusty climates.  It takes only about 5 minutes to replace the air filter.

#4 – E10 Ethanol

E10 Ethanol

Most of the country have a new fuel called E10.  It’s 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.  Ethanol is a renewable resource and it cleans up tail pipe emissions, but it lowers fuel economy.  Don’t confuse it with E85 which is 85% ethanol and must only be used in cars that are flex fuel capable.

#5 – Excess Cargo.

Remove Excess Cargo

Golf clubs, bowling balls, suit cases, etc.  Get rid of it because you are paying for every mile that you haul it around.  An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

#6 – Heavy Oil


Contrary to the belief that heavy engine oil is better, heavy oil means that its harder to push through the engine.  That requires power, which requires more fuel.  Check our owner’s manual to see what type of engine oil that you should be running.

#7 Thermostat

Check Your Engine Thermostat

A bad thermostat that makes the car run too cool or makes the computer think that the car is running cooler than it should.  Excess energy to keep the car cooler is fuel that you are wasting.

#8 – Oxygen Sensor “O2 Sensor”

Check your O2 Sensor

By looking at the downstream exhaust coming out of the engine, the oxygen sensor is going to provide you with an opportunity to have your onboard computer measure the oxygen content of your fuel mixture as it comes out of the exhaust.  As it comes out of the exhaust the level of the oxygen tells the computer whether to make the mixture richer or leaner.  If its running too rich, that means too much fuel is being used.  That means if there is malfunction in the oxygen sensor, it will tell the computer to use more fuel.  The oxygen sensor can be checked out by your technician or if you are an advanced student then you can do it yourself.  Shop manuals do have a procedure for checking the o2 sensor operation.  Note:  O2 sensors are only on later model vehicles.

#9 Spark plugs

Change your spark plugs

Spark plugs are lasting longer these days.  Before as in the 1970’s, they run about 12-15,000 miles before replacement.  In the 1980’s thru the early 1990’s they run about 25,000 – 30,000. Nowadays, they run up to 100,000 miles +.  Nevertheless, engine efficiency is failing, if you have a rich mixture coming thru the fuel system or if you have oily residue from the spark plugs that causes the spark plugs not to ignite the ignition.  If the color of the electrodes (top and center of the spark plugs) is tan in color, then you are okay.  However, if they are black or shiny and oily, you are having an engine malfunction and should have it checked out.

# 10 – Plug Wire


Giving the power to the spark plug is the plug wire; giving anywhere between 15,000 to 60,000 volts.  That plug wire has to have proper flow of the electrons and can’t be comprised by cracked insulation or fatique rubber installation

#11 – Distributor Cap and Rotor


The distributor cap is usually only for earlier models.  The cap has electrodes in it and the electrodes are the devices that provide power to the wire plug.  The caps on the outside can get fatiqued by heat.  Sometimes you can get some short circuiting across the cap if its older.

# 12 Diesel Engine & Vegetable Oil

Don't Use Vegetable Oil

You may be tempted to run that diesel engine on vegetable oil.  Well don’t do it.  It may work for a while, but it could cause internal engine damage from deposits over the long haul.  And remember if you live where it gets chilly in the morning, that vegetable oil could very much look like lard and the engine isn’t going to run.


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