Doesn’t it always feel like you just came from the gas station, and your fuel gauge is already low? It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive — a subcompact Asian make like Honda or Toyota, or a full-size Chevy or Ford — it’s never as efficient as you feel it should be. On an older vehicle, you might need a tune-up. But on a newer car, your Check Engine light should come on when there’s a problem with poor fuel mileage.
So what do you do? If there’s nothing wrong with your car, could it be that YOU’RE doing something wrong?
Here are a few tips to get the best fuel mileage from your car, no matter what make you drive.
- Check your tire pressures. Low tire pressures increase your vehicle’s rolling resistance. That means your engine needs to burn more fuel so it can compensate for the extra resistance. Operating your car with tires just 5 PSI low can increase your fuel mileage by two percent. If your tires are even lower, the percentage increases dramatically, not to mention your tires will wear quicker.
- Check your air filter. Your engine needs to breathe freely. All the air it consumes passes through your air filter. When the air filter is dirty, it’s like a chokehold on your engine. To keep up the same rate of power, more fuel is burned. Replace your engine air filter once a year or more to keep your engine running strong and efficiently.
- Have a wheel alignment performed. Much like low tire pressure, misaligned wheels “scrub” on the road, increasing the drag on your vehicle. The worse your alignment is, the more fuel your engine burns through to achieve the same performance you demand from it. Proper wheel alignment decreases stress on your steering, suspension and tires, so you’ll save money in repairs as well as fuel.
- Take it easy on the throttle. We all like to have a little fun behind the wheel at times. Every hard acceleration from a stop light, or passing someone on the highway can really affect your fuel efficiency. Whenever you can, be mindful of your driving habits to minimize fuel consumption.
- Don’t idle. If you’re waiting in your car for more than two minutes, you’re better off shutting the engine off. Not only do you avoid burning excess fuel but you save the environment from high amounts of tailpipe emissions.
If you’re Check Engine light is on, you could be burning up to 40 percent more fuel than you should be. That’s when it’s important to get your vehicle into the shop for diagnosis and repair. For that, trust your vehicle to the experts at Riley Motor Company. Our well-trained technicians will determine what’s wrong with your vehicle and advise you the best and most cost-effective way to take care of it.