When gas prices rise, those hybrid television commercials with their claims of incredible gas mileage are enough to make you drool. But if buying a new vehicle is a little out of reach, there are some engine and other improvements you can perform on your existing car that will have you bringing home far better gas mileage.
Improving the fuel efficiency of your car is also good for the environment and can leave you feeling that you are “doing your part” to reduce vehicle emissions and air pollution. One day we may all own hybrids which run on electricity as well as gasoline, or even 100 percent electric vehicles, but in the meantime we’ve got to look at ways to deal with our existing “gas guzzlers.”
The least expensive fix for your engine to improve gas mileage is your air filter. Dirty filters can restrict the flow of air to your engine, reduce your vehicle’s efficiency, and waste gas. You can also ask at your auto parts store about special air filters that help to improve the efficiency of your engine and in turn improve your gas mileage.
Improperly maintained or broken exhaust systems can eat away at your car’s gas mileage and affect engine performance by backing up and choking the engine on its own exhaust. High quality exhaust systems allow greater exhaust flow with no backups, adding to your miles per gallon yield.
Okay, tires aren’t actually part of your engine or related systems, but they make a critical contribution to vehicle efficiency and gas mileage. Proper tire inflation reduces rolling resistance on the road, which is key to making your engine work less and use less gas. Older, worn tires create more resistance and friction with the road and work against fuel economy. Out of balance tires also negatively affect gas mileage.
Monitor the air pressure in your tires regularly and keep your pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure as listed in the owner’s manual or inside the door frame on your car. Note that the pressure listed on your actual tires is the maximum pressure recommended and is not always the optimum air pressure for operating your car at peak efficiency. Use a high quality tire pressure gauge (not the cheap pencil style ones). There are even systems you can install which will constantly monitor your tire pressure for you. Check with your local auto parts store or do some research on the Internet to see if there’s a system that will work with your automobile.
Keeping your car tuned up and on a regular schedule of maintenance is the best thing you can do to keep your engine and related systems operating at peak efficiency. Find a mechanic or garage that you trust and have them put your automobile on a regular maintenance and tune up schedule. Remember that a properly running engine, exhaust, and good tires will go a long way towards increasing your gas mileage.