With fuel prices increasing everyday and the world’s oil reserves gradually depleting, we have to take certain measures to ease the strain on our wallet as well as our planet. Here are a few tips to increase your car’s mileage so you use less fuel and protect your money and planet.
1. Lighten your load
The more weight your car is carrying, the more work your engine has to do to move it. The more work the engine does, the more fuel it consumes. An extra 100 pounds increases fuel consumption by 1-2% and most of us carry a lot of extra weight in our cars. If there are seats you don’t use, remove them. If the trunk of your car is filled with stuff you don’t need, take it out. Reduce the load that your car has to carry.
2. Use moderate throttle to accelerate smoothly
Keeping the engine at low RPM, increases your fuel efficiency. If you’re hard on the throttle, you’re making the engine do more work to get to the desired speed more quickly which consumes more fuel. Ease the foot on the throttle and shift before you hit high revs. For those of you driving with manual transmissions, it’s best to change gears appropriately and match the gear and the RPM’s carefully.
3. Drive slower
The faster you drive, the more work you engine has to do to allow the car to move through the air. Driving fast can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 33% if you are travelling above 60 mph.
4. Use cruise control
Using cruise control helps your car travel at a constant speed which helps it save fuel for reason described in the previous tip. On longer journeys, cruise control can greatly improve fuel efficiency.
5. Plan trips
Planning your trips ensures that you waste less fuel by reducing the amount of unnecessary driving that you do. It does not increase the mileage of your car, but it helps you save fuel that would be spent aimlessly wandering in your car and thinking what you have to do next.
6. Plan your route
When travelling or commuting, make sure you use the route the has the least amount of stops and turns. A smooth continuous drive consumes less fuel which is why highway mileages for cars are always greater than city mileages.
7. Fill your tank halfway and keep it more than a quarter full
Filling the tank too much means your car has too much weight (10 gallons of gasoline adds 60 pounds of weight). Letting the fuel level drop too low means the fuel pump has to do too much work to suck it up.
8. Tune your engine
With this step, you have to be careful when going to the tuner because most of them tune cars for added horsepower which lowers the mileage your car can get. Make sure the tuning is just to keep your engine running at the proper revs to provide maximum fuel efficiency.
9. Timely replace your fuel filter
Every manufacturer sets the amount of time after which the fuel filter of you car must be replaced. Changing the fuel filter on a regular basis will ensure that your car runs smoothly by letting only fuel into the engine instead of other residue from the tank.
10. Check air filter
A clean air filter promotes better combustion which in turn leads to the fuel being consumed properly and giving you optimal fuel economy. A clogged air filter means your engine will not be running at peak performance and hence consume more fuel.
11. Check tire inflation
The tire pressure should be checked at least monthly since tires lose 1 PSI every month. Properly inflated tires can improve fuel efficiency by up to 3%. Too little pressure is bad for fuel economy whereas too much pressure can cause tires to burst. The tire pressure should be that which is recommended by the manufacturer (if stock tires) or on the tire wall.
12. Avoid excessive/unnecessary braking
Braking cause you to lose the speed you gained, meaning you have to accelerate and burn more fuel to regain speed. Travelling at a constant speed for a given distance consumes less fuel than a stop-and-go journey. Keep your eyes far ahead so you can see traffic lights and traffic jams and coast to a halt instead of having to brake suddenly.
13. Avoid excessive idling
Idling wastes more fuel than any other driver’s habit. If you have to warm your car up in the morning, drive at a slow speed for a certain distance until your engine reaches the optimum temperature. Make sure to turn the engine off when waiting at non-traffic stops (e.g. waiting outside a friend’s house).
14. Find the car’s optimum speed
For most cars this speed is 55 mph. The optimum speed is the minimum speed at the highest gear at which your car can run without having to compromise on revs. At this speed you do not have to floor the throttle to make the car accelerate within the chosen gear.
15. Learn how traffic signals operate
As mentioned in earlier steps, stop-and-go travelling consumes more fuel. Learning when the traffic signal will change allows you to coast to a halt or know that the signal will turn green so you don’t have to brake unnecessarily.
16. Avoid using the air conditioning during city trips
City driving does not allow you to travel at a constant speed so there is a lot of braking and accelerating involved which puts more stress on your engine than a highway cruise. Turning the air conditioner on puts more stress on your engine and decreases fuel economy greatly.
17. Enable overdrive if your car has an automatic transmission
Overdrive allows you to use lower ratios which increases mileage. In most cars there is a button on the shifter which allows you to turn the overdrive off (most manufacturers keep it on when the car is in D as a default). Overdrive should not be turned off unless absolutely necessary (towing heavy loads or driving up a steep hill).
18. Use synthetic oil
Using synthetic engine oil can help you save up to 5% of fuel consumption. If you can’t use synthetic, than find the lightest oil that can be used in your car. Don’t let the oil get too dirty as this increases fuel consumption. Change the oil on time and after a certain mileage as suggested by the manufacturer.
19. Use synthetic oil additive
Whether you use synthetic of natural oil, using an additive can improve fuel efficiency by up to 15%.
20. Maintain a safe distance with the car in front
By maintaining a larger gap with the vehicle ahead of you, you will not have to brake or accelerate as hard compared to if you were maintaining a narrower gap.
21. Use the narrowest possible tires
Depending on how you drive or your travelling needs, choose a tire that is narrow and will have less aerodynamic drag because of it. However, keep in mind that narrower tires mean less traction and that a smaller tire should only be used if the manufacturer approves it.
22. Use low-rolling-resistance compound tires
Using tires that provide less resistance can increase fuel economy by a few percent.
23. Park further away from the store and avoid circling parking lots
A lot of us waste fuel by waiting for someone to pull out of a parking space that is closer to the storefront. Parking away from the store means you do not have to get stuck in the crowded spaces that are closer to the store, allowing you to save fuel.
24. Keep a record of how much gas you use
Make a log in which you record the amount of fuel you put in and how many miles you drove with it. This step will not only help you to check your mileage but also show you when you consume more fuels and which driving habits you can change to obtain better fuel economy.
25. Select the appropriate gear ratio
Depending on your commute or journey, you should select a gear that allows you engine to maintain revs and speed without having to work to hard to keep up with the throttle. Higher gears should be used as much as possible, but with cars with smaller engines, a higher gear means the car has to do more work to keep up with the pace.
26. Make sure the sensors and systems are working properly in cars with EFI
A problem with the oxygen sensor, engine emissions system or evaporative emissions control system is indicated by the check engine light. An inaccurate oxygen sensor can mean that the fuel mixture in your engine is too rich which means it can be using up to 20% more fuel than necessary.