Learn how to improve your fuel economy
Do you ever wonder why your fuel economy sucks? You know when your car is guzzling more gas or diesel than usual that it's time to learn how to improve your fuel economy. Most people don't bother to check their mpg when they spend their hard-earned cash into the gas tank but you definitely should. You may find that your vehicle is not getting the mileage that it used to. Measuring your mpg can often indicate problems with your vehicle that are not easily detectable. Usually, if your mileage is suffering, there's a simple fix. Try checking these things before heading to the mechanic.
1. Tire Pressure
Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 3 vehicles is driving with at least 1 severely under inflated tire. Why is this a problem? First of all, it's unsafe. Under inflated tires lead to premature failure. Second, and under inflated tire creates higher rolling resistance and thus uses more gasoline! The single easiest thing you can do to improve your fuel economy is make sure that your tires are inflated to the pressure specified by the manufacturer.
2. Air Filter
Most automotive air filters are easily accessible from under the hood. Try removing the air filter and check it for cleanliness. Hold it up to light and see if any light passes through. If you can not see light through the filter or if it is visibly dirty it's best to just replace it. A new filter can pay itself off in fuel savings in no time at all!
3. Unnecessary drag
Remove anything that does not need to be on your vehicle. If you notice that your fuel economy is down and you're carrying around a large storage box on your roof, that is likely why. Remove roof boxes and racks when they're not in use. It may seem trivial, but this alone can have a measurable effect on your fuel economy. Remove antenna flags as well...they are costing you money.
Every pound your car carries around costs you. The more a car weighs, the more fuel it uses, it's that simple. Take anything you're not using out of your car for maximum economy. The lighter the better!
This is one thing that will need to be checked by a mechanic or somebody that knows how. It's on the list however, because an improperly aligned vehicle will use more gasoline. If your front tires are pointing inward or outward even by half an inch, it will decrease your economy as well as wear out your tires in a hurry.
When your car is underperforming in the MPG department, the best thing to do is implement these tips to increase your fuel economy before heading to the shop. A mechanic will check all these same things so it's worth saving a few bucks. You may also want to read my article "How To Save Money On Gasoline" where I offer some more general tips on how to save on fuel.