10 Great Tips for More Efficient Auto Mileage

Are you tired of spending copious amounts on gas because your car is guzzling like a Falstaff? Remember, the high cost of living isn’t helping either. Fuel cost inflation and increasing environmental concerns have pushed many drivers to maximize their fuel economy. According to the United States Department of Energy, aggressive driving can lower fuel economy by 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Thankfully, these ten tips can enable more efficient auto mileage.

1. Drive Smoothly

While there is always the thrill of pressing the gas pedal harder, driving smoothly will give you efficient auto mileage. Smooth driving involves maintaining a steady speed without unnecessary acceleration or deceleration. Every time you accelerate, your car engine consumes more fuel to produce energy for the speed gain. However, avoiding abrupt speed changes will keep the engine running at the most efficient revolutions per minute (RPM).

Once the car is in motion, emergency braking wastes the kinetic energy it has gained by burning fuel. Therefore, avoid hard braking to conserve the fuel the engine would have burned to regain the lost speed. Smooth driving also involves gentle braking rather than hard braking. Besides fuel economy, smooth driving will extend your engine life.

Consistent speeds allow your car to maintain its aerodynamic efficiency, reducing the resistance from the wind. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, maintaining a constant speed while driving reduces the amount of wind drag the car encounters compared to driving at different speeds. As a result, you’ll reduce the amount of work the engine needs to propel the car, lowering fuel consumption.

Consider taking your car to authorized dealers if you encounter driving-related challenges. Many manufacturers analyze the car to determine your driving habits before warranty repairs. For instance, Toyota repair warranty comes with extensive diagnosis for Toyota vehicles. Remember, they are well-versed in the vehicle’s working systems, both in and out.

2. Reduce Idling

Reducing idling is a simple yet effective way for efficient auto mileage. At times, you may start the car and leave the engine running as you prepare yourself to leave for work. You’d be surprised to learn how much fuel you waste on idling. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, engine idling can waste 0.5 to 0.9 gallons of fuel per hour. Idling consumes fuel without any productive output, so reduce the idling time to save fuel.

What about the engine warm-up in cold seasons? Yes, some car owners believe in warming up the engine before driving to prevent damage to internal components. However, letting the engine idle for an extended time wastes fuel.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, engine warm up isn’t necessary and can add to the cost of wasted fuel to around $650 a year. Instead, drive your car at a lower speed for the first few miles to warm up the engine. What about letting the engine idle to cool down behind your garage doors after a long drive? The short answer is no. While you may be tempted to let the engine run for some time before closing the garage doors, you’re just wasting fuel. According to Argonne National Laboratory, modern engines don’t need idling for a cool-down period after a long drive.

3. Keep the Vehicle Well-Maintained

Regular engine maintenance can give you more efficient auto mileage. Vehicle maintenance involves inspecting and ensuring various systems work efficiently. For instance, the engine sensors are essential in fuel economy because they send signals to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that controls various systems. If the gas mixture is rich and the oxygen in the exhaust is little, the ECU reduces fuel entering the cylinder.

Similarly, the oxygen sensor helps fuel efficiency by determining the ideal fuel-air ratio. The inspection and replacement requirements may vary depending on the manufacturer. Vehicles driven daily should have the oxygen sensor regularly inspected and cleaned. Defective sensors result in inefficiency in gas consumption.

A dirty air filter can also alter the engine performance because of restricted airflow. Ensure the air filter is changed regularly depending on your driving condition. For instance, if you drive on dusty roads, you must inspect and change the air filter more often. You must clean the fuel system, including the injectors and nozzles, to ensure a good ratio of clean fuel is injected into the combustion chambers. The fuel filter and the fuel pump should also be serviced more often.

Other than the engine, systems like the brake can influence how your car consumes fuel. The brake system with an excessively tight disc can cause the vehicle to pull and reduce the gas per gallon. Perform prompt brake repairs because a non-releasing pad can cause the engine to work harder, increasing fuel consumption.

4. Perform Regular Oil Changes

You’ve read in the car owner’s manual that engine oil must be changed after covering certain miles. The manufacturer emphasizes the oil change for better engine life and efficient auto mileage. Oil change requirements may vary depending on the engine and the oil grade. For instance, 5W40 Fully Synthetic High-Performance Engine Oil can lubricate your engine for up to 6,214 miles.

Whichever oil grade you use for your engine, it will reduce friction on the moving parts. Oil lubricates the engine’s moving parts, reducing friction, which means less energy will be wasted as heat. The result is a smooth rotation of the engine’s moving parts, improving fuel efficiency.

Fresh engine oil cleans the internal components of dirt, debris, and sludge. A cleaner engine operates more efficiently because it can lose heat faster, and moving parts rotate without hindrance. According to the United States Department of Energy, adding the manufacturer’s recommended oil to your car engine can improve gas mileage by 1%–2%. As such, oil change should be your top priority when you visit the automotive repair shop.

5. Lighten the Load

Every vehicle comes with the manufacturer’s recommended carrying capacity. Putting unnecessary items in the trunk will increase the vehicle’s weight, making the engine work hard. As a result, it will consume more fuel.

If you want efficient auto mileage, remove all the unnecessary items from the car before driving. For instance, if you installed a roof rack to carry some mattresses or other items, remove and store it after taking the cargo to the destination. These items add weight to the car and increase the wind drag, especially at higher speeds.

On the trunk, ensure only the recommended items remain inside. Some recommended items are the jack, the spare wheel, the fire extinguisher, and wheel spanners. Anything else, including the children’s toys and clothes, should be removed from the trunk before you reverse outside the garage door.

6. Use Cruise Control

Cruise control is one of the best ways to achieve efficient auto mileage. The feature contains an electric system that allows you to set your car to a specific speed. It lets you take your foot off the accelerator pedal, easing the fatigue, especially if you drive a long distance. The cruise control can help you save fuel because the car moves steadily rather than accelerating and decelerating.

According to Kia Automaker, cruise control can help save 7-14% on gas. The leading edge of cruise control in modern cars is adaptive cruise control, which can save even more fuel. The feature allows you to set your desired travel speed and maintain a safe distance from the car in front. It features several forward-mounted sensors that monitor the road.

The system brakes automatically if the car in front slows to maintain the selected distance. Moreover, it’s designed to brake gently and is more efficient than the human foot. The smart acceleration and deceleration contribute to fuel economy.

While cruise control has added several benefits to modern car driving, you must partner with the local mechanic for the sensor inspection and maintenance. The front sensors need regular cleaning; otherwise, they may fail to monitor the road, affecting the cruise control efficiency.

7. Check Your Tires

Ensuring your car tires and the suspension system are in good condition is the best way to achieve efficient auto mileage. Underinflated tires increase the rolling distance, making the engine work harder. With more energy needed to propel the vehicle, the engine can consume more fuel.

According to the United States Department of Energy, underinflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every one psi drop in the average pressure of all tires. You can check the recommended car tire size information and the tire pressure recommendation on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or the glove box.

Worn-out tires also affect fuel consumption by increasing the rolling distance. As the treads wear, the tire loses the ability to grip the road, increasing the rolling distance. So, how can you detect worn-out tires? You can inspect the tread for wear to determine whether to change your tires. Also, check the tire mileage because each brand has the manufacturer’s recommended mileage.

Wheel misalignment may also affect fuel consumption. Misaligned wheels cause uneven tire tread wear, increasing the rolling distance. Moreover, the tires may come into contact with the body, causing the engine to work harder. All these instances can lead to poor gas mileage, so ensure prompt tire repairs and alignment checks.

8. Plan Trips Efficiently

Planning your trips will also enhance efficient auto mileage. Several stops and getting stuck in traffic can increase fuel consumption. As such, plan your trips well before you hit the road.

So, combine your errands rather than making multiple short trips. Combining the errands will reduce the number of cold starts, which can consume more fuel. During your trip planning, choose routes with less traffic congestion. Highways offer better fuel economy than city roads because they have express lanes and fewer vehicles.

Plan your trips during the off-peak hours to avoid traffic congestion. Also, maintain a constant driving speed to avoid acceleration and deceleration, which can result in higher fuel consumption. Ideally, use navigation apps to learn the efficient routes you can use. They can suggest routes with essential service providers like gas stations and auto repair shops during route planning. These apps can also help you estimate travel time and fuel consumption.

9. Observe Speed Limits

Observing the speed limits is not only the best way to avoid crashes but also good for efficient auto mileage. Traffic engineers have vast knowledge of determining the speed limit depending on the road conditions. For instance, most highway areas have a speed limit of 45 to 65 miles per hour.

The 65-mile speed allows the engine to operate at its most efficient level. That means it can burn fuel more efficiently and offer the best traction to avoid crashes. Observing the speed limit also saves you from aggressive driving, which can consume more fuel.

Besides the fuel-saving advantage, observing the speed limit can save you from traffic tickets. Moreover, it will help you claim to your auto insurance company if you’re involved in a crash. Most insurance companies are very strict about observing traffic rules.

10. Use AC Wisely

A car air conditioning system regulates the temperature inside the cabin, making the environment more comfortable for driving. Also, it freshens the air by filtering out pollen, dust, and other pollutants. While this system plays a vital role in maintaining your health, it can increase the car’s fuel consumption.

According to the United States Department of Energy, AC use can reduce the vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25%. The estimates suggest the system can consume as much as 0.2 to 0.4 liters of fuel per hour. Although it doesn’t sound much, it can add up over time, especially during long drives.

How does AC use relate to engine fuel consumption? The car AC uses a compressor connected to the engine belt. Once you turn on the system, the compressor adds a load to the engine, increasing fuel consumption. The ACs are prone to damage due to weather and driving conditions. Unfortunately, auto insurance doesn’t cover AC repairs unless they are stolen or damaged in a crash.

The above ten tips will enhance efficient auto mileage and longer engine life. Ensure qualified mechanics service your car to avoid breakdowns. Also, service your car with quality parts from trusted dealers.

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