January 18

How To Improve Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency

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Although automotive manufacturers are moving to more hybrid and electric vehicle options in their future lineups, many of the cars on the road still rely on fuel. Achieving better fuel efficiency is a great way to save at the pump while keeping your vehicle running smoothly. If you’re spending more on gas than you used to, follow these tips to boost the fuel efficiency of your ride. 

Care For Your Tires

The tires on your car play a significant role in the overall fuel efficiency, although the two systems may not seem like they’re connected. Tires are more than just rubber circles that roll a vehicle down the road. They have undergone significant advancements over the years to improve the performance of cars, but to achieve these aims, tires must be cared for properly.

The first step in improving fuel efficiency is keeping the tires inflated properly. Check the pressure every time you fuel up and add air if needed. Tire pressure tends to fluctuate more drastically in extreme temperatures, so check your tires more often in the summer and winter months. Improper tire inflation can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by up to 3%.

You may also consider replacing your existing tires with a set of narrower tires. Narrow tires can improve the aerodynamics of the car, which can boost its fuel economy. If you do decide to upgrade the tires, make sure to choose a set that fits your vehicle. Huffines Chevrolet Plano offers a convenient tire finder tool to show you several tire options that fit your car.

Change the Engine Filter

Pumping Gas into Car

Image via Unsplash by ynwasso

An engine relies on fuel and air to run properly, so its performance may deteriorate if it doesn’t get one or the other of these elements. A lack of fuel causes the engine to shut down, while a lack of clean air can cause a drop in fuel economy. Make sure to check and change the engine filter often to ensure that fresh air can continually flow through it to the engine. A clogged or dirty air filter reduces airflow to the engine, which can cause it to consume more fuel as it works harder to run.

At Huffines Chevrolet Plano, our service technicians can inspect and replace your engine filter. We work with Chevrolet owners to provide this important service that can boost fuel efficiency considerably.

Minimize Wind Resistance

Wind resistance can force your vehicle to work harder, which means the fuel efficiency may drop. Keeping your windows open all the time can increase the wind resistance, particularly when you’re driving over 40 mph. Although having fresh air flow through the vehicle feels great and can reduce the waste caused by running the air conditioner all the time, it’s best to keep the windows up anytime you’re driving faster than 40 mph.

Empty Your Cargo Area

If you’re in the habit of driving around with a lot of extra cargo in your vehicle, this may be impacting fuel efficiency. As a car’s weight increases, its fuel efficiency decreases. According to estimates from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, fuel consumption increases by up to 2% for every 100 extra pounds of cargo. Instead of carrying around items you don’t need, clear out the cargo area and lighten your load. 

Carrying heavy loads on the roof of your car can also decrease fuel efficiency, as it increases wind resistance and the overall weight. If you don’t have to keep stuff up there, you’ll save at the pump. Use it if you need the storage space when taking trips, but take the rack off your car whenever it’s not in use. You may also notice that the annoying wind noise goes away when you do.

Use the Right Fuel

Some auto owners are tempted to use higher-octane fuel than their car needs. However, upgrading to premium when your engine takes 87 or 89 octanes fuel won’t make much of a difference in the overall performance. You’ll end up spending more without reaping many benefits in return. 

What does make a difference is the quality of fuel that you use. Buying your gas from brand-name stations can ensure that what you’re putting into the car is of better quality, which can protect the engine. Some fuel stations alter the gas with various additives, which can trigger the check engine light to illuminate or clog fuel injectors. Stick with trusted fuel to protect your engine and boost fuel efficiency. 

Avoid Idling

You may have seen signs encouraging drivers in your area to “go idle-free,” which is often an initiative launched by the city to reduce emissions. However, avoiding the dreaded idle of your engine can also help you improve the car’s fuel efficiency. An idling vehicle basically gets zero miles to the gallon, so sitting for too long at a stoplight or waiting to pick someone up with the engine running drops the overall fuel efficiency.

Turn the engine off if you know you’ll be waiting for more than 30 seconds. Many newer cars contain automatic start/stop functionality that helps to reduce idling and improve fuel economy. You also don’t need to warm up your car, as modern vehicles don’t contain components that have to warm before they can operate properly. Turning the car on before you’re ready to leave can actually waste quite a bit of fuel.

After learning a few tips to improve the fuel efficiency of a vehicle, you can make some changes to the way you drive to lower your gas cost every month. Did we miss any tips that have helped you improve fuel efficiency in your ride? Or are you still struggling to achieve your car’s fuel economy estimates? Our service technicians can take a closer look to determine whether another problem with the vehicle may be causing the numbers to drop. Contact us or use our convenient online scheduling tool to make an appointment that works with your schedule.


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