Better Gas Mileage Now!
by Pat Goss
Some facts and some lies about fuel economy. First, you have to make sure your engine runs hot enough. The colder the engine runs the worse your fuel economy, so get the thermostat (right) checked on a regular basis and figure that it may have to be replaced every two or three years.
Another thing that you want to consider are oxygen sensors (left) and some of the other sensors under the hood, many of them deteriorate with use. They should be checked regularly and things like the oxygen sensors if they’re getting lazy replace them because you’ll get better fuel economy.
Now here’s a lie: using thicker oil in the engine is better for the engine and fuel economy. Neither is true, it’s not better for the engine, it’s not better for fuel economy; always use what the owner’s manual recommends.
Another lie, right here, the air filter. Supposedly a dirty air filter (right) effects fuel economy but it doesn’t because the computer picks up its air-flow reading past the air filter so it balances fuel delivery relative to the actual amount of air going through the meter not through the filter.
All right, windows down or windows up? Well in slow speed traffic and so on windows down air-conditioning off, on the highway windows up and air-conditioning on.
Weight is always a big concern so get rid of all the extra stuff that accumulates in the car, the more weight you carry, the lower your fuel economy. And speaking of more weight, remember that gas is heavy so if you don’t need a full tank of gas don’t keep the tank full all the time, more weight again, lower fuel economy.
Tire-pressure always a big concern and remember that proper tire pressure is not necessarily what is on the side of the tire; it is what’s on the decal inside the door or the fuel-filler or the glove-box or center-console.
But the really big, big thing is your right foot and the way you drive. Aggressive driving can reduce fuel economy by up to 30 percent so ease up, leave your attitude at home, drive gently and two things not to do, it’s all over the internet; tail-gate for better fuel economy and over-inflate your tires, those are far to dangerous to ever attempt. Don’t do it!
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.