Pinching the Octane Penny
Last night I turned on the news and the lead story was the rising cost of gasoline at the pumps. This is and will always be an important concern for commuting consumers. Here are a few quick tips to give your car an edge and help you get the maximum fuel mileage from your vehicle.
First and foremost, check your tire pressure. The manufacturer of your vehicle installs a tag in the driver's door (check your owners manual) with the specific pounds per square inch (psi) that your vehicle's tires should ride at. Go by this, not by the tire sidewall. If there is a extreme difference between the two, you may have the wrong tire installed on your vehicle. Any reputable shop or dealer would be happy to check your tire pressure. A low tire can cause severe drag on your vehicle and can reduce your fuel mileage up to 3.5% and cause premature tire failure.
Keep your engine clean. Many repair and lube facilities offer fuel induction cleaning and other injection cleaning services that will bring your engine to top performance. It's very important to make sure your injectors are closing properly and there is no "gunk" building up that will cause fuel to leak through during exhaust cycles.
A tidy engine is a happy engine that will give you up to 10% better mpg and last a lot longer.
Tune your guitar. If you can't recollect when your plugs and ignition wires were last changed, there's a good chance their due. A misfiring cylinder will require the rest of the cylinders to work that much harder and push unburned fuel through the exhaust system. A simple tune up can get you full 8% back in lost mpg.
Use the proper engine oil. Many drivers believe there is no difference from 5w20 to 10w30. This just isn't so, newer vehicles are made to use lighter oils because of tighter bearing clearances and other reasons, but the truth be told, using a heavier weight of oil can cause your engine to consume up to 3% more fuel than originally designed.
Finally, the good old check engine light with the black tape across it. Improperly operating catalytic converters and oxygen sensors can cause your vehicle to drop a staggering 40% in fuel mpg. Many times these repairs can be minor but other times they can be costly. Normally if your check engine light is on, your repair facility would be happy to check the codes for the cost of an hour of labor and give you an estimate on the full repair. While they have the hood open have the technician check your fuel pressure regulator as this also, can leak fuel internally into the engine.
For more information on this and other fuel saving ideas you can visit the website www.fueleconomy.gov. Drive safe and keep it shiny side up!