Whether gas prices are high or low, it is always a good idea to focus on improving mileage. This focus means you are thinking about the overall performance of your car. That’s a good thing because it can lead to extending the life of your car and lowering the cost of ownership.
Improving gas mileage does not take a lot of effort. Just follow some well-tested tips and you should see an immediate improvement. Here are some of the easiest things you can do.
- Tire Pressure
Rather than just eyeball your tires every now and then, check your tire pressure regularly. Your owner’s manual will list the proper pressure. Remember to check your pressure when the tires are cold, either before driving or around three hours after parking your vehicle. If the pressure is low, add air.
Many people look at cars today and believe that with modern technology, the only real maintenance needed is to have to have the oil changed every year or two. Truth is, your modern car still relies on a great deal of simple automotive engineering from decades ago. Your engine needs regular tune-ups. These tune-ups should include replacing or cleaning spark plugs and air and fuel filters/injectors. In addition to helping extend the life of the engine, replacing these items will improve performance and gas mileage.
- Use Cruise Control
When on the highway and when it is safe to do so, use cruise control. You should always maintain a safe distance behind the car in front of you. If you are not used to cruise control, practice when you are on an open stretch of highway. The benefit of cruise control is that it makes your engine run more efficiently since you are not slowing down and speeding up repeatedly.
- Control Your Pace on City Streets
Are you one of those people who anticipate lights changing and floor it to burst through each intersection? Or, do you find yourself accelerating too much to match what the car directly in front of you is doing? If so, stop doing that. If you see the light ahead of you changing from green to yellow and then to red, slow down and let the car roll to a stop. You do not want to hold up traffic behind you but it’s not difficult to find a balance between coasting and flooring it.
- Lighten Up
Pay attention to how much you carry in your vehicle. While you may not have much say on the overall passenger weight, you can control how much you carry in your trunk or in the back of your van or SUV. During the winter you may put extra weight in your car to help with driving in snow but do you really need 150 pounds of clay kitty litter stored all summer long? Only carry what you need and you’ll find that extra weight loss will help your gas mileage.