Improve fuel efficiency with basic vehicle maintenance

July 16, 2013 12:00 AM

Want to get more out of your gas tank? Most drivers do, but improving mileage is easier said than done. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to get the most bang for your buck - especially if you're working with an older car. It may be necessary to go the extra mile to improve fuel efficiency, and keeping up with your vehicle maintenance is an important way to maximize mileage. 

Check the tires
One of the easiest - and most important - things you can do to improve fuel efficiency is make sure your tires are properly inflated. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping tires at the right pressure can improve mileage by 3.3 percent, which averages out to about $0.11 per gallon. While this may not seem like a lot, it certainly adds up over time and can mean significant savings in the long run. 

Go for an oil change
Most drivers know they have to stay on top of their oil levels to ensure they are protecting their car and its engine. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that gas mileage can be bettered by up to 2 percent simply by using the recommended grade of motor oil, saving you between $0.04 and $0.07 per gallon. Choosing to use oil that have been designated as "Energy Conserving" when you go for an automotive oil change is also important. These products contain friction-reducing additives that are better for your engine and can boost efficiency. 

Spark plugs
Spark plugs are a vital part of engine performance, so it's important that these tools are given the attention they deserve. They are used to produce the energy that actually powers a vehicle, so keeping spark plugs in good shape is essential for improving mileage. Learning the basics of spark plugs so you can then keep an eye on how they are holding up is a good idea, as you'll know when you should be bringing your car to an auto repair franchise for help. 

Get a tune up
If you're not sure where to start when striving to improve a ride's fuel efficiency, you should schedule a standard car tune up or vehicle maintenance. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, investing in preventative scheduled maintenance can result in a savings of anywhere from 12 percent to 18 percent compared to reactive maintenance. Regularly changing air filters and fluids, as well as having the motor checked, can go a long way toward improving fuel economy. 

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