Saving fuel by driving efficiently - | WBTV Charlotte

Saving fuel by driving efficiently

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

We do so much driving in the summer months, it’s important to be driving as efficiently as possible so we aren’t using up too much of that pricey fuel.

The staff from Honest-1 Auto Care visited WBTV News Sunday Morning to offer some ideas for your car and you driving habits that could help you make the most of that summer road trip.  Their advice follows:

Vehicle Tips

·         Keep your tires properly inflated and check them frequently.

·         Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment.

·         Use the thinnest viscosity oil that your vehicle's manufacturer recommends.

·         Keep your vehicle's engine in proper mechanical condition.

·         Keep your vehicle's engine in tune and make sure the air and fuel filters are clean.

·         Make sure your brakes are not dragging.

·         Repair body damage, crunched body panels add aerodynamic drag.

·         Do not use premium fuel if your vehicle does not require it.

Driving Tips

·         Avoid excessive warm-up time; modern engines do not require it.

·         Do not idle your engine for long periods; turn off your engine when you leave the car of have to wait a long time.

·         Avoid jackrabbit starts, or "dumping" the clutch; try to accelerate from a stop smoothly.

·         For newer vehicles with aerodynamic designs, close the windows and turn on the air conditioning while driving at high speeds.

·         For older vehicles with inefficient air conditioning compressors, use the ventilation system and close the windows, temperature permitting.

·         Anticipate merging traffic and stoplights; decelerate and accelerate smoothly.

·         Plan your trips wisely. If you need to go several places, plan a route that allows you to run most or all of your errands in one outing.

·         Unload unnecessary cargo. Extra weight effects fuel mileage.

·         Car pool whenever possible or practical.

·         Always drive in the highest gear possible.

·         Try to keep your speed constant by using cruise control when on long stretches of road.

Preventative Maintenance

Always check your owner's manual for specific recommendations for your vehicle. Honest-1 can provide you with a printout of recommended maintenance for your vehicle.

Extending The Life Of Your Car

1.   The best thing that you can do to extend the life of your car and potentially save yourself a bundle of money is to have your car serviced on a routine basis. All car manufacturers have a schedule of recommended service for each vehicle they sell. Follow this schedule. Be sure to follow your schedule for fluid flushes.

2.   Check the level and color of all fluids at every gas refill. If you don't know how to check your fluids or know what color your fluid should be then ask your reputable technician to teach you. Any reputable automotive shop will be happy to teach you for free. Nothing lasts forever. Your vehicle's oils and fluids do break down and require replacement in order to properly lubricate. These fluids not only provide lubrication, they need to conduct heat; they need to protect from rust and corrosion; they perform hydraulic functions.
The detergents and anti-foaming agents need to be maintained. Waiting for the engine to make noise or to burn oil or for the transmission to start slipping is too late. Waiting for the anti-freeze to turn brown and become contaminated would also be too late. The protective properties of these fluids change over time and their effectiveness diminishes. This can save you thousands of dollars in repairs to your vehicle and keep it operating safely.

3.   Change your oil and oil filter regularly to protect your engine and improve your gas mileage. Dirty oil or incorrect grades can increase engine friction, thereby reducing fuel efficiency. (Consider using synthetic oil which provide better protection and last longer than regular oil).

4.   Change the air filter to protect the engine by keeping impurities from entering the engine and improve your gas mileage. When your engines air filter becomes clogged it starves the engine for air. The onboard computers adjust for this by increasing the amount of fuel to maintain consistent firing in the cylinders. This can cause up to 10% in decreased fuel efficiency.

5.   Monitor your brake pad thickness and do not let them damage the metal parts such as brake rotors and calipers.

6.   Wash your car regularly so that it will not damage the body or undercarriage of your car. Pollutants in the air, bugs, tar, salt in air/road, dirt, sludge, and more all damage your car.

7.   Make sure that you keep your car aligned because it will increase the life of the tire and increase your safety due to improve handling.

8.   Keep your tires properly inflated. Having low tire pressure causes more drag between your tires and the road, thereby making your engine work even harder. Improper tire pressure can reduce the lifespan of your tires and gas mileage by up to 30% or more. Check your tire pressure when the tires are cold for accurate readings. Honest-1 recommends you perform a tire pressure check every time you fill your fuel tank. Another option is to have your tires filled with Nitrogen which is a more stable gas. Some of the benefits of Nitrogen in tires are less fluctuation in tire pressure, reduced tire pressure leak down under increased temperatures and longer lasting tire life.

9.   Rotate your tires at every other oil change (every 6,000 miles). Rotating your tires equalizes tread wear and maximizes the life of your tires.

10.  Start off slowly after you initially start your vehicle. Which means to slowly accelerate until your vehicle is up to operating temperature. Accelerating slowly saves gas and it reduces the stress on your engine since your oil is cold and thicker when cold.

Copyright 2015 WBTV.  All Rights Reserved.

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