Your car is designed to run at optimal efficiency; however, time, distance, weather and a host of other factors all contribute to decreasing that efficiency. Routine maintenance and care can reduce the amount of fuel a car consumes -- and reduce the amount of pollution it puts out, too.
These are just a few of the components and systems to check if you want to keep your car running its best:
- Keep your engine properly tuned. This means changing the oil, air filter and checking the fluids on a routine basis. It also means changing the spark plus, spark plug wires and cleaning the fuel system at the manufacturer's scheduled interval. Doing this can improve mileage by more than 4 percent. If your check engine light is on, (depending on the root cause) fixing that problem right away can sometimes improve mileage by more than 30 percent.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Under- and over-inflated tires have an effect on the rolling resistance of the car. Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by more than 3 percent.
- Reduce the weight in your car. Every 100 pounds (45.4 kilograms) reduces fuel efficiency by 1 to 2 percent.
- Remove the roof rack. Doing this can add about 5 percent to your miles per gallon rating
- Drive steady. Fast acceleration and inconsistent speed can reduce your car's overall efficiency by more than 4 percent.