Vehicle Maintenance: it’s the original fuel-saver, and it’s been around since the first days of motoring. You don’t need a hybrid to experience fuel savings of 30 percent or more, and that’s especially true if your car, truck or crossover is in need of some TLC relating to its fuel system, tire pressures, or air filter.
Fuel Saving Tip 1: Clean your Fuel Injectors
Fuel injectors, not surprisingly, inject fuel into your vehicle’s engine. Thing is, when fuel injectors get old, they start to get all dirty and clogged and dribbly because of fuel deposits that get ‘caked’ onto their nozzles after engine shut-down.
Ever use a can of spray-paint that wasn’t cleaned before you last put it away two years ago? Same deal.
I’ll skip the science lesson and cut to the facts: dirty injectors don’t spray properly. Improper fuel spray will make your engine less powerful and more thirsty.
Solution? A bottle of quality fuel-injector cleaner in your gas tank. You can get some for about five bucks. Pour it in and then (where appropriate and without breaking any speed laws), be sure to “Giver’ Blind River” a few times tomorrow on your way to work. The added injector pressure and heat engaged by full throttle will blast those wallet-emptying deposits clean away.
Remember – clean injectors mean a better air and fuel mix in the engine, more powerful combustion, and better mileage.
Fuel Saving Tip 2: Make Life Easier on your Engine
Making things harder on your engine is a great way to waste fuel, and millions of drivers unduly strain their engines every day without knowing it. So, remember two things.
First, that low tire pressure makes it harder for your engine to turn the wheels, which wastes fuel along with accelerating tire wear and reducing handling and grip and stability. Solution? Grab the tire-pressure gauge, check tire pressures, and adjust accordingly. Congratulations: you’ve just completed one of the easiest and most wholesome fuel-saving maintenance jobbies related to vehicle ownership, and saved yourself money. Go do a victory stretch and reward yourself with a frosty beverage.
Second, unneeded roof racks and cargo boxes and bike carriers add weight and mass, turn up the drinking, and significantly reduce aerodynamic performance. Remove unused roof or body-mounted storage implements, and your engine will reward you by drinking less and moving around more easily.
Fue Saving Tip 3: The All-Important Air Filter
Like you and I, your ride’s engine is fond of breathing in clean, fresh air. An air filter, which usually looks a bit like a funny accordion thingy with a plastic or rubber frame, sits between your engine and the air outside, ensuring no dust, bugs or dirt get inside.
Do you remember when that air filter was last changed on your ride? If not, chances are it’s overdue.
Ever watched UFC wrestling and seen a big, sweaty fella put his opponent down with a badass rear-naked choke-hold? That’s what a dirty air filter does to your engine. And much like with a choke-hold, it’s quickly game over for your fuel mileage if things go unattended.
Remember: a clogged and dirty air filter can cause your ride’s powerplant to use up to 50 percent more fuel than it needs to. In most rides, changing the filter is a few-minute job that requires little more than your bare hands. Your parts store will probably hook you up with a new filter for under $20, and you should change yours more frequently if you frequent gravel roads or live in a dry, dusty locale.