A car that gives desired mileage is always the point of concern and a task. It is believed that satisfaction of yielding the fullest mileage out of the car owned has with a lot of science; it is a myth though. Another myth is, mileage decreases as the car age increases. One can unleash the full capacity only by properly maintaining the car and its engine, no matter how much the car gets old. There is no rocket science here; just a few Do’s, once incorporated, will benefit for a long time.
The crisp and easy meaning of mileage is the distance covered in a gallon or liter. It basically tells the experience of the car on the road or how long it has been on the road. For the desired car mileage, before purchasing the car, one must search for a well-made car that can be maintained easily. Maintenance is essential so that the gas mileage does not drop, and the car stays healthy as it’s age increases. Now, the question arises, why does the mileage drop? Well, that is because of wear and tear. Bad gas mileage means the poor performance of the car. Poor performance depends on various independent factors which are listed below. If one takes good care of these factors, then they will definitely expect good mileage irrespective of the continuous aging of the car.
15 Tips that can help get a better gas mileage
- Clean air filters regularly
The positive correlation between gas mileage and air filler is very easy to understand. More cleaner the air filters are, the better gas mileage will be. Basically, what happens is that when a gallon of gasoline burns, it also burns approx 1100 cubic ft. of air. This air passes through the air filter, and if it is not clean, then there will not be any free flow of air, which results in burning more and more fuel or use more fuel with less air. That’s why the air filters should be properly and regularly cleaned.
- Manufacturer’s recommended oil type for the car
Generally, the compatible or suitable oil type is mentioned on the top of the engine. One must have seen written something like 5W-30 energy conserving oil or Ow10 oil (full synthetic and super-light oil) on the engine. These alphanumeric codes describe the suitable engine oil. By sticking to what engine asks for is very crucial. Now, one might wonder why is that, well, the oil type with which the cars are compatible is light oil. Here friction is the role player. Lower friction inside the engine, the better the gas mileage, and less friction is only possible when the oil is lighter.
- Use of full synthetic motor oil than conventional oil
Both synthetic motor oil and conventional motor oil differ on one major aspect: the refinement level. The chemical ingredients and refinement process of fully synthetic motor oil maintains the purity and has controlled or uniform molecular size that results in less friction. This oil contains additives that protect the engine from dirt and reduce any deposits. Synthetic oil gives the lesser friction and increases the gas mileage, better MPG with fewer sludges in the engine.
- Changing the oil frequently
The main property of an oil that helps in running the engine is its lubrication factor. It is useless if the lubrication abilities of the oil do not work and reach where it has to go. No changing of oil frequently builds up dirt, residue, or sludge, which can degrade the engine parts. The sludged oil tends to heat the engine and run it under stress. Also, it limits the area of lubrication, restricts the flow, and blocks the crucial pathways. Dirty oil tends to lower the engine’s performance and hence reduces the engine’s life as well. It leads to more frictions and, ultimately, poor gas mileage. When we are driving, the piston rings in the engine and seals the pistons, which increase the efficiency of the car. By not changing the oil frequently and due to the dirt residue, the piston does not function properly, thus reducing the mileage.
- Air pressure in tires:
One must have correct air pressure for smooth performance. If not, then there will be too much rolling resistance, which will give the worst gas mileage. The average gas mileage can be increased by up to 3% with correct inflated tires. Under-inflated tires can lower the gas mileage as they are super draggy, which increases fuel consumption. So lesser will be the rolling resistance the more will be the gas mileage. Also, some particular companies offer specially designed tires that ensure less rolling resistance and allows better gas mileage. The tire manufacturer recommends the psi (pound per square inch) for the consistency and longevity of the tire. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every 1-psi drops in pressure, gas mileage goes lower by 0.4%. Air pressure must get checked at least every month.
- Tire Alignment
Misaligned tires also contribute to dragging than free rolling. Alignment is crucial; improper alignment reduces the efficiency of the fuel by approx 10%, which costs about 31% per gallon. Imbalanced tires can cause uneven tire wear, which results in low gas mileage. So proper balanced tire and rotation can improve the performance, fuel efficiency, and improve the mileage.
- Get rid of unnecessary weight in the car
Unnecessary things in the car increase the weight and worsen up the gas mileage. On long trips, carrying weight is necessary and acceptable, but traveling daily with weight can decrease mileage severely, so it is suggested to keep a car bit empty whenever possible. Because the heavier the vehicle, the more energy it will consume, great rolling resistance, and ultimately it will require huge fuel consumption.
- Consistent RPM
RPM (Revolution Per Minute) measures the operating speed of the car. It tells how times the engine crankshaft makes a full rotation every minute. Best gas mileage can be retrieved when driving at top gear with low RPM without any break. This can be usually experienced on empty roads and highways where the speed is constant and no dragging on break. The car gives the best gas mileage at that point.
- Rolled up windows
It has also been observed that rolled down windows also hinders the gas mileage. Basically, rolled down windows increases the wind resistance in the car. So it is suggested to roll up the window and use the air conditioner for better gas mileage. Wind resistance is the resistance of car for movement of air while driving. Low and sleek cars have high drag and better gas mileage as compared to the tall, large cars or trucks. Air cutting is the crux here. By rolling up the windows, wind cutting will be better, and gar mileage will be better. Just like a plane sharply cuts the air and fly.
- Regularly change or clean fuel filter
Cars have fuel filters to filter the fuel from dust particles. These are made of cartridges containing a filter paper. These fuel filters get clogged up poorly if dirt is not removed from time to time, and also oil is not changed regularly. Clogged fuel filters damage the fuel injectors and clog them too. Due to clogging, the fuel pressure goes down and runs poorly, because the fuel pump works in stress and compensate for pumping the oil into the engine. This causes heavy friction, which takes all the energy and results in poor gas mileage. So, if there is any deposition of dirt on the fuel injector, one can get it off with sandpaper, and they will spray well.
- No dragging
One of the points that have been observed amongst new learners; they tend to keep one foot on the brake and other on the gas. What happens is that, when they are in the learning phase, instructors ask them to keep a foot in touch with the break, just for safety. Once they are experienced, they can keep a relief on the brake pedal and use it when necessary. But, it takes a while to change that habit. Dragging gets bad mileage because it holds the car back, and it takes extra energy to push back the brake drag and move. So, Drive conservatively.
- Make sure the gas cap is sealed
While filling the gas, one might just think of reaching out for the button that opens the fuel door. Here comes the important thing which should be checked regularly and that is the rubber seal in the gas cap. The rubber seal in the gas cap provides airtight protection to restrict the entry of air into the gas tank. This rubber seal degrades with time, which is least noticeable and allows the entry of oxygen through the air into the gas tank. As the airflow increases in the gas tank, the engine burns more gas, which increases the fuel consumption and thus poor gas mileage. Modern cars have a sensor system that detects the seal and tells it when it has to be replaced.
- Turn off the engine during idling
Commonly, the engine is on while prolonged idling and but it costs. Approximately half a gallon is consumed every hour, or fuel burns every minute of idling. One can wait and restart the engine when required. It will help to save fuel. If the fuel is burning unnecessarily, then one won’t yield the mileage. Modern engines are designed more efficiently. The modern car technology takes care of the fuel and ensures less burning the engine when running idle.
- Spark Plugs
There are good chances of misfire in spark plug if the gas mileage suddenly drops down. The fuel economy can be decreased by 30% in case of bad spark plug and cost car owners more dollars per gallon. Spark plugs are a crucial factor behind the performance of the engine. Spark plug triggers the air-fuel mixture in the internal combustion chamber of the engine and helps in generating power. If the spark plug fails, it will cause a loss in the engine’s power, weak acceleration, reduced MPG, and overconsumption of the fuel. All of these factors lead to poor gas mileage. So there is a need for consistent car service to reduce any pertaining chances.
- Switching to the cruise control
Cruise control helps in retaining a steady speed. It is more useful in long drives and helps to save fuel. It levels out the speed, avoids needless acceleration and brake. Gas mileage can be improved by 10-15%.
Improving your gas mileage can save your money and environment by releasing fewer toxic emissions into the air. It also contributes to reducing your country’s dependence on oil. While avoiding transportation is impossible, carpooling and group trips can be a great way to do it. That said, there are numerous ways you can improve when you drive your car. The best way to increase your gas mileage would be to keep your car maintained.