It’s summertime, and the livin’ is supposed to be easy. After all, you have baseball games, pool parties and backyard barbeques to attend and road trips to take. It’s the most adventure-filled time of the year. You know you should be excited, but your blood pressure seems to go up when you see the price of gas rise. One way to ease your pain at the pump is to follow these simple tips to get the most mileage for your money.
Lighten Your Load
We’re all guilty of this infraction at one time or another. We use our trunks as a mini storage space, piling clothes, books and other items on top of one another to make room for the stuff we have gathering in the interior of our vehicle. For every extra 250 pounds your engine has to haul, you lose one mile per gallon. All that dead weight is costing you money. Only keep necessities with you, such as a first-aid kit, flashlight and jumper cables.
Stay Pumped Up
Most of us only pay attention to our tires when we’re on the side of the road calling roadside assistance for help with our flat. However, keeping your tires inflated to the proper level your manufacturer specifies for your car will help you maintain optimal fuel economy. If your tires are underinflated, they will have more rolling resistance, which means your engine has to work that much harder to keep your vehicle moving. To make sure your tires are at their appropriate pressure, check them when they’re cold. That is, when your car has been stopped for at least 30 minutes. That will give you the most accurate reading. To determine the perfect pressure for your car’s tires, check the placard on the driver’s side doorjamb or look in your owners manual.
Idling is Not Ideal
Bumper-to-bumper traffic, waiting for your food at the drive-thru and that one stoplight that seems to last an eternity means you’re spending time sitting in your car with the engine idling. This is the easiest way to get zero miles per gallon. You’re not going anywhere, but that precious fuel is burning by the minute. The best way to avoid getting zero mpg is to simply turn off your engine when you know you’ll be waiting for an extended amount of time. Yes, your car will burn some gas when you start it up again, but it burns far less than when you let it idle.
Did you know that every time you shut off your vehicle, a bit of residue from your fuel remains in the engine? All those deposits can lead to decreased performance and lowered fuel economy. To help keep your vehicle running like new, consider cleaning your fuel system.
“If you want your engine to maintain its new engine fuel economy and performance, it’s important to have a regular, preventative maintenance fuel system cleaning done,” said Owen Heatwole, technical support and environmental health and safety manager for Solid Start. “There are different approaches, but the most popular-and the one I recommend-addresses the engine in three different ways: a pour-in product that you pour into the gas tank. It cleans everywhere from the fuel tank to the exhaust. The second part is a throttle body cleaning that typically comes in an aerosol can. It’s sprayed into the throttle body area, allowed to soak and then wiped away with a rag or brush. The third step is an induction cleaning, in which the product is poured into a delivery device that’s connected to a vacuum line as close as possible to the throttle body and produces a cleaning vapor. It cleans the intake manifold, valve and combustion chamber. The process takes about 15 minutes.”
Filling up doesn’t have to bring you pain when you go to the pump. Just follow these tips and enjoy the savings, as well as your summer.