Inflation-busting fuel saving tips
As gas prices continue to soar (no doubt due to soaring inflation, rising forex rates, and increased mobility/movement caused by the incoming ‘ber months), we are all trying to find ways to eke out every single bit of fuel efficiency from our cars, and thus stretching any savings we can get.
Here are some tips to consider.
Pump up those tires
Underinflated tires can easily account for a 30 percent drop in fuel efficiency. It’s best to check the tire pressure at least every two weeks.
You can usually find the recommended cold tire pressure settings on the door frame of the driver’s side, or on some cars, at or near the fuel filler flap or lid.
Air slowly escapes from the tire valves, so you should make sure to install a cap or cover. Even those cheap plastic ones really help.
And you can safely increase tire pressure 3-5 psi higher than the recommended setting, with a slightly firmer, harsher ride as trade-off.
Get a proper four-wheel alignment
if you can’t remember the last time you had your car’s wheels aligned, now is a good time to do it.
If your tires are pointing in different directions, you are increasing the car’s rolling resistance, plus making it unstable and unsafe at highway speeds, cornering and braking.
If all four wheels and tires are pointing in the proper direction, you’ll get less rolling resistance, a more relaxed and stable ride, you won’t wear out your tires prematurely.
It will also be safer on the highway, especially under heavy braking, in the wet, and during emergency lane-changing maneuvers.
Yokohama, Goodyear, and Bridgestone offer franchised service-chain shops with the latest computerized 4-wheel laser alignment services.
Check/change your car battery
Many modern cars nowadays are heavily controlled and governed by computers.
If your car battery is weak, or on its way out, chances are your car’s various sensors are not getting and sending the correct readings to the car’s various computers.
This can adversely affect driveability, response and outright power.
A car with a poor battery tends to feel very sluggish and unresponsive, even if there’s nothing wrong with it mechanically.
A quick check with a voltmeter will get to the bottom of things. If it reads below 12 volts with the vehicle in IGN mode but the engine isn’t running, change the battery.
Tip: If you want to extend your battery life, get a battery tender/charger such as CTek. These can really extend battery life, from 50 percent to 100 percent longer with regular use.
Reduce weight and drag
How many of you use your cars like a locker? If you generally keep lots and lots of personal effects inside your car without actually needing them, you are just adding weight to your car.
More so if you have a roof rack, which creates lots of aerodynamic drag especially at highway speeds.
Do yourself, your wallet, and your car a favor. Remove everything that’s weighing it down to make the car lighter.
Remove your roof rack/bike rack or whatever overhead rack you have when not in use.
It goes without saying that adding a spoiler or w huge wing won’t help you gain fuel efficiency especially on the highway.
Check your engine’s state of tune
Clogged air filters, fouled spark plugs, and heavily carbonized engines will rob you of power and efficiency.
Make sure your engine is in a good state of tune always by strictly adhering to your vehicle’s PMS schedule.
If your car is over 10 years old, chances are the catalytic converter/s, muffler and resonator/s are clogged up. Time to replace these to free up more power and efficiency.
Check also for leaks in your engine’s various vacuum lines, as these can rob your engine of power and response, too.
Check your cooling system
If your vehicle is prone to overheating, not only will it cause severe engine damage in the long run, but is also causing your engine to run inefficiently.
The added heat consumes more fuel, and robs efficiency and power. So, have your vehicle’s cooling system (radiator, fans and thermostat) checked, cleaned/flushed, or replaced as necessary.
Clean your air-conditioning system
Most air-conditioning car compressors use anywhere from 4 to 7 horsepower when in optimal condition.
If, however, your a/c system is dirty, clogged or in need of maintenance, the a/c compressor will leech off even more power from your engine, which really hampers fuel efficiency.
Have your a/c system cleaned, replace your cabin filter, and check the refrigerant if it needs topping up so you’re not overworking your a/c system, and consequently, the engine.
Waze is your friend
Believe it or not, Waze can really help you cut down your time on the road.
Because even if your car is as super fuel efficient as can be, if you’re not moving and idling in traffic, you’re still wasting fuel.
Stay home if and when you can
The most fuel efficient car is the one that’s parked, and engine turned off.
Stay home if you can avoid going out, help decongest traffic, and save time by working out of your home rather than being stuck in traffic.