How to Improve Your Car’s Mpg
It’s no secret that gas prices have been higher than usual over the last few months. And even with prices steadily decreasing, many are still looking for ways to save at the pump, especially now that summer is winding down and the back-to-school season is upon us.
But before you head off on your last-minute summer road trip, take the time to learn more about what can affect your car’s fuel economy and how you can boost your mpg to help you save the next time you pull into a gas station.
What Is “Mpg” and Why Does It Matter?
A car’s mpg, or “miles per gallon,” is the distance a car can travel per gallon of fuel. This is measured in miles and is the primary unit of measurement of a vehicle’s fuel economy. For example, if your car gets 25 miles per gallon or 25 mpg, your car can travel 25 miles on one gallon of gas. You will also commonly see vehicles listing three separate types of fuel economy, such as the Honda Civic receiving 31 mpg driving in the city (ex, stop-and-go traffic), 40 mpg highway (ex, driving at highway speeds with minimal to no stopping), and a combined rating of 35 mpg.
This is a very important metric of your vehicle as it will determine how much you will pay for fuel and gauge how efficient your vehicle is (aka its fuel efficiency). If your car usually gets 25 mpg and suddenly is getting 20 mpg, this is a sure sign that there is something wrong with your vehicle and your engine is not running as efficiently as it should be.
What Affects a Car’s Mpg?
Before you take steps to improve your car’s mpg, it is essential to understand what affects your fuel economy. The most significant factors affecting your car’s fuel economy are its engine and overall size.
It is no secret that large V8 trucks and sportscars get fewer miles per gallon than your standard 4-cylinder commuter cars. After all, larger engines demand more fuel to create more power. However, there are some instances when a smaller engine may be less efficient than a V8 engine when moving a heavy vehicle. For example, if you have two larger trucks weighing the same amount, but one has a standard 4-cylinder engine, and the other has an 8-cylinder engine, the 4-cylinder will have to work harder to get the vehicle to move, thus hurting its overall fuel economy.
But regardless of the size of your vehicle or the engine type, once it comes out of the factory, it will come with a standard fuel efficiency rating. And as time goes on and parts wear out, this can diminish as your car becomes less efficient, thus impacting your overall fuel economy. Dirty air filters, deflated tires, worn-out suspension components, and malfunctioning sensors can all lead to a loss in mpg.
How you drive and maintain your car can also impact its fuel economy, and making some general changes can help ensure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle.
How to Improve Your Car’s Gas Mileage
If you notice that you are making more trips to the gas station than usual or that your mpg has decreased, you can do a few things to help improve your car’s mpg.
Keep Your Car Maintained
One of the easiest ways to keep your fuel economy as high as possible is to maintain your car. While there are many reasons to maintain your car, saving money at the pumps is one of the best perks. You can find your vehicle’s maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual or stop by your local dealership to set up a proper scheduled maintenance program. But when it comes to increasing your fuel economy, even maintenance you might not even think of can help. For instance, while not on the same level as an oil change or other maintenance services, washing and cleaning out your car can help you boost your car’s fuel economy. For instance, tidying up the interior and taking out any excess weight from your car, like trash, luggage, golf clubs, and so on, can help maximize your overall fuel savings. After all, the more weight your vehicle has to move, the harder your engine has to work and the less fuel efficient it will be.
Drive Steady & Stay within the Speed Limit
Another critical factor in how much gas your vehicle uses is how you drive. The speed limit posted on roads is not just there for your safety; it is also a great guide to follow to make sure you are traveling at the best speeds for efficiency.
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Your tires play an essential role in how efficiently your vehicle performs, especially when it comes to your tire pressure. Underinflated tires can cause your engine to work harder than needed to get your car moving. Keeping your tires properly inflated is another quick and easy way to ensure your vehicle runs at its best.
Keep Your Car Aligned
Your car’s alignment refers to how straight your wheels are. From the factory, your suspension is adjusted to keep your wheels and tires straight for the least resistance when driving. As time goes on and parts wear out, you will need to have your car aligned to keep your wheels straight. When your vehicle is out of alignment, this slight change of angle on your tires can cause lower fuel mileage and uneven wear on your tires.
Warming up your vehicle in the mornings or sitting in your car on your lunch break can lead to unneeded or excessive idling. While your car is idling, your vehicle is getting zero miles per gallon as the engine is running, but you are not going anywhere. Plus, you’ll also be putting unnecessary emissions into the air.
Reduce Fast Accelerations & Hard Stops
In today’s fast-paced world, using some less-than-ideal driving habits can seem like it can get you to or from somewhere quicker. But while it may get you from Point A to Point B a little faster, quick accelerations and excess speeding can cause your car’s engine to use more gas than it needs to. To help you save the next time you fill up the gas tank, avoid rapid accelerations and drive safely. You should also avoid hard stops as this reduces your engine’s performance efficiency, so instead, try taking your foot off the gas pedal when coming up to red lights or stops signs and coasting until you apply the brakes. If you also happen to find yourself on hilly terrain, even better, as you can let gravity take over when going downhill. Also another way to help you save on gas is by using your car’s cruise control feature. So next time you find yourself cruising at highway speeds on an open road, use cruise control and enjoy the ride.
Keep an Eye on Your Warning Lights
Lastly, you will want to keep an eye on the warning lights on your dashboard, like the check engine light and so on. These will alert you when an issue with your vehicle needs to be addressed. And most of the time, these issues can affect fuel mileage, so make sure to get them checked out and fixed as soon as possible.
Save On Car Repairs with Endurance
Improving your car’s fuel economy can help you save money and ensure your vehicle runs as efficiently as possible. After all, a clean-running engine can help prolong your vehicle’s overall life, so maintaining your car has more benefits than simply keeping your mpg in check.
Still, while properly maintaining your car can help prevent breakdowns, every vehicle will need repairs sooner or later. And without extended warranty coverage, you could be left paying for these repairs on your own, especially if you have an older vehicle. But when you have an Endurance auto protection plan, you can rest assured that you are protected from expensive automotive repair costs for all of your vehicle’s vital components, including the engine, transmission and more.
Plus, you can enjoy perks like 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car coverage, and trip interruption coverage just by being an Endurance customer. But that’s not all, as you can also enjoy even more perks and savings with a full year of Endurance Elite Benefits, including complete tire coverage, key fob replacements, collision discounts and even total loss protection.
Don’t wait; request a free, no-obligation quote or give our award-winning customer care team a call to learn how you can get the perfect Endurance protection plan to fit your specific needs. By visiting the Endurance blog, you can also find other helpful automotive tips and articles on other topics ranging from extended warranty coverage comparisons, vehicle buying guides, and much more.