Gas is not getting any cheaper, so it helps to get the best possible fuel economy out of any vehicle you drive. Whether it’s a very fuel-efficient hybrid or big old gas-guzzler, the more you can save at the pump, the better.
If you notice that your gas mileage seems to be less than normal or you just aren’t getting the fuel economy you are expecting, it may be the result of a mechanical problem or it could even be your own personal driving habits causing the lack of MPG. Here are 10 of the most common causes of poor fuel economy, according to the Colorado Springs auto repair professionals at LightHouse Automotive:
1. Dirty Air Filter
If your engine isn’t getting the oxygen it needs to efficiently burn fuel, you will lose gas mileage. Replace your dirty engine air filter as needed and it will make a difference.
2. Failing Oxygen Sensors
Most vehicles contain different oxygen sensors in the engine and exhaust system that monitor air intake and emissions output. If a sensor is failing or the check engine light is being tripped, it is something worth getting checked out.
3. Incorrect Tire Pressure
Something as simple as the tire pressure can drastically affect fuel economy. If they are overinflated or underinflated, you will lose MPG. Look inside the driver’s side door panel and inflate your tires to the recommended pressure (not “max pressure”).
4. Overworking the Air Conditioner
The more you run your air conditioner, the lower mileage you will get. Set a comfortable temperature and avoid the temptation to blast the air at full tilt on those hot days. If you have problems with your A/C, then it's worth getting repaired because it could be costing you more fuel economy than you realize.
5. Fuel System Issue
A lack of gas mileage can also be the sign of a problem within the fuel system. Perhaps the fuel filter is clogged or dirty, or there’s a leak/clog in one of the fuel lines.
6. Exhaust System Problem
Many people don’t realize just how important the vehicle’s exhaust system is to its overall fuel economy. If there’s an exhaust leak or a problem with the muffler, manifolds or catalytic converter, it will result in decreased gas mileage.
7. Faulty Spark Plugs
If a spark plug is misfiring or failing in any way, the engine won’t get the combustion it needs and the fuel economy will suffer.
8. Motor Oil Concerns
If your engine is not getting enough motor oil to provide important lubricating properties, it will have to work harder to provide power. Likewise, old or dirty oil will cause problems. Another concern is using the wrong oil weight for your vehicle. Always follow manufacturer recommendations as listed in the owner’s manual and get your oil changed regularly.
9. Idling Too Long
If you spend too long in the morning “warming up” your vehicle, you are just burning extra fuel. Most cars need no more than 30 seconds to warm up the engine.
10. Bad Driving Habits
Last but not least, a big factor in your vehicle’s overall fuel economy is how you drive. If you drive too fast, accelerate too quickly, rev the engine a lot at stops and drive aggressively in general, you will burn more fuel than you need to. If you want to save money at the pump, drive a bit more sensibly.
These are just a few reasons why your vehicle may not be getting optimal gas mileage. For more information and to get your car inspected by expert automotive technicians for maximum fuel economy and top performance, call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.