Have you ever thought about all the little things we do to keep our lives running smoothly - like vacuuming? It makes a room feel fresher and more comfortable. We may not consider that we're also prolonging the life of the carpet by keeping it clean. Drivers don't always extend those good habits into the garage. Our vehicles need regular maintenance just like our rugs need vacuuming. We may not notice a difference in the feel or appearance of the vehicle, but just as cleaning a carpet carries the hidden reward of prolonging its life, maintaining our vehicles incurs a hidden reward that becomes noticeable at gas stations.
When it comes to reduced fuel economy, there are two culprits:
1) Increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion. This means that anything drivers can do to decrease friction and increase the efficiency of their engines will translate to savings on fuel. Friction increases the amount of energy it takes to move something. If we can reduce friction, we can decrease the amount of fuel it takes to run our vehicles. Engine oil is usually at the heart of friction problems in an engine. Too little oil means parts are not getting lubricated, which increases friction and dirty oil doesn't lubricate as well as clean oil. A great secret to good fuel economy is to stay on top of oil changes.. The same auto advice applies to transmission fluid. Keep it full and keep it clean, and your vehicle will run with less friction.
If your tires are underinflated, it increases the friction between the tire and the road. Again, there is increased drag, and it takes more fuel to move your vehicle. Drivers should check their tire pressure every month and keep their tires properly inflated.
Alignment and brake problems can also increase friction. Besides saving fuel, keeping these systems in good repair has the added benefit of saving you on tires and brake pads. These items wear out more quickly when the alignment is off or when the brake system isn't in good working order.
2) Inefficient fuel combustion. Fuel combustion depends on the engine getting the right amount of clean fuel to the right place with the right pressure at the right time in the right pattern. The key to peak engine performance is to keep the fuel system clean. Varnish and gum can build up in a fuel system, which will interfere with the fuel injectors. The fuel injectors are responsible for all those “rights” we spoke of. If they're dirty, amounts, timing, pressure and spray patterns can all get out of whack. The result? Reduced fuel economy. A fuel system cleaning can get your injectors back on track, improving performance and efficiency.
There are a few other maintenance items that can improve your fuel economy such as replacing your PCV valve when it gets sticky (this valve allows unburned fuel in your engine exhaust to return to the engine), replace worn spark plugs and dirty fuel filters. A well-maintained vehicle will require fewer repairs and save money at gas pumps.
Old Town Automotive <br/> 210 5th St <br/> Eureka, CA 95501 <br/> 707.443-4556 <br/>www.oldtownauto.com
Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant