Fuel Economy in Your Vehicle
courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man
To all the readers this article is geared to saving money in fuel consumption.
One of the biggest ways of using fuel is improper warm up of your car. Some people say "I just get in it and go". Others say "In the winter I wait till the car is nice and toasty warm before I get in". Both of these statement are not only using more fuel, but could also be harmful to your car. The answer to both of these statements is the same, a car needs only 90-180 seconds to be properly warmed up. I most fuel injected cars today, it is easy to determine when the appropriate time to leave the driveway is, when the engine is first started, it is usually in a high idle, as soon as the idle drops to a normal level, the car is ready to go. This usually happens is 98-180 seconds of operation. When leaving too soon, you run the risk of the upper part of the engine not being properly lubricated. When waiting too long, you run the risk of over heating the engine and possible other problems with a hot catalytic converter. Again, only 90 seconds and that's about all. It will save money in both fuel savings and eliminate the possibility of a costly repair.
Another way to save money in fuel economy, is to inspect your air filter regularly. A dirty air filter can not "breathe". This makes the engine run less efficiently. Air filters today can cost anywhere from 2 to 4 dollars (on sale, and sometimes cheaper). This $2 can actually cost you a lot more if the filter is dirty. The easiest way to tell if the filter needs to be replaced is 1) remove it from the car, 2) hold it up the a light (the sun is a free source), 3) if you can see light through, then you are good to go, if not, time for a replacement. I recommend that when you see a sale on filters at your local discount house, buy a few and keep them on hand. This way, you will not have to run out and get one and the current overinflated prices!
And finally, on most front wheeled drive cars, the alignment of the font wheels is very important. Not only will your tires wear faster and the car not handle correctly when the alignment is out, but the car is burn more fuel to boot! Just think about it, if the tires are not pointing in the same direction (which is the case in most alignment problems) then you will create more friction between the tires and the road. This extra friction will make more load on the car. More load on the car will use more fuel. I recommend having the alignment check at least once a year and after anything out of the ordinary happens, like hitting a large pot hole, or the car just doesn't seem to turn correctly.
And just one final point to make, an extra 250-500 pounds of weight in the car will result in a 1-2 mile per gallon loss of fuel economy!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
Have a car care question? Visit our automotive center and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.
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