Vehicle Neglect Can Take the Fun Out of Thanksgiving
Don’t let soaring gas prices gobble up your hard earned money this Thanksgiving weekend; carve out some time to perform some simple fix’s on your vehicle for better gas mileage, advises the Lauren Fix spokesperson for the Car Care Council.
• Before stuffing your family in the car…
• Don’t hit the road on a wing and a prayer…
• Get a leg up on the traffic by…
• More miles per gallon is all gravy…
• The dinner and the driving – it’s all about the gas…
OK, had enough? Seriously though, Thanksgiving is one of the most heavily traveled holidays by vehicle and gas mileage can be easily improved by checking a 5 basic items on the car.
1. Start with the tires and make sure they are inflated properly. When they aren’t, it is similar to driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month and don’t forget the spare.
2. Air filters can get clogged with dirt, dust or bugs. A dirty filter will choke off the air and create a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air – that wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. A rule of thumb is to have the air filter inspected at each oil change and replace it every 6 months. Replacing a clogged air filter will improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
3. Spark plugs are an often-neglected maintenance item because of their long-life expectancy. They are one of the hardest working parts of the engine and when functioning properly, they improve reliability and maximize engine performance and fuel economy. Plugs that are worn or fouled can cause the engine to lose power or misfire, which wastes fuel. The replacement interval for spark plugs can range from 30,000 to 100,000 miles.
4. A check of the spark plugs is usually part of a routine tune-up during which your automotive technician makes sure other ignition system and /or emission system parts, as well as the onboard computer control system, are working properly. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions.
5. Gas caps should not be damaged, loose or missing. About 17 percent of the vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
In addition to proper vehicle maintenance, motorists can also get better gas mileage by avoiding aggressive driving, which can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and five percent on city streets,
• Avoiding excessive idling as a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when sitting idle.
• Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
• Motorists should observe the speed limit as gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon.
• Cruise control helps maintain a constant speed on the highway.
• Combining errands into one trip will also save gas and time. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance.
• Motorists should avoid carrying unneeded heavy items in the trunk as an extra 100 pounds can cut fuel efficiency by a percent or two.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a FREE copy or download of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.