Ways to maintain your car for better gas mileage

With all the political and natural turmoil currently happening all over the world, oil prices – and their probable increase – are again making headlines. Across the country, gas prices have made a significant jump, causing frustration for drivers who are already on tight budgets.

We’ve learned over the past decade that gas prices, while always volatile, are continuing to trend upward. And as drivers have to face that reality, fuel economy has become increasingly important. Because it’s not realistic for most people to immediately buy more fuel efficient cars, the search is on for ways to get better gas mileage from existing vehicles.

Even the U.S. government is responding, launching www.fueleconomy.gov, which gives tips on how to improve fuel economy.

The most important step you can take to get the best gas mileage from your car is to keep your engine properly maintained. Check your owner’s manual to find out what needs to be done and how often, and be sure to check fluid levels frequently to ensure that everything is in good working order. According to the Federal Trade Commission, keeping your engine properly maintained can increase gas mileage by as much as 4 percent.

Another important part of maintaining your vehicle for good gas mileage is paying attention to your tires. If your tires are under-inflated, you could be wasting a lot of the money that you pay at the pump. Keep your tires inflated at the pounds per square inch (PSI) level recommended in your owner’s manual – the information is also occasionally printed in the door frame or glove compartment of your car. Fueleconomy.gov recommends using this figure, as opposed to the maximum PSI listed on the tire itself. The site also suggests that properly inflated tires can help improve mileage by up to 3.3 percent. You should also keep your tires in good alignment, as that can also have a positive effect on fuel economy too.

You already know that regular oil changes are an essential part of keeping your car running well, but oil could have an effect on your fuel mileage as well. Using your manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can improve your car’s fuel economy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When taking your car in for it’s regular oil change, confirm with your mechanic that the right grade is being used.

While you might look forward to buying a fuel efficient car in the future, for the time being it’s important to get the best mileage out of the vehicle that you currently drive. Follow these maintenance tips and you’ll be on your way to better fuel savings.