(ARA) – In today’s economy, consumers are more cost-consciousthan ever. There are plenty of basic strategies drivers can use tostretch their fuel dollar, notes Martin Lawson, editorial directorfor the non-profit National Institute for Automotive ServiceExcellence.
The following advice is from the pros at ASE
* Monitor your tires. Under-inflated tires or poorly-alignedwheels waste fuel by forcing the engine to work harder. Let thetires cool down before checking the air pressure. Out-of-linewheels, as evidenced by uneven tread wear, should be aligned by aprofessional. In addition to saving on gasoline, you will save bynot needing to replace tires as often. And fewer tires will need tobe scrapped, which is good for the environment.
* Change the way you drive. For example, drive gently — suddenaccelerations guzzle gas. Anticipate traffic patterns ahead of timeand adjust your speed gradually. Use cruise control. (You’ll helpyour car’s engine last longer, too.)
* Observe speed limits. Speeding decreases your miles pergallon. As a rule of thumb, mileage begins to decline sharply above60 mph or so, as air drag puts ever-increasing demands on theengine.
* Avoid excessive engine idling. Shut off your vehicle whilewaiting for friends and family for more than a minute or so. Anidling engine gets 0 mpg.
* Remove excess weight. Store only essentials in the trunk. Lessweight means better mileage. After family vacations, make sure youremove all unnecessary items, including that rooftop cargo carrier,which increases air drag.
* Use windows and air conditioning wisely. Assuming your airconditioning system is in good working condition, you should getbetter mileage at highway speeds with it on and windows rolled upthan off and windows down. The culprit, again, is air drag. Inheavy, stop-and-go traffic, air drag doesn’t come into play; you’lloptimize mileage by shutting off the a/c and giving your engine abreak.
* Don’t neglect the easy stuff. Regular oil changes andreplacement of dirty air filters help your car’s engine get itsoptimal miles per gallon. Moreover, neglect of these two basicservices will make your engine pollute more and wear outfaster.
* The take-away. Follow the service schedules listed in yourowner’s manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended; haveengine performance problems (rough idling, poor acceleration, etc.)corrected at a repair facility. Given today’s high-tech engines,it’s wise to have this type of work done by auto technicians whoare ASE-certified in engineperformance.
* Keep your engine operating at its peak efficiency. Neverignore service engine lights. It may indicate something as simpleand relatively inexpensive for a technician to replace as an oxygensensor. Left unattended, an overly rich fuel mix will cut intomileage greatly and can destroy your vehicle’s more expensivecatalytic converter.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence wasfounded in 1972 as a non-profit, independent organization dedicatedto improving the quality of automotive service and repair throughthe voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insigniaand carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification.Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign. For moreinformation, including seasonal car care tips, visitwww.ase.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent