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Here’s Five Ways to Improve Gas Mileage
Contrary to popular belief, there are some simple things you can do to your car to improve gas mileage today. Notice that you’re no longer getting the same gas mileage that you used to? Notice that your car or truck is running a little bit rougher and doesn’t have the same pick up that it used to? The Experts at MaintainYourRide have come up with five super simple parts/tools that you can replace or use that will help reinvigorate your car or truck and hopefully restore some of those miles per gallon you used to get.
These suggestions are meant to be simple enough for even the most inexperienced DIY’er while also having a profound impact on the reliability, efficiency, and longevity of your car or truck. We will continue to expand this list for more intermediate and advanced DIY’ers. Subscribe to keep up to date with the latest from the MYR team.
Air Intake Filter
Dirty intake filters are one of the cheapest and easiest parts to replace. When your filter is dirty, it restricts the airflow to the engine and can cause the Engine Control Unit (Computer) to push extra fuel resulting in increased consumption and fewer miles per gallon.
This job can be done for less than $50 and typically takes about 20 minutes, even for unexperienced DIY’ers. If you’ve had your current air filter for more than 2 years or 20k miles, it’s due for a change. You may be surprised with how much smoother your car will run when it can breathe! Better air flow will improve gas mileage.
Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor
The Mass Air Flow Sensor measures the amount of air flowing into the engine. The ECU uses this information to accurately determine how much fuel is necessary for the proper air fuel ratio. If your MAF Sensor is faulty, the bad reading can cause the ECU to push extra fuel in attempt to balance out the ratio.
This essentially puts your car into limp mode and makes the car highly inefficient resulting in poor gas mileage. This is a little bit more expensive and difficult to replace than the air filter, as it will require some basic tools and a little knowledge, but there are plenty of guides online for replacing the MAF Sensor on your car.
Don’t be scared to get in there and give it a shot and see if it helps to improve gas mileage. Nothing catastrophic will happen as a result of improper installation. You just may get a check engine light and have a rough idle.
Oxygen (O2) Sensor
The Oxygen Sensor is what measures how well the air/fuel mixture is being burned in the engine. Located on the exhaust manifold, it is constantly analyzing the gases coming from the combustion chamber to make sure everything is running smoothly.
An improperly functioning Oxygen Sensor can have similar effects to the MAF Sensor. Poor readings can cause the ECU to panic and dump additional fuel into the cylinders in an attempt to correct the air/fuel ratio. These are a bit more susceptible to failure due to the extreme temperatures of the exhaust manifold as well. They can also be ruined by carbon deposits that collect on the sensor from the exhaust gases.
Again, a bit more complicated than the Air Filter, but this is definitely doable for a beginner. Making sure you have the right tools can be a big help with these types of jobs. Sometimes the Oxygen Sensors are really tough to remove due to all the temperature fluctuation and gunk that builds up on them. They make special sockets designed for removing the O2 Sensor that make the job much easier.
Make sure you grab the Oxygen Sensor Socket so you can install the sensor yourself!
Not all Spark Plugs are created equal. With a few different types to choose from, making a decision can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the differences. We explore a lot about the differences between each of the three major types of spark plugs in our article Best Spark Plugs – Top 5 Best Spark Plugs » MaintainYourRide.
In general, if you’re willing to pay a little extra, you can get Platinum or Iridium plugs that will increase the amount of time between changes. Due to the increased strength of these fine metals, they have longer life spans than the regular copper/nickel plugs. There isn’t a measurable difference in performance in most applications due to the fact that almost all types of plugs have copper/nickel cores, so it really is just about the longevity.
Spark Plugs are an easy job, but can be tough to reach depending on the application. There are specially designed sockets that have rubber grips inside to grab onto the spark plug once you’ve unscrewed it. These are essential because the plugs are typically stuck about 6″ down a tube.
Make sure to pick up the Spark Plug Socket to ease the installation of your spark plugs.
Check Tire Pressure
Tire Pressure is by far the easiest to monitor and remedy. Even if you don’t have an air pump available, most gas stations have them available for about $0.75. Rolling around on improperly inflated tires will cause increased rolling resistance and premature wear. This means that not only is it effecting your gas mileage, but it’s also reducing the lifespan of your tires.
Everyone should have a tire pressure monitor on hand. Every few weeks, or before a long trip, double-check the tire pressure because while you may not notice it at the time, that wear adds up over the thousands of miles you drive annually. So do the miles per gallon you’re losing, so make sure you track how the MPG change when you improve gas mileage by properly inflating your tires.
Here is a cheaper option for a tire pressure monitor Motor Luxe Tire Pressure Gauge
These five simple fixes can have a drastic effect on the way your car runs and how much gas mileage you’re able to get. They can also reduce the wear on parts of your car or truck prolonging improving the reliability and prolonging the life of your engine/tires. At such a low cost, all five of these things can be done in a couple of hours while drinking a beer in your garage.
Be sure to take proper care of your car’s paint as well. Choosing the Best Car Wax can be a great preventative measure to combat premature wear of the car’s paint finishes.