The good news: analysts predict 2016 summer gas prices will be lower than they’ve been in a decade. The bad news: prices will still go up. The heavy summer driving season is when gasoline demand is typically at its peak and prices reflect market demand.
With that looming, our experts at the Co-op Service Center tell us this is the time of year to prepare and get your car ready. They’ve put together ten tips to help you keep your car running at its fuel-efficient best and save money over the long haul.
Everyone has heard this piece of advice, mainly because it’s true. For example, increasing your speed from 55 to 65 miles per hour increases drag by 36 percent. Driving a little slower will pay off at the pump.
Hard acceleration in stop-and-go driving can affect your gasoline usage by 20 percent or more. Take it slowly and smoothly.
Keep your tires at the right pressure
Use a tire gauge and keep your tires at the recommend air pressure that can be found on the decal pasted to the driver’s door or in your vehicle owner’s manual.
Check your air filter
If an engine can’t get enough air, the combustion efficiency can drop nearly ten percent. You’ll burn the same amount of fuel or more to go shorter distances.
Keep your car aligned
There’s a reason service centers align your vehicle each time they change your tires. If your tires are bowed out of alignment even slightly, they waste gasoline.
Check your spark plugs
Plugs that are worn or damaged will affect how efficiently your engine performs.
Check your brakes
Brake calipers can bind over time, dragging down your gas mileage.
Replace your oxygen sensor before the light goes on
The oxygen sensor monitors the efficiency of your vehicle’s combustion and can degrade over time. Keep yours checked for maximum efficiency.
Replace a failing thermostat
A thermostat that opens too quickly or stays open can dramatically lower the coolant temperature, which affects your overall fuel efficiency.
Replace a problem or missing air dam
Beneath the front of your car is a plastic air dam that literally “dams off” airflow to the undercarriage of your car, forcing air up and over the car and creating less drag. Ensure your air dam is there and working properly.