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When gas prices are high, there’s never a better time to check some basic maintenance and maximize your fuel efficiency.

 

What can you really do to make your vehicle burn less gas? Probably more than you think. While you’re not necessarily going to be able to make a Suburban sip petrol like a Prius, some basic maintenance and attention can add up to make an impact towards maximizing your vehicle’s miles per gallon (MPG).

EIGHT WAYS TO MAXIMIZE FUEL EFFICIENCY

1

CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER

Help your engine breathe, and it will run more efficiently, increasing your MPGs. The engine's ability to pull air is directly related to its ability to produce power, and a clean air filter keeps that air flowing and fresh. If the filter is dirty, it's harder for the engine to get that good air in, reducing power and fuel efficiency.

Good news, this is literally one of the easiest maintenance jobs on the entire vehicle.

  • You just head to AutoZone, pick up an STP Air Filter or STP Premium Air Filter and check out.
  • Head out to your vehicle (ask an AutoZoner to help if you need it), lift the hood, and find your filter box.
  • Usually, the filter box opens with just a few latches, every now and then you may need a screwdriver.
  • Open the box. Old filter out, new filter in, close the hood.
  • Congrats, you just made your engine more efficient.

2

YES, TIRE PRESSURE IS IMPORTANT

Think of how hard it is to ride a bicycle with a deflated wheel. Because it costs your car more energy, driving on under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure. You can improve your fuel economy immediately by up to 3.3% just by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Your car will also ride smoother, and you'll decrease your chances of catching a flat on the road.

If you don't have a tire pressure gauge already, it's a good idea to have one in the vehicle. We also recommend a tire inflator for emergencies, and it can be used to keep tire pressure at the appropriate level.

To find the right tire pressure number (measured in PSI), check the sticker inside the driver's side door jamb. If may also be printed in the glove box, or you can find it in the owner's manual. Use this number, rather than the number on the side of the tire.

3

TREAT YOUR TANK

That fuel treatment we're always talking about at AutoZone will help clean out older fuel injectors and keep your fuel system operating more efficiently, improving gas mileage. Over time, impurities in gasoline build up, forming deposits in your fuel system. These contaminates sap power from your vehicle, forcing your engine to work harder.

A good fuel system treatment that cleans out power-draining debris will take you a long way towards restoring your vehicle to its best MPG.

We have effective fuel treatments from Lucas, Sea Foam and STP Fuel Injector Cleaner that are safe for your vehicle, and quick and easy to use. Most just pour right inside your gas tank.

4

CHECK ENGINE LIGHT ON? CLEAR IT!

Many of the most draining issues for fuel efficiency will make a check engine light appear. If your oxygen sensor or mass air flow sensor are malfunctioning, that's going to hamper fuel economy. Even a loose or broken gas cap can cost you up to a full tank of gasoline per year. Fortunately, your vehicle will alert you to a lot of these problems by showing a check engine light, and AutoZone can help you get more information about it.

Just visit your local AutoZone for the FREE AutoZone Fix Finder Service and you'll get a free reading along with technician-verified fixes and recommendations for a repair. Often, it's a simple part replacement you can do yourself. If you need help with the fix, AutoZone will also recommend a trusted local shop to help with the fix.

5

THINK ABOUT A TUNE UP

While the term may is used less nowadays, many aspects of the tune up, in particular the replacing of air filters and spark plugs, go a long way to putting your vehicle in a position to be as fuel efficient as possible.

A seriously out-of-tune engine, like one with a faulty O2 sensor, can be costing you up to 40% in milage, and many times a sluggish oxygen sensor may not reveal a Check Engine Light until after it has completely failed.

Common tune up parts to help improve fuel efficiency

6

DRIVE EASY

Use cruise control while driving on the highway and avoid excessive braking and accelerating in city traffic when possible. Rapid acceleration, braking and speeding can significantly reduce your fuel efficiency; for an up to 33% better fuel economy, so keep it steady.

Also, don't let your engine idle. Anything over 10 seconds' worth of idling uses more fuel than shutting off and restarting your vehicle. Running your engine while your car isn't moving wastes gas. When your vehicle is parked, turn off your engine to save fuel.

7

CHECK YOUR OIL

Fuel economy deteriorates as oil ages. Routine oil changes will improve the overall efficiency and gas mileage of your engine by preventing the oil breakdown and the buildup of sludge over time. Just be sure to always use the oil weight and type recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. You can find that listed your owner's manual.

Some motor oils contain friction-reducing additives that improve engine efficiency. Here's a tip: look for the API performance symbol "Energy Conserving" on the container.

8

RIDE LIGHT

Aerodynamics and weight are going to impact your fuel economy. Wherever you're going, pack smart and avoid accessories that might increase your vehicle's wind resistance and get there for less.

Ditch UNUSED ROOF OR TRUNK RACKS.Taking a trip somewhere? Need to haul a bike around? If your answer's no, take that thing off. Unused racks increase wind resistance and decrease gas mileage

DE-JUNK YOUR TRUNK. Another factor in your fuel economy is payload weight. Payload weight is defined as anything extra you're carrying in the vehicle. That case of kitty litter that's been sitting in the bed of your truck for 6 months and worked great for added weight in the wintery snow? It's got to go. Those books you swore you would drop off for donation this week. Make it happen. All of this is extra weight that makes your engine work harder to accelerate and keep speed. Get these items out of the vehicle!

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on AutoZone.com and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

FREE Loan-A-Tool® program requires returnable deposit. Please note that the tool that you receive after placing an online order may be in a used but operable condition due to the nature of the Loan-A-Tool® program.

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