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Fuel Efficiency Refresher: Five Maintenance Tips to Help Improve Fuel Economy

Mechanics at work

We’re all about Ways to Save on Fuel here at PumpTalk and as summer draws to a close, here are five fall maintenance tips that can help improve your fuel efficiency and prolong the life of your vehicle.

Check your air filter.  The cleaner the air filter is, the more air flows through to your engine, optimizing your fuel mixture and gas mileage. Check your owner’s manual to see how often they recommend changing your air filter. And in the meantime, here's a good trick to see if your air filter needs to be replaced - hold it up to the sunlight. If you cannot see light coming through it, it's time to change it. Also, most filters are light coloured - similar to your furnace filter. If it's grey or black - yep, you guessed it - time to replace.

Check your tire inflation. Keeping your tires properly inflated has a big impact on your car’s fuel efficiency. According to Transport Canada:

"[Tire] underinflation increases rolling resistance, which reduces tread life and increases fuel consumption. It can also lead to sudden tire failure. Without enough air, the sides of a tire bend and flex too much. This builds up heat, which can cause serious damage. Operating a vehicle with just one tire underinflated by 56 kPa (8 psi) can reduce the life of the tire by 15,000 km and can increase the vehicle’s fuel consumption by 4%."

Check your tire pressure every month and make sure they’re at the optimum pressure recommended by your owner’s manual.

Check your oil and your oil filter.  When to change your oil depends on a number of factors, including how hard you drive your vehicle and what kind of vehicle you drive. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended timing on oil changes – and be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Using the wrong grade can negatively affect both your engine and your fuel efficiency.

Check your battery cables. If your battery cables are corroded, that means the alternator has to work harder – and that uses more gas. Make sure that your battery cables cleaned (or replaced, if necessary) as part of your regular maintenance.

Check your gas cap. The gas cap not only keeps dirt and debris out of your fuel but it also keeps your fuel from evaporating out into the air. If the cap is broken or the seal is compromised, you could be losing up to 3.5 litres every couple of weeks. A new one is worth the investment!

Flush your fuel injectors. Since your fuel injectors' job is to shoot gas into your engine, keeping them clean has a big impact on your fuel efficiency. Clogs in your fuel injectors can not only cause poor gas mileage, but can also cause your engine to misfire, idle roughly or even cause hesitation when you step on the accelerator. You don't have to clean your fuel injectors as often as you change your oil, but you should perform a fuel injector flush every 50,000km to 90,000km to keep them free of debris and performing optimally.

Taking your vehicle in for regular maintenance is the best way to ensure that you’re getting most out of your fuel. When’s the last time you took your vehicle in for a tune-up? Did you notice a difference in your fuel consumption afterwards?

- Rose R.



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Richard Mullock

I learned from an automotive engineer in Texas who did extensive research into the use of acetone as a fuel additive. He posted it under "Smart Gas". Essentially acetone, a solvent, evaporates very quickly in the open. It's molecules are vibrating extremely fast! When added to gasoline, during the combustion process, the acetone breaks up the tiny droplets of gasoline even further, creating a more complete burn. In addition to better fuel economy and performance, there is little or no gasoline leaking down the cylinder walls or creating excess carbon in the combustion chambers. All that is needed are 3 or 4 ounces per fill-up with gas to achieve the desirable results. Adding more will not improve the process. I have used this on my '03 Honda Accord for the many years I have owned it without problem. And it performs predictably. RM

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