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Car-care tips that save fuel

Car-care tips that save fuel


Fill up with a lower-octane fuel


Buy the lowest grade or octane of fuel that is appropriate for your car. Unless your car requires premium fuel, filling up your car with high-octane fuel is a waste of money. That pricey premium fuel may not boost your car's fuel economy or performance, so skip it.


If you're not sure what grade of fuel works best for your car, open up your owner's manual and take a look. As long as your engine doesn't knock or ping when you fuel up with regular unleaded, you're good to drive on this much cheaper fuel. Passing on pricey premium fuel could save you hundreds of dollars a year.


Don't overfill


Don't bother filling to the top when filling your car's fuel tank. Any additional fuel is just going to slop around or seep out. Why waste your money paying for fuel your car won't use? Stop pumping at the first indication that your tank is full when the automatic nozzle clicks off.


Tighten up that filler cap


Fuel will evaporate from your car's tank if it has an escape. Loose, missing or damaged fuel caps should be replaced


Go for the shade


The hot summer sun that makes the inside of your car feel like a sauna also zaps fuel from your tank. If you let your car bake in the sun there's going to be a greater amount of evaporative emissions that take place as the fuel expands than if you park in the shade.


So park your car in the shade of a building or tree whenever possible. And buy a good windscreen shade. A windscreen shade blocks sunlight and helps to keep heat out of the inside of your car.


Use your garage for your car


Got a garage? Clear it out and make room for your car. Parking in your garage will help your car stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and you won't have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defroster when you drive.


Pump up your tires


Don't get caught driving on underinflated tires. Underinflated tires wear down more quickly and they also lower your car's mileage. Tires that are underinflated create more resistance so the engine is going to work harder to keep the car moving.


Your car's gas mileage may plummet by as much as 15 percent. Driving on underinflated tires may also reduce the life of your tires by 15 percent or more.


Check your tire pressure once a month. Buy a digital gauge and keep it in your glove box. Compare the pressure in your tires with the recommended pressure listed in your owner's manual and on the placard in your car door. Then inflate your tires as needed. Be sure to check tire pressure when your tires are cold. A good time is early in the morning after your car's been idle overnight.


Keep your engine in tune 


Fixing a car that is out of tune can boost gas mileage by about 4 percent. So be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. You'll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a car's fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.


Replace air filters


Keep a close eye on your engine's air filter. When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient. Replacing a clogged air filter could improve your mileage by as much as 10 percent and save you about 15 cents per litre. It's a good idea to have your engine air filter checked at each oil change.


Use the right oil


You can improve your car's gas mileage by 1 percent to 2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Opt for motor oil with the words "energy conserving" on the label. This oil contains friction-reducing additives.


Don't skimp on maintenance. Be serious about auto care. Your car's performance depends on it.


"Always follow the manufacturer-recommended maintenance,"  "The car's designed to run a certain way. If you neglect it, it won't be as efficient."


Obey the car-care guidelines outlined in your owner's manual.