Five fixes for better gas milage



Simon Husted

The price of gas in Northeast Ohio soared 12 cents this week to an average of $3.86 per gallon in the after-effects of Hurricane Isaac, but that doesn’t mean running, biking or hot-wiring a Chevy Volt are the only options to save money on commutes.

Good car maintenance can save drivers up to 40 cents per gallon, said Ty Maynard, manager of Valvoline on Main Street. Here are her top five tips.

1. Replace your air filters.

Replacing dirty air filters will stop junk from blowing into your fuel system. A car needs less gas when there is less junk stuck in it. Maynard said drivers save 30 to 40 cents per gallon in the first fill up after an air-filter replacement.

2. Clean your fuel system.

Drivers should replace their car’s fuel system after every 36,000 miles to get rid of all the sludge stuck inside the car’s injectors and chambers, Maynard said. The more sludge builds up, the more gas it takes to push the fuel through. Once a fuel system is cleaned, a driver can add two to three miles per gallon used.

3.Upgrade from conventional to premium oil.

Car owners are often asked to upgrade their oil when they get an oil change. Many brands have types that specifically improve gas mileage, and although they cost more, Maynard said premium oil adds 70 miles for every full tank.

4. Say no to AC.

Car motors have to add one more task when they power air-conditioning units, and that uses more gasoline, Maynard said. She said the fuel savings vary between different types and sizes of cars, but it’s usually significant.

5. Keep tires well inflated.

When tires get sluggish, the car’s motor needs more gas to compensate for speed. For every 100 miles driven, a car with bad tires is using an extra two or three miles of gas, she said.

Contact Simon Husted at [email protected].