Winter Kills Your Fuel Economy – Here’s How to Improve It

(NC) Winter can be hard on our cars (as well as our wallets), as the cold weather forces vehicles to work overtime and increase fuel consumption. With this in mind, the auto experts at OK Tire share their top tips to help you save at the pumps this season.

  1. Inflate your tires. Underinflated tires can cause a 4 to 8 per cent increase in your fuel consumption — and 70 per cent of vehicles on the road have one or more underinflated tires. To ensure your tires are the proper pressure, use a gauge every two weeks to check they are inflated to the recommended PSI. If you’re unsure of what your pressure should be, consult your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications which can be found in the owner’s manual, gas-tank flap or the driver’s side door.
  2. Preventative maintenance is essential. Get an oil change. The harmful by-products your engine creates can get trapped in your vehicle’s oil and hamper the engine’s ability to lubricate and cool all its moving parts — preventing it from running as efficiently as it needs to. At least once a year, remember to replace the air filter as a dirty one restricts the flow of air into your engine, causing your vehicle’s fuel economy to drop by more than 15 per cent.
  3. Change to winter tires. Winter tires are designed for winter conditions. Their tread has improved traction to combat wet, snowy and icy surfaces and their rubber compound stays soft in colder temperatures. Make sure to always check the alignment of your wheels to limit the amount of wear and tear on your tires — proper alignment aids in the vehicle’s stability, permitting the engine to work more efficiently.
  4. Avoid aggressive driving. Hard breaking and quick accelerations affect fuel efficiency. Drive steadily and, if possible, decelerate and coast in heavy traffic scenarios rather than fully bringing your car to a stop.
  5. Stop unnecessarily idling. Many believe it’s necessary to “warm up” their vehicles by getting their engine going before they start driving. However, most cars only need about 30 seconds. Driving slowly also permits the car to warm up, and rather than getting zero mileage with added fuel loss, you’re moving in your desired direction.

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