Why not capitalize on gas savings? There are some big misconceptions about cars these days. One of the most prevalent is that, since newer cars are made to need less maintenance than older models, they don’t need regular maintenance at all. This could not be further from the truth!

Today’s cars certainly require less upkeep than their predecessors, but regular maintenance is still an essential part of keeping your car in good working order. Failing to keep up with the regular maintenance on your car can actually lead to some pretty big problems, including poor fuel efficiency.

A red toy car drives on top of American dollar bills

Regular Maintenance Task #1 – Tune-Ups

Engines are finely-tuned pieces of equipment; when they’re improperly tuned, it can result in poor fuel efficiency. Refer to your Owner’s Manual to find out how often your car’s engine needs to be tuned up. Sensors and other worn parts may be replaced during a tune-up.

One of the most important sensors on your engine is an oxygen sensor. It helps your car burn fuel more efficiently by measuring the amount of fuel left in the exhaust, then providing information to the computer about whether the mixture is too rich (too much gas), or too lean (not enough gas). Oxygen sensors should typically be replaced every 24,000 miles, or 24 months, whichever comes first. A defective oxygen sensor can reduce gas mileage by as much as 40%.

Regular Maintenance Task #2 – Check Tire Pressure

This maintenance task is so easy that it should be performed every time you get gas. Air pressure gauges are available at most auto parts stores and can range from a few dollars, to upwards of $10 for a digital pressure gauge. Find the optimal PSI (pounds per square inch) for your tires by checking for a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb of your vehicle. Proper tire pressure may also be found on your tire manufacturer’s website, or you can contact a local mechanic for assistance.

Maintaining proper tire pressure can save a lot of gas; for every single pound per square inch your tires are underinflated, you are losing nearly half a percent off your fuel efficiency. Being 4 PSI under means your gas mileage is decreased by nearly 2%.

Regular Maintenance Task #3 – Check and Replace Air Filter

Air filters should be replaced about every 12,000 miles, or 12 months, whichever comes sooner. This is an easy do-it-yourself maintenance task, but you can also leave it to a mechanic if you take your car in for yearly maintenance. If you decide to take care of this task yourself, you can consult your Owner’s Manual for instructions on how to replace your air filter.

Regular Maintenance Task #4 – Keep Your Car Cleaned Out

This maintenance task doesn’t require you to do anything except make sure you’re not carrying a lot of unneeded weight in your vehicle. Don’t let newspapers, magazines, cans, and fast food wrappers build up in your car; these items add extra weight to your car and decrease its fuel efficiency. It’s especially important to mind what’s in your trunk; heavy bags from a trip, unnecessary tools, or other items should be removed as promptly as possible.

Better Gas Mileage Means More Money in Your Pocket

Keeping up with the regular maintenance required by your vehicle means you’ll be getting the best gas mileage, putting more money in your pocket. However, these simple maintenance tasks are often overlooked by drivers. If you’re not sure how to best maintain your car, it’s a good idea to consult us your local mechanic. It’s the best thing for your car, and your wallet.