ASE Certified mechanic Michael Sanford knows all about the issues drivers face.  Today our Columbia, SC Auto Repair Pro is saving you cash by helping you improve your gas mileage.

Check your Air Filter

If your air filter is filled with debris it restricts the air flow into your engine.  This affects the automobile’s performance and your fuel economy.  Some air filters are able to be cleaned when they get dirty, but there are others made of a paper that will just need to be replaced.  While filters that can be cleaned are considered a more environmentally friendly, many vehicles are still using the basic paper filters.

Mechanic Tip: A quick and easy way to check your air filter is to remove it and hold it up to the light.  If it is dirty enough that you do not see through it easily, it is time to clean or replace your air filter.

Keep your Car Clean

It may seem simple, even too simple, but it is true.  A car that is not loaded down with extra stuff you don’t really need really does get better gas mileage.  For some of you, this is not a problem.  For others, cleaning out the car, truck, backseat or trunk is just a job that it’s hard to find time to do.  It doesn’t take much of a build up to end up lugging around anywhere from 50 additional pounds or more.  The more weight that an automobile is carrying around, the more fuel it will have to burn.

Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

Believe it or not, tires that are under-inflated are one of the most common origins of bad gas mileage.  If you are driving on tires that are not properly inflated, you have more rolling resistance.  This means that in order to keep your car or truck moving, you will have to burn more fuel.  Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month.  Not sure what your tires should be inflated to?  Check your auto owner’s manual or take a quick look at the plate on the inside of your driver’s side door.

Mechanic Tip:  Check your tires when they are cold.  When you are driving it heats the tires and the air in them.  The heated air causes increased pressure and can give you a higher tire pressure reading than it actually is.

Consider your Wheel Choice

Replacing your stock tires with new wheels and tires may look great and can really improve your vehicle’s handling, but they may also be one of the causes of poor fuel economy.  Using tires that are wider than the originals create more rolling resistance.  Again, more rolling resistance will cause decreased gas mileage.  If you do decide to go with a wider, showier tire, be sure you keep the stock wheels handy.  If you need to take a longer road trip, I recommend putting your narrower-tread stock wheels back on for a smoother ride and a better choice for increased fuel economy.

Slow Down on the Road

If you are one of those drivers that think the posted speed limit is really more of a suggested speed, you’re probably hurting your fuel economy.  The faster you are going, the more your fuel economy will decrease.  Just slowing down to the posted speed limit will help improve your gas mileage.

As an auto repair professional, I know how much it takes to keep a car running at its best.  Poor gas mileage is a complaint that many drivers have.  Following the five tips above will increase your fuel economy and save you money on gas.

For auto repair tutorials, more mechanic tips, and auto information of use to drivers everywhere, the Columbia SC Auto Repair Pro Blog is available 24/7.  To schedule an auto repair in Columbia, SC call 803-735-7902Sanford’s Automotive Service has been proudly serving the greater Columbia area since 1989.  Sanford’s offers experience you can trust.