My Fuel Economy Isn’t Economic Anymore – What’s Happening?

Many of us have weekly routines that include driving the same routes day in and day out, which includes a stop or two every week at the gas station to fill up. Then, one day you notice you have to fill up more often, yet you haven’t really changed your routine. So where did your fuel economy go?

From clothing and shoes to homes and cars, this fact holds true: if you can see it, feel it, and/or touch it, it’s bound to wear out and need some type of maintenance, repair, or replacement. This is especially true for our vehicles, including your gasoline consumption. There are several factors that can cause your fuel economy to decline. Some are easy fixes and some require a bit more labor.

Here’s a list of issues to check if you have noticed a decline in your fuel economy:

Sensors: Usually the oxygen sensor that monitors your exhaust emissions will last the life of your car. However, if it malfunctions, it could cause your engine to pump more gas through your car’s system than necessary. Other sensors can malfunction as well, including the ones that monitor your transmission, ignition, fuel delivery, and more. If your Check Engine light is on, a malfunctioning sensor could be the culprit. It’s best to have that checked out to be sure it isn’t something more serious.

Filters: Air filters keep out pollen, dust, and other debris that could do damage if allowed to enter your car’s fuel system. If your air filter is clogged, it will begin restricting the airflow to your engine, which will smother your engine and cause it to pull more gas than usual to operate at a normal level.

Tires: Just a pound or two of air pressure can make a big difference in your tire’s resistance against the pavement. Underinflated tires can cause problems with more than just your fuel economy, so it’s a good idea to check the air pressure in your tires at least once a month. Be sure to use a good tire gage and check them “cold” before driving and getting them heated up.

Changes: Did you change the type of oil you use in your car? Has the weather changed? Are you idling or using your air conditioner more?  Is a more aggressive driver behind the wheel with quicker accelerations, and revving the engine more often? All of these changes can contribute to your vehicle running less efficiently.

If you are concerned about your car’s fuel economy, come in to your closest Kwik Kar Service Center. Our professional technicians can run some diagnostics on your car and do a maintenance review to help identify the problem. Once they get you fixed up and out on the road again, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your fuel economy is as efficient as ever.

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