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Does your car seem to be consuming more fuel than usual? There are many reasons for high fuel consumption in a vehicle, and sometimes it’s just normal.
Well, what do you mean? How can that be normal? If you have had a tune up since you owned the vehicle then maybe you should start there. Because it’s normal to need a tune up every 15k miles, and the first symptom is higher fuel consumption.
Replace the Spark Plugs
Believe it or not, the most common reason for unusually high fuel consumption is bad spark plugs. They get old, and they don’t work properly after a while. This is normal.
If it’s been at least 10k miles since you last had a tune up and your car is using more gas – get a tune up now. Don’t go for those cheap spark plugs, this is a part worth spending a little more on.
Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel/air mixture and giving your car power.
A typical tune up will involve replacing spark plugs, spark plug wires, coils and any other parts that ignite the fuel and air mixture.
However, on newer vehicles, you can simply replace the spark plugs for an immediate benefit if all the other parts are in good shape.
Older vehicles will require you to replace the distributor cap and rotor, so a tune up is not the same for every car.
Recommended Spark Plugs: NGK spark plugs
Replace the Engine Air Filter
Replacing the engine air filter will have a dramatic impact on performance, and enable your car to breathe better. There are some air filters you can clean, but on most vehicles its better to replace it with a new one.
Many times, vehicle owners will make the mistake of cleaning an air filter in an attempt to cut down on maintenance costs. Well, that doesn’t always work out how you think it would. Blowing out the debris on a dirty engine air filter will usually cause micro-tears in the material and enable even more junk to get in your engine.
Air filters are inexpensive, and worth replacing after every couple oil changes. Keep an eye on yours to see how dirty it’s getting and replace on an as-needed basis.
Recommended Engine Air Filters: Wix Air Filters
Bad Sensors will Cause High Fuel Consumption
Bad oxygen sensors are known for affecting a vehicle’s performance, and if you don’t replace them it can lead to high fuel consumption issues.
The MAF sensor can also lead to higher fuel consumption. We like to use Gunk Mass Air Flow Sensor cleaner, or CRC Mass Air Flow Sensor cleaner. Both are designed to clean the sensitive sensor without damaging it. Yes, these sensors are sensitive and cleaning them the wrong way will ruin them.
If the MAF sensor isn’t working properly, it will make the car run rich. This is a common cause of high fuel consumption and is relatively inexpensive to fix if you clean it. You will find the MAF sensor on the intake line coming from your air filter housing.
Recommended MAF Sensor Cleaners:
Being Late for an Oil Change
Getting to your oil change too late can cause issues with fuel consumption and your car not running as good as it could be.
Change your motor oil and use a good synthetic oil if you really care about fuel consumption.
Your Driving Habits Can Cause High Fuel Consumption
This is the most obvious answer, as everyone knows or at least hears about bad driving habits making your car use more gas. It’s true. Aggressive drivers will always use more fuel, as they’re always accelerating as quickly as they can.
Revving your engine to show off, idling a lot while you wait in a parking lot, etc. The way your vehicle is used will have a big impact on the amount of fuel that gets used. In the long run, it will have an impact on maintenance costs for your vehicle.
If all the mechanical aspects have been taken care of and your vehicle is in great shape, then consider changing your driving habits if you really want to get the most out of your tank of gas.
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