7 fuel saving tips for your next road trip

By maintaining our vehicles with top-of-the-line products and minding our driving habits, we ensure our car performs at its best — and that applies to fuel efficiency as well.

A road trip across the country or a scenic drive down the coast are staples for anyone who enjoys the open road. What you don’t want is to have to worry about gas prices while planning your next excursion.

By maintaining our vehicles with top-of-the-line products and minding our driving habits, we ensure our car performs at its best — and that applies to fuel efficiency as well. Strike out with confidence knowing that by following these tips, you’ll ensure you get the maximum mileage out of your ride.

Empty out the trunk

Something as simple as emptying your trunk can contribute to fuel savings. This might be tough if you’re transporting hiking equipment or other outdoor supplies, but you can start by removing winter gear like salt and tire chains. Objects like bike and luggage racks will also create drag and lower your fuel economy, so store them away after excursions instead of leaving them on your vehicle.

Put air in your tires

air

Cyclists know the pain of trying to ride a bike with half-flat tires. When your tires aren’t fully inflated, it takes more effort to move forward. The same principle applies to your car. According to the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every drop of 1 PSI in the average pressure, so fill up next time you’re at the gas station.

Choose the right motor oil

Using the right motor oil in your car will help improve its performance as well as help to improve its fuel economy, helping you save on both maintenance and gas. Oils like Mobil 1™ Advanced Fuel Economy help reduce fuel consumption by decreasing engine friction. The oil flows faster, minimizing metal-to-metal contact, reducing wear and keeping your engine running like new.

Use cruise control

fuel saving

By Mark Doliner via Flickr CC

If you’re road tripping across the prairies anytime soon, switch on cruise control during the long stretches of highway. Cruise control prevents the driver from surging and braking to maintain speed; instead, the car makes the adjustments itself and can do so more accurately, reducing fuel consumption.

Consider all AC options

Whether or not to turn on the AC is a hot topic when it comes to fuel-efficiency. The consensus seems to suggest that you should refrain from using AC when driving in the city, as it uses engine power to run. However, during road trips and highway driving, you’ll want to switch the fan back on. This is because open windows create a drag effect, forcing the engine to work harder to maintain speed.

Regularly replace mechanical components

fuel

By Aidan via Flickr CC

Taking your car in for regular maintenance improves its performance overall, and caring for certain parts will affect your fuel efficiency. Replace spark plugs and oxygen sensors regularly, clean mass airflow sensors and air and fuel filters, and fix any bad wheel bearings or dragging brake calipers. Paying attention to these components is just good car sense, and both your vehicle and wallet will thank you.

Align your front-end

Your car’s alignment might not be the first thing you consider when thinking about saving fuel, but on those long road trips, every little alteration counts. If you’re having to readjust your steering often, you won’t get the most from your gas tank. Adjust the caster, camber (if your car has one that’s adjustable) and toe so that the wheels are pointed slightly inwards or outwards, but not so much that they fight against each other.

Several of these tips can be implemented with the push of a button, making it easy for you to save on fuel during your next road trip. These tips have the added bonus of helping you maintain the general state of your car, ensuring it performs its best for seasons to come. Now all that’s left to do is grab your keys, your sunglasses and your favourite road tripping playlist. The open road awaits.

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