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Notes From The Road

How to Get Better Fuel Economy This Summer
By Mark Salem


Use the Right Motor Oil for Your Vehicle
I can’t overstate the importance of using good motor oil. To illustrate what I mean, try a little exercise. Take your hands and place them together with palms touching. Then rub the palms against each other quickly. Feel that warmth generated by friction? That’s exactly what is happening inside your engine. If you rubbed your hands together like that for an hour, you’d probably do some damage to your hands. (Which means you can stop rubbing your palms together now.) And you’d also have to work much harder to rub your hands together.

Now you know why motor oil is so important to the efficient performance of your engine. If you put motor oil between those two sliding surfaces, a lot of that friction goes away, and the engine doesn’t have to work as hard. As a result, your engine is more fuel efficient.

But not every motor oil is created equal. Some last longer than others. While certain motor oils may lose their effectiveness after a few thousand miles, others are designed to last for a very long time. ExxonMobil makes an oil, Mobil 1 Extended Performance, that actually is guaranteed to protect and perform for up to 15,000 miles.

Keep Your Vehicle Clean
Believe it or not, that layer of dirt on your exterior creates drag that, over long distances, hurts your miles-per-gallon count. Keeping your vehicle washed and waxed will improve your vehicle’s aerodynamics, improving your fuel economy. And you’ll feel good about driving around in a clean vehicle.

Consider the Best Option for Ventilation
Conventional wisdom says that cars are always more fuel-efficient when the air conditioner is off. On long trips or highway driving, however, using the air conditioner is actually more fuel efficient than rolling down the windows. When driving fast, open windows create a drag that forces the engine to work harder to maintain speed. If you’re driving on short trips or in city traffic, roll down the windows and enjoy the breeze, but on the highway, turn on the air.

Mark Salem is the host of “Under the Hood,” a car-care show on KTAR 620 AM in Phoenix. He is an ASE Certified Master Technician and the owner of Salem Boys Auto, an auto-repair facility in Phoenix.




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