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
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.