Longview Auto & Tire

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Why Has My Fuel Economy Dropped?

You’ve noticed that your vehicle has been getting worse gas mileage than it usually does. What happened? Why has you fuel economy suddenly dropped?

Like most vehicle issues, there can be a couple different things contributing to the root cause of this problem. We’ll start with the simple fixes, and work our way up to more complicated ones.

TIRES

This one’s a simple fix, and hopefully the root of your problem. Under-inflated tires cause more rolling resistance on a vehicle the same way they would if you tried to ride a bike with low air pressure in the tires. Just as it would require more energy to pedal a bike with flat tires, it requires more fuel to drive a car with low tire pressure. Check your tire pressure at least once a month while your tires are cold, using a high quality tire gauge. If the tires are even a pound or two off on air pressure, this can be enough to cause you problems.

AIR FILTER

Your vehicle’s air filter is made of pleated paper or fabric which stops pollen, dust, and other particles from entering the fuel system where they could really do some damage. A clogged air filter restricts air flow and can literally smother your engine. A simple test you can run is to take out your air filter and hold it up to a bright light. If no light can pass through the filter, you’re definitely due for a change!

CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

Your vehicle’s engine relies on many sensors that send information to the drivetrain computer to monitor fuel delivery, transmission shift points, ignition timing, emission controls and other functions. If a sensor is sending readings to the drivetrain computer that are less than ideal, a trouble code will be registered in the computer and your Check Engine light on the dashboard will light up. If your check engine light is on, have a technician use a code reader or scanner device to read the codes and determine what exactly the problem is.

OXYGEN SENSOR

Your engine uses an O2 sensor in the exhaust stream to monitor the content of the exhaust gases. Your O2 sensor(s) will usually last the life of your vehicle, but it is possible for them to fail. If an O2 sensor fails it can lead to a rich-running condition and cause your engine to put excessive amounts of fuel into the system.

The first two problems can usually be fixed at home. If your check engine light is on or you just don’t have the time to fix it yourself, give our trusted technicians a call, or stop by our shop. We’ll have your car back in shape and running like a dream in no time at all!

Categories:

Car Maintenance