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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

8 Things That Can Hurt Your Car’s Fuel Economy


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Everyone keeps a track of their vehicle’s fuel economy. Due to the excessive variations in fuel prices, fuel economy has become a serious matter for car owners. Fuel economy has even changed the buying behavior of customers. The influx of reconditioned Japanese vehicles gained momentum because of their impressive fuel economy as compared to the other vehicles. Fuel economy is not something that is ever green. There are numerous factors that can severely affect the fuel economy of your car. Let’s discuss some of them:

1. Worn out piston rings

Poor fuel economy can be caused by worn out piston rings probably if you are driving a car with high mileage. High mileage can be termed as 100,000 km for engines up to 1000cc and 170,000 km for engines above 1000cc depending on the condition of the engine. Worn out piston rings and valves results in gradual loss in engine compression which affects the fuel economy and efficiency of the engine. A simple compression test would authenticate the exact condition of your engine.


2. Choked air intake system

Clogged air filter and choked throttle body does not allow the air to pass through freely and does not let the engine breathe properly. Replacing the clogged air filter and getting your throttle body cleaned will not only improve your fuel economy but will also improve the performance of your car. You will feel improvement in the throttle response of your car.


3. Bad Oxygen Sensor

Bad oxygen sensor has one of the most detrimental effects on the fuel economy. Fuel efficiency losses of up to 40%; this occurs when the oxygen sensor is damaged or has malfunctioned. When sensor gets old, worn and does not output appropriate voltages, it affects the fuel economy. The oxygen sensor in your vehicle outputs a voltage to your car’s software based on the amount of oxygen in your exhaust. If the O2 sensor is malfunctioning, it will give bogus alerts to ECU and can cause your system to dump more fuel into your air fuel mixture thereby wasting excess petrol.


4. Spark plugs

Bad spark plugs can decrease fuel economy by 30%, according some experts. The main reason is due to the fact that it consumes more fuel as a result of the misfiring of spark plugs so it is highly recommended to replace spark plugs as to ensure better fuel economy. Moreover, Carbon in spark plugs results in lack of current which can also affect the fuel economy of an engine.


5. Bad fuel injectors

Bad fuel injectors also play a hand in affecting the fuel economy; clogged fuel injectors is one of the most common issue. The metal screen filter inside the fuel injector becomes clogged with dirt particles that are not filtered through the fuel filter, and causes the fuel injectors to flow less fuel than others. This imbalance of proper fuel flow causes the vehicle’s ECU to adjust by adding more fuel into the system and this ultimately lowers the fuel economy. Service them, or replace them if service hasn’t cleared them, to improve your fuel economy.


6. Vigorous acceleration

Vigorous acceleration or bad driving habits is another cause of falling fuel economy. Speeding up gradually saves fuel as compared to accelerating harshly. You can even keep a track of your accelerating habits by monitoring the ECO light in your car’s dashboard, provided your car is equipped with one. Automotive engineers and manufacturers claim that driving your car on ECO mode can help improve the fuel economy by up to 15% which is a considerable figure. The ECO check light is more common in Japanese vehicles.


7. Usage of inappropriate motor oil

Many people do not consider the motor oil and use inappropriate motor oil in their cars which results in decreased fuel economy. It is very important to know that all motor oils are not compatible with every type of engine. One should always consider the climate and engine mileage before selecting a motor oil for the engine. 


8. Alignment of Tires

Though it is not a highly contributing factor in decreasing fuel economy but improper alignment of tires can reduce fuel efficiency by 8-10%; while on the other hand it causes the tires to wear out rapidly. Uneven tires that are out of balance create vibration in the steering wheel and it forces the engine to decompose more fuel.


We hope this little piece will help you diagnose any fuel economy issue, if your car is suffering one. Happy motoring!

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