The Most Common Causes of Low Fuel Efficiency

The Most Common Causes of Low Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency refers to a vehicle’s ability to gather energy from fuel. The more fuel efficient your vehicle is, the more miles per gallon (MPGs) you’ll get out of your tank, and the less often you’ll have to visit the pump. If you find that you have to fuel up more than you used to, poor efficiency is the most likely culprit. However, there are many reasons why this can occur. To help you get to the bottom of why your vehicle has suddenly turned into a gas guzzler, let’s review some of the most common causes of low fuel efficiency.

Your Engine Isn’t Getting Enough Clean Air

The faster and more efficient your engine’s combustion process is, the higher the overall fuel efficiency. Conversely, if your engine cannot properly conduct the combustion process or the combustion process is slow, your fuel efficiency will drop. It may sound strange, but your engine needs to breathe to properly conduct the combustion process. If you notice a drop in mileage, check your air filter first. Not only is this one of the most common causes of low fuel efficiency, but it’s also the easiest and cheapest to fix.

Your Ignition System Is Faulty

Your ignition system consists of spark plugs, coils, and wand wires that ignore the mixture of air and fuel inside your engine. If your ignition system isn’t functioning properly, it can result in incomplete or inconsistent combustion. This is a misfire, and it leads to unburned fuel, which is a major waste of gas. Typically, the components that tend to fail most often in the ignition system are the spark plugs, which are, fortunately, easy and cheap to fix.

You’re Using the Wrong Oil

Using the right engine oil is critical. A lot of things can go wrong when you use engine oil that’s too thick or too thin. If your engine oil is too thick, it can and will result in a serious drop in fuel efficiency. The thicker the engine oil, the more resistance there is between the moving parts of your engine. The more resistance between the components, the more energy your engine needs to move, which results in it burning more fuel.

Your Tire Pressure Is Low

Rolling resistance essentially refers to how much energy your vehicle must send to your tires to move and overcome the natural resistance a rolling body will face. If your tire pressure is too low, the tire itself will become soft and saggy, resulting in high resistance. To overcome this resistance, your vehicle needs more energy and burns more fuel.

Typically, modern cars will tell you when your tire pressure is too low, but not until it’s well below where it should be. To keep track of your tire pressure, check it with a tire pressure gauge around once a month.

Most causes of poor fuel efficiency are relatively simple to fix. So if you’re spending too much on gas, don’t hesitate to speak with your mechanic. The faster you pinpoint the problem and get it fixed, the more money you’ll save in the long run.

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