Based on statistics, poor vehicle maintenance is one of the leading causes of bad fuel and/or oil consumption. A poorly maintained automobile is inclined to consume up to twice the amount of oil and/or fuel compared to a well-maintained car. This is one of the primary reasons why in my posts I keep on stressing the importance of keeping your auto in tiptop shape at all times.
While we’re all inclined to make excuses as to having little or no time or money to regularly conduct tune-ups and vehicle (exterior, interior and under-the-hood) checks, let me remind you that spending the time and yes, the money, to check on your vehicle once in a while should spare you the costlier expenses of needing to have your auto repaired constantly mainly because you failed to maintain it properly.
I actually had to learn the importance of vehicle maintenance the hard way. My first car exhibited signs of poor fuel consumption which I failed to check on for weeks. I found out later that the main cause was fuel tank leakage, which eventually caused bigger problems, denting my bank account quite well. If I had checked and addressed the problem sooner, then I could have spared myself from the hassle of having to spend a hundred dollars more than I should have. A simple fuel tank replacement should have saved me more gas, which is why I advise you to start checking your auto the moment you notice its gas-guzzling or oil-draining habits.
If your vehicle has been using up more gas or oil than it normally does, it’s time for you to ask yourself the following questions:
When was your last auto tune-up? In my previous posts, I’ve stressed the importance of auto tune-ups to the point of redundancy. But as I said, a tune-up could let you determine auto problems from the onset of its early symptoms, preventing the problem from getting bigger. While it may not solve all your auto problems, it does give you an idea on what you should focus on when it comes to home auto-repairs.
How much load is your vehicle carrying? If you’ve been hauling around extra baggage, even if it’s just around 100 to 200 pounds more than you usually do, then this could be the cause of your auto’s poor fuel economy. Remember, the heavier your auto, the more gas your vehicle consumes. This is the reason why trucks, SUVs, vans and APVs use up more gas compared to compact car models.
When was the last time you had an oil change? If you haven’t changed your car’s oil for a long time, then this could be the root of your auto’s oil and fuel issues.
Are your tires worn? Balding tires, poor wheel alignment and uneven treading forces your auto to use up more gas. Have those wheels realigned or replace your worn tires as soon as possible to fix your fuel woes.
How’s your vehicle’s overall performance? Is your auto hopping more than it cruises? If your answer is yes, then it means your vehicle needs auto maintenance ASAP. Keep your vehicle in prime condition to increase its efficiency.
Last question: do you tend to leave your car idling for long periods of time? Most mechanics would agree that leaving your car idling for even just a minute uses up as much gas as when you start your vehicle. If you’ve been encountering heavier traffic, then your vehicle might be forced to use up more gas.
If you find that the reason behind your poor fuel or oil consumption is a lax in auto maintenance, then your best recourse is to spend your weekend performing a thorough tune-up, inspection, radiator flush (if it’s that time of the year), coolant replacement and oil change.
Should the problem be rooted in misaligned wheels or worn tires then do make an appointment with a nearby garage to have your tires replaced, rotated or realigned.
If none of these remedies work, then you might want to try getting gas from another gas station from another area. If for example, you’ve been filling your tank from a station found in a flood plain, then go to another gas station that isn’t within that location.
Be sure to keep track of your mileage and fill-ups. It’s also possible that your estimated average mileage doesn’t correspond with your trips to the gas station, meaning the root of your problems could simply be imperfect calculations. I highly suggest you keep track of your mileage and gas fill-ups the old-school way: pen and notebook.
And lastly, if the change in your oil and/or fuel consumption is pretty drastic, then you need to check for leaks as soon as you can.