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Tune Your Car to Get Better Gas Mileage

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Photo: PhotoDisc
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on July 9, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: fuel, Kate Hamman, road trip.

Before you hit the open road and encounter rising gas prices, there are a few things you can do to ensure your car gets the most out of its mileage. The simple act of taking care of your car can make a huge difference in the amount you'll spend on driving. Here are some of the top ways to save.

  • First and foremost, getting your car tuned according to your owner's manual can improve your gas mileage up to an average of 4 percent, and save nearly 16 cents per gallon.
  • Replacing a dirty air filter with a clean one may improve gas mileage performance up to 10 percent, or save up to 41 cents per gallon.
  • Inflating and aligning your tires can raise gas mileage by about 3 percent, and get 12 cents per gallon in savings. Plus, tires that are properly taken care of tend to last longer and are safer for driving. If you're unsure of what the pressure of your tires should be, consult your owner's manual.
  • Using the manufacturer's grade of motor oil will also help improve the performance of your vehicle by 1 to 2 percent, and can save up to 4 to 8 cents per gallon. Look for the words "Energy Conserving" on the American Petroleum Institute (API) performance symbol, which means it contains friction-reducing additives and improves fuel economy.

Have a great travel tip you'd like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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