Two Simple Ways to Improve Gas Mileage in the Winter

By: Scott Siegel

Along with cold weather and snow, winter brings it's own particular challenges to maintaining and improving gas mileage. There are a few specific things you need to do in the winter to maintain good fuel economy.

Make sure your oil is the proper grade for winter. As temperatures drop it causes the oil in your car to become thicker. If it gets too thick it will not be able to properly lubricate your engine. Not only will an engine that isn't properly lubricated use more gas but it can also sustain considerable damage. It could even cause damage to the point where the engine would need to be replaced.

Check your owners manual to determine the proper grade of oil for the winter. Generally cold temperatures require a thinner oil then you would use during warm weather. If you are using a multi-grade oil it might work just fine in the winter. Again, check your manual or ask your car dealer what the proper grade for your car is.

A second problem that cold weather brings is a change in your tire pressure. In cold weather the tire pressure drops. If your tires were at the proper pressure at 70 degrees, those same tires will be 5 to 10 pounds too low at 20 degrees and will be 7 to 14 pounds too low at zero degrees.

The most common gas robbing condition drivers face is low tire pressure. It is estimated that at least 25 per cent of all cars on the road have at least one tire that is too low. At 5 to 10 pounds under inflated you will be decreasing your miles per gallon by 2 to 4 percent.

Every 10-degree drop in ambient temperature results in a one to two pound reduction in tire pressure. If you set your pressures in November, they'll be too low in February.

To correct and prevent the problem of low tire pressure you need to check the tire pressure on a regular basis. Check them every month at a minimum. Also check them when there is a significant fall in temperatures.

These are just two of the gas robbing situations that winter causes. You can prevent the loss of fuel economy and in fact improve gas mileage by being aware of these conditions and take steps to avoid them.

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