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Saving Gasoline

This DIY Basic will provide tips on saving gasoline.

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Watch an Overview Video

Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

motor oil
high-quality oil filter
socket wrench
oil filter wrench
oil pan or bucket
fuel injector cleaner
spark plugs
spark plug gapper

Check Tire Pressure

Start by checking tire pressure. US Department of Energy says properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage up to 3 percent.

Use good-quality tire pressure gauge.

Check sticker on driver's doorjamb for recommended pressure. Don't go by tire sidewall specs; they are maximum pressure from manufacturer.

Change Oil and Filter

For maximum engine life, change oil and filter every three months or 3,000 miles — or as directed in owner's manual. DOE says using proper grade of motor oil can increase fuel efficiency by 1 to 2 percent.

Cover area with old newspapers, and let engine run for a couple of minutes to warm it.

Place oil pan under drain plug.

With socket wrench, remove plug by turning counterclockwise.

When oil slows to drip, reinstall plug and tighten with quarter turn of wrench.

Remove cap and pour oil through funnel into oil fill location.

Replace cap and wipe away spilled oil. Run engine for one minute to circulate oil, then check dipstick for correct oil level.

Replace Spark Plugs

Properly tuned engine can increase fuel efficiency by an average of 4 percent, according to DOE.

Remove old spark plugs. If plug has heavy deposits, is black, or has damaged core nose, replace it.

Gap new plug according to specs in owner's manual.

Hand-tighten new plug in place, then tighten with socket wrench.

Check and replace ignition wires.

Check fuel filter and replace, if necessary.

Tip: Have professional check oxygen sensors.

Drive More Efficiently

On average, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 MPH. According to US Department of Energy, every 5 MPH you drive over 60 is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon of gas. Cruise control helps maintain constant speed and, in most cases, saves gas. When you use overdrive, your engine speed goes down, which saves gas and reduces engine wear.

Tip: An extra 100 pounds of weight in vehicle can reduce MPG by up to 2 percent.

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