The price of gas in California has got people in Lancaster talking. It seems that Lancaster folks who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are hit especially hard. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve fuel economy.
First let's start with how we drive around California. People in Lancaster may not realize that they can really save on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts - you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don't drive with one foot on the brake. That's also a drag on fuel economy, and it wears out your brakes faster, too.
Another thing Lancaster drivers can do is drive more slowly - but only when it's safe. Sometimes on the freeway we drive an extra five ... ten . . . twenty ... over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave a little bit earlier, save some money and arrive more relaxed.
Lancaster drivers can also try and combine all of their errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow, you can save some time and money.
Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving in California at a constant speed really improves fuel economy. Be sure to only use your cruise control under safe conditions; you can look in your owner's manual for some good tips on using your cruise control.
Did you know that reducing the weight in your vehicle saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry a lot of stuff around Lancaster that you do not need in the vehicle. If you live in California where there is snow and ice, clear it off your vehicle; it adds weight and messes with aerodynamics too.
Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going; just take it easy for a few minutes.
Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.
Now, let's start talking mechanical. Bottom line - the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in improved fuel economy before your next oil change - and will keep saving you after that.
A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power, so drivers in Lancaster can't go wrong with that.
Some of us ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.
And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your fuel economy. Don't overlook the routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals in the owner's manual, or ask your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor for the schedule.
Don't forget your tires. Underinflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment, you won't get the fuel economy you need.
None of these things are very complicated or expensive for people in Lancaster to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today and prevent repairs tomorrow.
There are a surprising number of small, inexpensive parts that can lead to expensive engine damage when they fail. It doesn't seem right.
Fortunately a lot of those things can be taken care of in routine maintenance. They may not be easy to remember because it is a long list, but your service center at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help you know what's scheduled to be taken care of.
Some of us in Lancaster, California, really don't look forward to going in for an oil change and then getting a list of the other things the manufacturer recommends.
But automotive maintenance is all about prevention and addressing small problems before they get big. Let's take the fuel filter for example.
You may not know this but the median age for private vehicles on our Lancaster, California, roads is over nine years. When vehicles get older, five years or so, they've accumulated a lot of dirt and rust in their gas tanks. If that dirt gets into the engine it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So somewhere between that dirty gas tank and the price of a great vacation is the lowly fuel filter: a very inexpensive part that doesn't cost too much to replace. And your vehicle will just run better too.
A clogged fuel filter can't let enough fuel through. You might notice at first that your vehicle is running fine around town but struggles or sputters on the Lancaster, California, freeway or when you accelerate. Enough fuel can't get through to meet the demands of higher speed. If it gets bad enough, your engine might just shut off or not start at all, which could be dangerous.
Some fuel filters have a bypass. When they get clogged, they allow dirty fuel to move around the filter element so dirt ends up in the engine. We've already talked about how expensive that can be.
The fuel filter is even very important for newer vehicles. The fuel is still dirty even if there isn't rust in the tank. It's just that the fuel filter will need to be changed more frequently as the vehicle gets older.
How often should you change your fuel filter? Check your owner's manual. Your Lancaster, California, service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can tell you as well. It's usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) or so. Ask if it's time for a full fuel system cleaning as well. They often go hand in hand.
It's good to know that your Lancaster, California, service center has your back. When you're motivated to maintain your vehicle's performance and to reduce operating costs, you'll think of The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley as your ally - and maybe even your memory.
Most Lancaster residents have experienced a flat tire. You know it's inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn't just a big safety issue for Lancaster drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high California gas prices, we've all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to save on gas. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.
There's another danger with under-inflated tires for Lancaster residents. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don't just keep adding air every few days. You want to avoid tire damage.
Lancaster residents should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs - we have a whole team of them at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Lancaster folks can buy self-repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you're off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it's a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.
Lancaster Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules
Aug 05, 2010
Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Lancaster drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Lancaster drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Lancaster? Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero California temps? Are most of your trips off-highway in California? Do you drive often in dusty Lancaster areas? Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Lancaster? Do you drive in very hot or very cold California weather?
Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Lancaster on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Lancaster surface streets?
Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Lancaster weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you're closer to.
Why should Lancaster residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Lancaster or winter driving means that the engine doesn't heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn't let the oil protect it adequately. That's why California residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.
Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in California summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.