If you're like most people and drive a gasoline-powered vehicle, you need to be up to speed on its fuel-related components. They're pretty basic: the fuel, the fuel filter and the fuel pump.
The fuel's the easy part. You probably gas up your vehicle yourself and, if you're like most drivers, price is a big factor in what you put in your vehicle. Maybe you think it doesn't matter what kind of gasoline you buy, but one major automobile association has found it does make a big difference.
Their study showed that the additives that are put in different brands can affect your vehicle's performance. Certain gasoline retailers sell gasoline that meets performance standards called Top Tier. The detergents used in Top Tier gasoline help protect newer engines from carbon buildup and deposits on intake valves, all things that can affect how smoothly your engine runs, how it accelerates and what kind of fuel economy you get. You can check online or ask your service advisor where to buy Top Tier gasoline.
Another fairly simple component is the fuel filter. Depending on the age of your vehicle, you either have a separate fuel filter or one that's part of the fuel pump. The fuel filter keeps the crud out of your engine's fuel injectors. You'll get a hint that your fuel filter might be clogged if you notice your vehicle won't start, your power isn't what it used to be, your fuel economy is suffering or your Check Engine light is on.
Check with your service advisor to see what your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations are on how often to service your fuel filter. Regular maintenance can prevent expensive repairs in the future.
Finally, the most complicated part: the fuel pump. As you may have guessed, it is the part that gets the gasoline out of the tank and into the engine. If the fuel pump starts to fail, it can make a clicking or whining noise when your vehicle is running. Your engine may misfire, lose power while driving or might be hard to start in the morning. And that Check Engine light might go on. One thing that helps prolong the life of a fuel pump is keeping your gas tank at least a quarter-tank full at all times. It helps lubricate and cool the pump. If you've detected some of the symptoms of fuel pump failure, tell your service advisor.
Knowing a little about your fuel system really can be a gas!
With the weather getting colder, you might be tempted to start your vehicle up, let it idle for 15 or 20 minutes and then get in the nice, cozy cabin. Some vehicles offer remote starting that let you do that from the comfort of your home or apartment. But is letting your vehicle idle like that good for it?
Manufacturers say it doesn't harm the vehicle. They say it's because modern vehicles are made differently from those in the past. Just about all newer vehicles employ fuel injection which uses computers to adjust the amount of gasoline that goes into the cylinders. The engine gets only the fuel it needs, taking conditions into account.
Older vehicles, on the other hand, used to use carburetors. When you started a cold engine, the carburetor wasn't able to adjust the gasoline amount depending on conditions. Some of the gasoline would mix with oil and the pistons wouldn't get the same lubrication as they would with undiluted oil.
So yes, you can warm up your newer vehicle for your own personal comfort. But consider how much fuel you are wasting. That is not only throwing away money, it's a waste of natural resources. And it puts more carbon into the atmosphere.
Automakers have to be mindful of what fuel economy their vehicles can achieve. So the flip side of the remote starts they offer is a "stop-start" feature. When you stop your vehicle, even at a stoplight, your vehicle will turn the engine off. When you take your foot off the brake and step on the accelerator, it starts up right away. That feature can save as much as 10 percent of the fuel your vehicle uses.
Your vehicle may not have that start-stop feature, but you can still save fuel by shutting off your engine manually if you are waiting somewhere, like a parking lot or perhaps sitting outside your child's school waiting to pick him or her up. It saves you money and contributes to a healthier atmosphere for our planet.
Have you ever thought about all the little things we do to keep our lives running smoothly - like vacuuming? It makes a room feel fresher and more comfortable. We may not consider that we're also prolonging the life of the carpet by keeping it clean. But Urbana drivers don't always extend those good habits into the garage. Our vehicles need regular maintenance just like our rugs need vacuuming. We may not notice a difference in the feel or appearance of the vehicle, but just as cleaning a carpet carries the hidden reward of prolonging its life, maintaining our vehicles incurs a hidden reward that becomes noticeable at Urbana gas stations.
When it comes to reduced fuel economy, there are two culprits: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion. That means that anything Urbana drivers can do to decrease friction and increase the efficiency of their engines will translate to savings on fuel. Friction increases the amount of energy it takes to move something. So if we can reduce friction, we can decrease the amount of fuel it takes to run our vehicles. Engine oil is usually at the heart of friction problems in an engine. Too little oil means parts are not getting lubricated, which increases friction; dirty oil doesn't lubricate as well as clean oil. So one secret to good fuel efficiency is to stay on top of oil changes. Don't skip them and don't procrastinate. The same auto advice applies to transmission fluid. Keep it full and keep it clean, and your vehicle will run with less friction and better fuel economy.
If your tires are underinflated, it increases the friction between the tire and the road. Again, there is increased drag, and it takes more fuel to move your vehicle. Urbana drivers should check their tire pressure every month and keep their tires properly inflated.
Alignment and brake problems can also increase friction. Besides saving fuel, keeping these systems in good repair has the added benefit of saving you on tires and brake pads. These items wear out more quickly when the alignment is off or when the brake system isn't in good working order. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at PDR.
The second culprit that stealthily steals our gas is inefficient fuel combustion. It depends on the engine getting the right amount of clean fuel to the right place with the right pressure at the right time in the right pattern. The key to peak engine performance is to keep the fuel system clean. Varnish and gum can build up in a fuel system, which will interfere with the fuel injectors. The fuel injectors are responsible for all those “rights” we spoke of. If they're dirty, amounts, timing, pressure and spray patterns can all get out of whack. The result? Reduced fuel efficiency. A fuel system cleaning at PDR in Urbana can get your injectors back on track, improving performance and efficiency.
There are a few other maintenance items that can improve your fuel economy. One is to replace your PCV valve when it gets sticky. This valve allows unburned fuel in your engine exhaust to return to the engine. Urbana drivers can also replace worn spark plugs and dirty fuel filters. A well-maintained vehicle will require fewer repairs and save at Urbana gas pumps.
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
Whether we're trying to save money, save gas or save the environment, most of us Urbana drivers have an interest in decreasing fuel consumption. We've all heard about ways to save money on gas in Illinois, but does it really add up to much? How much can we boost our fuel economy through preventive maintenance and more courteous driving?
The US government has a website that actually answers that question. Let's look at some of the data and find out if any of these fuel-saving ideas are really worth the effort. We've all heard that a tune-up can improve gas mileage. It turns out that it can save us 4% at the pump. At $3.50 a gallon, that's 14¢ per gallon in savings, and at $4.00 a gallon, that's a 16¢ per gallon savings.
Other common repair items can also save you at the pump. For example, if your oxygen sensor is faulty, it's not delivering the information to your engine's computer that allows it to calculate the right fuel-to-air ratio. The result? The fuel doesn't burn efficiently. Replacing that faulty sensor can save you 40% at the pump. That's certainly a reason to improve your car care and have the automotive professionals at PDR inspect things once in a while.
A faulty oxygen sensor will activate the check engine light. So will a lot of other problems that are big fuel wasters. Finding out why your light is on and fixing the problem will also improve your fuel economy. Bring your car into PDR in Urbana and we will take care of it for you.
What about tires? Urbana drivers have all heard that keeping them inflated will improve our gas mileage. True? Yep. It's a 3% savings for that one. And even small drops in tire pressure can start to add up, so a weekly tire check is in order.
Using the correct weight in motor oil is another way you can save at Urbana area gas pumps. It adds up to a 2% savings.
What about that courteous driving? That doesn't cost us anything and doesn't require our Urbana service center to implement anything. Is it worth the bother?
Again, the answer is yes. Sudden acceleration, such as charging away from stoplights, sudden stops and quick lane changes all add up in lowered fuel economy. Taking it easy when you drive on Illinois roads amounts to a 5% savings around town and a whopping 33% savings on the freeway. Is it worth your time to slow down? How much do you get paid?
Speeding is another way we ding ourselves at the gas pump. We've all heard that it's okay to drive five miles over the speed limit, but that actually hurts our wallets. Eventually it could add up to more than a speeding ticket. An extra five miles over the speed limit ends up costing us 7% per gallon. Fifteen miles over? 23% Now there's a reason to slow down.
Another thing Urbana vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don't treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping one hundred pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.
So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they're welcome to come along, that's okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it's no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you're an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”
All joking aside, let's all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in Illinois.
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
Higher Urbana fuel prices aren't going away any time soon. That's not good news for our wallets. A lot of Urbana drivers are trying to find ways to cut down on fuel consumption and hang on to some of their hard-earned money.
North Americans drive billions of miles less during months of high fuel prices. That's right, billions. Of course Illinois vehicle owners can't stop driving altogether, so we still need to find other ways to cut fuel bills.
Preventive maintenance at PDR in Urbana and good vehicle care can actually pay for themselves by lowering our fuel consumption. Here's a real-life example of how that can work.
A family planned a four-day camping trip. Before leaving, they took their SUV into PDR for an oil change. They flushed the cooling system, serviced all three differentials and cleaned the fuel system. They replaced the PCV valve and breather element. Then they checked the tires to ensure they had enough air.
This was several hundred dollars in maintenance and repair. You may be thinking how the family could possibly recoup the cost in gas and save money. First of all, the repairs all needed to be done anyway. Even if the costs aren't recouped, many of them will pay for themselves by preventing even more costly repairs later. Also, the family had planned and budgeted for the routine maintenance, so it didn't cut into their trip allowance.
The SUV pulled a one-ton trailer and hauled everything the family needed on their camping trip. At the end of the trip, the owner was surprised to learn the SUV had actually gotten better gas mileage than it ever had before—even with that heavy load. The repairs and maintenance at PDR had improved the gas mileage by 25%! The family saved $48.00 in gas on their four-day trip. And they are continuing to reap rewards from the improved mileage.
So what can you do to save fuel? First, stay caught up on routine maintenance at PDR. Almost every maintenance item listed in your owner's manual will maintain or improve your fuel economy. Second, take your vehicle into PDR for scheduled tune-ups. And third, take care of needed repairs. You may be surprised at how much you save at the pump and probably with the improved vehicle performance as well.
If your Check Engine light is on, find out why and take care of it. Some of the problems that set off that warning light can seriously reduce fuel efficiency.
As you schedule preventive maintenance, don't forget your tires. Proper tire pressure and wheel alignment are both essential to good fuel economy.
Here's some more auto advice about some simple things you can do to improve fuel economy, beyond maintenance and repairs:
Dump the junk. More weight in your car equals more fuel. You'd be surprised how much stuff people carry around in their cars. That adds up to a lot of extra fuel. One hundred pounds of extra stuff in your vehicle can add up to the loss of one mile per gallon of fuel.
Get the lead out. No, don't speed up, slow down. Get the lead out of your right foot. The single biggest drain for most Urbana vehicles is speeding or sudden accelerations. Slow down and go easy on turns and lane changes, and don't treat every stoplight and stop sign like a green flag. These small changes can add up to quite a bit of change in your pockets.
We haven't mentioned the pills you can drop in your gas tank or special devices you can hook on your fuel line in order to increase fuel efficiency. There's a simple reason for that: they don't exist. There may be some truth behind some of these claims, but most of them are full-out scams. And if any of these things do actually help, it's not nearly as much as the things we've listed here.
Be smart. Your vehicle and your wallet will thank you for it.
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
With Urbana gas prices being what they are, many of us in Illinois are driving less and looking into purchasing smaller or more efficient vehicles. Urbana area residents who have to drive a lot, have large families or need four-wheel drive are particularly hard hit by the cost of fuel in Illinois. But there are things all Urbana drivers can do to save fuel: We can improve our driving habits and stay on top of preventive maintenance at PDR. These things make small savings possible, but they can really add up.
Let's start with driving habits. One major gas-eater is jackrabbit starts. A smooth, gradual acceleration uses a lot less fuel. It's also easier on your engine and drivetrain, so you'll prolong their lives as well.
If you drive with one foot on the brake, stop. That creates drag, increasing fuel usage and reducing the useful life of your brakes.
Slowing down can really add up on gas savings over time for Urbana drivers. Driving five to ten miles over the speed limit can use up 10 to 15% more gas. The time savings is only a few minutes per hour, so the cost per minute can be rather steep.
A little extra planning can save fuel for vehicle owners in Urbana as well. Leave a little early so you have time to slow down and still arrive on time. Also, plan errands ahead of time and group them as much as possible. Driving shorter distances is a great way to save fuel.
Using your cruise control where safe can save on fuel. Check your owner's manual for guidelines on when cruise control is recommended and when it isn't.
Clean out your trunk. Every ounce in your vehicle translates to a bit more fuel required to drive around Urbana.
Many Urbana residents let their car warm up during the winter - a major fuel drain. Your engine doesn't benefit; modern engines don't require a warm up to get up and running, although it's best to take it easy on them for the first few miles.
Now that we've gone over a few tips for improving driving habits, let's talk about the maintenance of our vehicle. Good car care at PDR in Urbana actually pays for itself in fuel savings.
First, if your gas cap is leaking or worn, get a new one.
Second, keep your engine clean. Clogged fuel filters, dirty fuel injectors and plugged PCV valves all cost you in loss of fuel. Replacing them or cleaning them will both improve fuel economy and increase the power you're getting from your engine.
Third, don't ignore your Check Engine light. Problems that cause that light to come on usually affect your fuel efficiency.
Fourth, check your 's owner's manual for service that should be regularly performed on your vehicle, and follow the schedule. Or talk to your friendly service advisor at PDR . Oil changes, transmission checks and cooling system service all improve fuel economy if they're done when needed. Low fluids and dirty fluids also create conditions in your vehicle that require more fuel. So routine maintenance is a must to maintain fuel economy and save cash.
Last, keep your tires inflated. Underinflated tires increase your vehicle's friction with the roadway, which increases the energy it takes to move. Keeping your tires properly inflated is great for saving gas as you drive around Urbana.
So if the cost of gas in Urbana has got you searching the sofa for extra pennies, you might want to start making a few changes in your driving habits and getting your vehicle the service it needs at PDR in Urbana.
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
Most Urbana drivers are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Illinois folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.
And we Urbana drivers all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum fuel efficiency. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Urbana road warriors can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.
Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get around Urbana. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.
Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.
But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight while driving around Urbana? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don't. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.
The same goes for anything else in your vehicle: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing: whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it, store it when you don't.
Clean out your vehicle. You'd be surprised how much weight you're lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food and regular old dirt. Even if it's not a lot of weight, you'll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.
Now, don't toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip; but you don't have to lug it around all the time.
After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?
Lose the junk and save some money.
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802