Fuel economy is something many drivers in the U.S. have been paying attention to ever since gas prices hit an all-time average high in 2012. We know that it is normal for it to fluctuate depending on driving conditions, driving habits, weather and various other factors. However, if you notice your miles per gallon dropping suddenly or fluctuating more than normal, it’s time to talk to your auto repair shop in Lansing, MI.
First, don’t panic yet—there are many reasons your MPG may have plummeted, many of them requiring a relatively simple repair or part replacement. Second, don’t procrastinate. Waiting means spending more money at the gas station, as well as the possibility of a small problem with an easy fix becoming a big problem with an even bigger price tag. Talk to your mechanic about these possible reasons for a sudden drop or erratic change in fuel economy:
- Dirty oxygen sensor: Oxygen sensors affect how much fuel is needed to meet your vehicle’s operating needs. Old or dirty O2 sensors are less responsive, which tells the engine’s computer to add more fuel, resulting in a waste of gas. The combination of a suboptimal oxygen sensor and dirty air filters can slash your fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.
- Dirty or worn out spark plugs: Bad spark plugs—which serve as fuel ignitors in the combustion chamber—waste fuel by causing engine misfires. Note that stop-and-go driving can cause spark plugs to wear out more quickly, so if your lifestyle includes that type of driving, be sure to have your spark plugs checked and replaced regularly.
- Bad fuel injector: Fuel injectors become clogged over time, causing a drop in fuel economy as well as sluggish acceleration. If you can catch this early, your auto repair shop in Lansing, MI can simply clean the injectors. However, if left alone, you might have to have them replaced, which is not cheap.
- Misaligned tires: This shouldn’t be a problem because you are having your alignment checked regularly, right? If not, you need to get to your auto repair shop in Lansing, MI and ask for an alignment check. While you’re at it, ask them to check your tire pressure and inspect the tires for damage as well. Low tire pressure is a common culprit in declining fuel economy.
- Defective fuel pump: Like bad O2 sensors and fuel injectors, a defective fuel pump can cause fuel delivery issues and drastically increase fuel consumption. With a defective fuel pump, you will notice your engine isn’t running as smoothly as it normally does because it is not getting enough fuel. Listen to your engine, and if you notice it is running roughly, or if it starts stalling and sputtering, talk to your mechanic ASAP.
In the long run, any of these problems can end up costing you a lot of money, not to mention causing more wear and tear on your vehicle. If you suspect any of these problems, or have simply noticed a big change in fuel economy, stop by PFS Auto Repair in Lansing, MI. We can help you bring your car back to its peak fuel economy performance.