What Causes Poor Gas Mileage?


Quick Answer

Poor gas mileage may be caused by thoughtless driving, improperly inflated tires or worn spark plugs. Regular maintenance, including rotating tires, can improve gas mileage significantly.

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Full Answer

Improperly inflated tires are a common reason for low gas mileage. Check tires with an air gauge regularly, and add air as needed. Tires should also be rotated as part of a regular maintenance routine to preserve good mileage. Changing the air filter and spark plugs should also be part of a regular maintenance routine and can improve gas mileage. Cars that feature an oxygen sensor may require the cleaning or replacing of sensors as part of the automobile's regular maintenance.

When spark plugs are not firing properly, a car needs to use more gas to reach the same speeds. Regular maintenance should be completed every three to six months, or every 3,000 miles, to improve gas mileage and maintain the overall function of the automobile.

Stop-and-go driving, using air conditioning and accelerating aggressively can also reduce gas mileage. Accelerate smoothly, maintain a constant speed whenever possible, and operate the air conditioning on a low setting to conserve fuel. Use freeways whenever possible to prevent driving through stop-and-go traffic. Driving with the windows down or installing exterior features on a car, such as a bike rack or top rack, may cause drag, which reduces gas mileage. If a rack isn't used often, remove it to reduce wind resistance.

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