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Tips for saving gas: tire maintenance

Gas is getting more and more expensive. You might not think about it at first, but your tires can make a big difference to your car’s fuel efficiency. Here are several tips that go far beyond the standard gas-saving tips of “keep your tires inflated.”

1) buy better tires

Automakers actually put fuel-efficient tires on new cars so they can more easily meet the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards required by the federal government. Most of us downgrade our tires to much less fuel efficient models when it comes time to buy the first set of replacement tires because we want to save money. But buying cheaper tires could end up costing us more. Some estimates state that as a nation, we could reduce our use of fossil fuels by 3% just by switching to more efficient tires.

Some of the fuel-efficient tires available now include Michelin Cooper GFE and Energy Saver A / S, Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max, and ProContact EcoPlus + Continental. As a group, these tires generally save just two percent fuel efficiency. If you drive 12,000 miles a year and get 25 miles per gallon and spend $ 3 per gallon on gas, that equates to a savings of $ 28 per year. So unfortunately, this tip won’t make much of a difference, but it does matter over time. If gas prices go up, it will be even more important.

2) Do not “reverse” the wheels to save the tread.

This is a trick to make your tires last longer, and while it will make your tires last a bit longer, it will also increase the resistance of the tires substantially. More endurance means more fuel use and fewer miles per gallon.

3) Keep your front aligned

This is another place where resistance can drain your gas budget. Your car’s front alignment refers to how straight your tires and front axle line up. Over time, bumps and twists in the road can cause your car to tend to swerve in one direction or another, and the more you adjust this (which you have to do, and do it unconsciously), the more gas you use. The typical way to test if your front alignment is off course is to drive on a straight, flat, empty road and carefully take your hands off the wheel for only a few seconds. If your car is going straight, the alignment is good. If you drift left or right, you need to correct the alignment, both to preserve your car’s fuel efficiency and to extend the life of your tires.

4) Choose radial tires

They create less friction and therefore use less gas.

5) Have that air pressure gauge handy

And finally, keep your tires fully inflated. Your car’s owner’s manual will tell you what the tire pressure should be. Check it once a month to keep your tires properly inflated. The standard estimated fuel economy to keep your tires inflated is 3%. For most people, that translates to a savings on a cheap lunch or two good cups of coffee a month.

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