How to Make an Engine More Fuel Efficient & Causes Of Excessive Fuel Consumption

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In this post we will look at how to make an engine more fuel efficient, What causes excessive fuel consumption or what is the possible causes of high fuel consumption?

Then finally we will look at how to reduce fuel consumption in carburetor and how to mechanically reduce fuel consumption in cars

Whenever consumers start thinking about fuel efficiency, they often think about driving behaviors that are associated with fuel savings.

Meaning they will start thinking about how to drive slowly, or opening windows instead of running their air conditioning.

Although while driving behavior is vital, the APW reports state that key vehicle parts can also have a significant impact in maximizing fuel efficiency.

And some of these  some of these parts simply involves DIY projects, while others are more suited for a DIYer that has moderate experience, but all are possible with parts that can easily be purchased online, which will lead to potential savings.

There is a recently conducted survey that suggests that consumers are not only racking up significant savings by doing their DIY projects.

It says that 60% report saving over $500 annually, which means that they are also taking advantage of purchasing parts online to save money and compare prices.

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So What Causes Excessive Fuel Consumption? 

Sometimes excessive fuel consumption can indicate more serious problems that if left alone, can develop into an expensive repair. So it will be of benefit to you if you take your vehicle to your local garage for servicing. But did you know that a vehicle can burn about 30 percent more fuel; that is if proper maintenance is not performed regularly? Below are things that can be affected;

  • Sluggish Oxygen Sensors
  • Inaccurate or Defective Coolant Sensor
  • Defective Engine Thermostat
  • Engine Misfire
  • Intake Manifold or EGR Valve Leak
  • Worn or Fouled Spark Plugs
  • Dirty Fuel Injectors
  • Low Compression
  • Wrong Oil Viscosity
  • Dirty Air Filter
  • Clogged Converter or Exhaust Restriction
  • Slipping Clutch or Transmission
  • Low Tires
  • Dragging Brakes
  • Too Much Weight in Your Trunk
  • Poor Driving Habits

So What are the Possible Causes of High Fuel Consumption?

1. Engine Oil

Replacing your engine oil at regular, manufacturer-recommended intervals can help in lowering your fuel consumption rate. Once you noticed that your fuel efficiency is declining, and you have not recently changed your engine oil, old oil may be the culprit.

Note that for vehicles 2013 or later, there is an improvement in the fuel and oil technologies by car manufacturers, which means you should only change your oil every 7,000-10,000 miles. When it is compared to older cars that required oil changes every 3,000 miles, you will notice that this not only improves your fuel economy, but it also saves you time and money.

2. The Oxygen sensors, air filters, spark plugs, and fuel injectors

Here are the four parts of your vehicle that seems not to be related to your gas mileage, but they can sometimes seriously impact your fuel consumption. But if you observe that your gas usage has gone up in recent months, ensure that these parts are clean and working perfectly.

3. Car Tires

Note that even though your tire pressure indicator is not beaming brightly, your tires might still be under-inflated, which could cause a decrease in fuel efficiency. You can use a simple tire pressure gauge to check each tire’s pressure, which is available at any grocery or auto parts store near you. But ensure you do so before you turn on your car for the day since cool tires will give you the most accurate pressure reading.

But in case you notice that your tires look visibly under-inflated, then you are already past the time when you should have filled up your tires. This is because poorly inflated tires decrease traction and increases the number of times that your tires have to rotate for them to move the same amount of distance. Remember that it’s vital to fill your tires to the recommended psi by the manufacturers, as over-inflation and under-inflation can influence your fuel consumption negatively.

4. Your Air Conditioning

During hot weather, making use of your air conditioning can put a lot of strain on your engine and then hurt your fuel efficiency. For you to end this problem, crack a window until your car’s internal temperature is exactly at or even lower than the exterior temp. But have it in mind that it’s best to keep your windows closed whenever you’re driving at highway speeds since it reduces the amount of drag on your vehicle.

5. Idling

In case you don’t know, this habit seems like a no-brainer. But it happens to be a gas-waster that is often overlooked, forgotten, or ignored. However, in case you are in a location where you can completely turn off your engine, then you should do it. Remember that shutting off your car is not only best for your fuel usage, but it also helps in avoiding unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. 

But in case you’re in a situation where you can’t turn your engine off completely (such as on a hot day while you’re waiting to pick someone up from school), at least put it on neutral.

6. Using the Wrong Gear

In case your car uses manual transmission (stick shift), ensure to use the appropriate gear. Anytime you’re pulling heavy loads, ensure you use a lower gear, the reason is so that your engine doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to. In similar ways, ensure to use a higher gear whenever you are traveling at faster speeds. In summary, just listen to your engine. Once you notice it sounds like it is overworking or underworking, then you are probably wasting gas.

7. Aggressive Driving

Remember that this is a bad habit that is threefold – driving too fast, accelerating too quickly, and stopping too suddenly. Note that all of these three actions can lead to high fuel consumption. Wherever possible, try accelerating slowly and drive with the speed of traffic. Try giving yourself enough space between you and the person ahead of you while driving so that you can stop gradually without slamming on your brakes. Note that a natural, brakeless deceleration, where possible, can help you increase your fuel efficiency.

So if you haven’t ever paid close attention to your fuel consumption, it is never too late to begin. Indeed, some new model vehicles have a sensor to do that for you, but having a small notebook for jotting down your odometer, trip, and fill-up readings will be a low-tech way to help keep track of where your money and fuel are going. In case you find out that your fuel efficiency is below par or that it has over time decreased, you can then go through the list above and make some changes to help put some of that gas money back in your pocket.

How to reduce fuel consumption in carburetor

1. Find the air filter and remove it 

Sometimes on most cars, you’ll need to remove the car air filter so you can expose the carburetor and adjust it. Just open the hood and ensure the engine is off before looking for the air filter and removing the assembly. Now unscrew the wing-nut and any other connectors there, and then remove the air filter completely.

2. Search for the adjustment screws on the front of the carburetor 

You will find two screws on the front of your carburetor, which are used to adjust the air and fuel mixture.

3. You can now start the engine and let it warm to normal operating temperature

Examine your temperature gauge to observe when it’s at the appropriate running temp, and then listen to the sound of your engine to get some sense of the adjustments that need to be done.

4. Now adjust both screws equally and find the right mixture

You should do this because adjusting the carburetor is a lot like tuning a guitar or other stringed instrument. Remember, you want to turn the screws equally, smoothly, and slowly until you locate the sweet spot. No matter whether or not your engine is running too rich or too lean, just bring it down to a very lean mixture by you turning both screws a quarter-turn at a time, and counter-clockwise, then you can slowly bring them back up to an equal and smooth mixture.

5. Change the air filter assembly

Whenever you’ve got the carb adjusted, try putting the air filter back on and you’re ready to roll.

But note that if you need to adjust the idle speed as well, then wait to put the air filter back on until you’re finished.

How to mechanically reduce fuel consumption in cars

  • Mass Airflow Sensor

The Mass Airflow Sensor is one of the most vital vehicle parts contributing to fuel efficiency, and many drivers are not familiar with it. This Mass Airflow Sensor is what measures the flow of air entering the engine, and can be found between the air cleaner and throttle plate, or inside the air cleaner assembly. 

Once you suspect a faulty Mass Airflow Sensor, the first step is to scan the computer for trouble codes with a code reader. And once the diagnostic trouble code directs you to the Mass Airflow Sensor, then examine the air inlet system for leaks and follow the test process in the appropriate service manual to verify the issue. Note that cleaning the Mass Airflow Sensor with an electrical cleaner is another best option. 

  • Oxygen (O2) Sensor 

As we know, a sluggish or faulty oxygen sensor can increase fuel consumption. So whenever a vehicle has over 100,000 miles, a simple replacement should be considered. Most vehicles from 1995 to date have an oxygen sensor mounted in their exhaust to monitor the exhaust flow before and after the catalytic converter, which are referred to as sensor 1 and sensor 2. And some vehicles even have as many as four. 

  • The Spark Plugs 

We all know that the spark plugs ignite the air/fuel mixture in the engine combustion chambers and are vital to powering the vehicle.

Having a fresh set of plugs, your car can run cleaner and burn fuel more efficiently.

Sometimes it is a big-ticket item at a car dealership when they combine it with a 60,000-mile service. However, you can do this at home with the right tools and save yourself some cash. Just find the owner’s manual and see the suggested service interval for changing spark plugs. A lot of manufacturers suggest replacing plugs at 60,000 miles or more.

  • Air Filter 

You should already know that a dirty air filter can reduce fuel economy, and it can be more problematic on older vehicles and this is something every car owner should pay attention to.

Changing the air filter is probably one of the simplest and easiest DIY auto repairs out there, it takes just 15 minutes or less with simple hand tools – and it can save money!

  • The Tires

Once tires are worn out, under-inflated, or sometimes out of alignment, then vehicle handling and fuel efficiency will suffer.

A lot of tire manufacturers offer tires with enhanced formulas that improve gas mileage in cars and extend tire life.

For you to ensure tires are properly inflated, use an air pressure gauge and examine the pressure monthly, it should be in the morning before the vehicle is used.

Your car’s recommended tire pressures can normally be found in the vehicle owner’s manual and on the driver-side door.

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