Winter doesn't just bring cold weather and snow, it also brings it's own particular problems to maintaining and improving gas mileage. Here are two specific things you should to do in the winter to sustain good fuel economy. The most basic and possibly the most important step you can take is to ensure the oil in your car is the proper grade for cold weather. As temperatures fall it thickens your oil.
If oil gets too thick it will not lubricate your engine the way it was designed to. A car engine that isn't properly lubricated will loose fuel efficiency as it has to burn more gas to move it's parts. If that isn't enough, oil that is too thick to properly lubricate your car's engine, can damage your engine so much you may have to have the engine replaced. To find the correct grade for your car, check your owners manual or ask your car dealer. Winter temperatures require an oil that is considerably thinner than the oil used during warmer times. Your car, like many cars, could use multi grade oil.
Multi grade oil is an oil that changes it's thickness or viscosity at different temperatures. The multi grade oil might already be the proper oil for winter. Again it is recommended you check with an expert to determine the proper grade. Another challenge that winter weather brings is a change in tire pressure. In the winter the tire pressure drops. It is one of the laws of gasses you learned about in chemistry class.
A gas compresses as temperature drops. As it compresses, the pressure in your tires drops. If your tires were at the proper pressure at 70 degrees, those same tires will be 5 to 10 pounds too low at 20 degrees and will be 7 to 14 pounds too low at zero degrees. Tire pressure that is too low is one of the most common gas robbing conditions. It is estimated that more than 25 per cent of all drivers are riding on at least one tire with low pressure.
Your fuel economy will be decreasind by 4 percent if your tires are 5 to 10 pounds under inflated. Your tires will experience a one to two pound reduction in tire pressure for every 10-degree drop in air temperature. If you tested your tire pressure in November, chances are they'll be too low in February. To correct and prevent the problem of low tire pressure you need to check the tire pressure on a regular basis. Check them every month at a minimum.
Also check them when there is a significant fall in temperatures. Winter conditions bring unique fuel robbing conditions. You can stop the detrimental affect of winter on your fuel economy cold! Knowing about these conditions and knowing how to avoid them will keep your fuel economy at it's peak.
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