Are you spending more time than usual filling up at the pump? The average American spends over 2,000 a year on fuel. This number can significantly increase when you are driving a vehicle that burns gas rather quickly. Unexplained increases in fuel consumption don’t just affect your pockets but can also indicate mechanical issues with your vehicle. Therefore, identifying why your car is burning gas at an alarming rate can ultimately help you save money and avoid costly repairs.
Believe it or not, there are a variety of factors that contribute to bad gas mileage. Oftentimes it boils down to small habits that drivers tend to have that cause us to unintentionally waste gas. In some cases, as the car ages worn or faulty auto components and major mechanical problems are causing decreased fuel efficiency.
My Car Is Burning Gas – Carbon Build Up
When left unchecked carbon build-up can become a major issue that eventually compromises the health of your engine. As the car burns fuel.it releases fumes and waste byproducts of carbon and smoke that end up depositing on top of the engine and sometimes into the manifold. Just think of your engine as a fireplace. When you burn the fire logs the waste byproduct is the black soot and the carbon that begins to coat the sides.
Carbon build up is normal to a certain degree. After all, it's part of the normal wear and tear of a vehicle. However, when it starts to build up inside the exhaust valves and the cylinders. Perhaps the common signs of carbon build up on the engine is rough engine idling which causes increased fuel consumption.
You can prevent carbon build up by investing in a good quality motor oil that is usually filled with strong additives and detergents that will clean carbon deposits on the engine and trap them into the oil filter. In extreme cases, you’ll have to have the carbon manually removed which is a labor intensive process that could take several hours.
My Car Is Burning Gas – Bad Oxygen Sensors and Air Filters
Bad oxygen sensors and air filters can decrease fuel economy by 20%. The oxygen sensors play a major role in the fuel management system. The O2 sensor in particular monitors how much unburned oxygen is present in the exhaust as it exits the engine.
By keeping track of the oxygen levels the sensors are able to measure the right amount of fuel mixture. When the O2 oxygen sensor fails it won’t be able to determine the proper air to fuel ratio which results in poor fuel economy. Knowing the correct air to fuel ratio allows the engine to automatically adjust to the changes so that the vehicle can run smoothly.
Most modern vehicles that are equipped with a V6 or V8 engine are manufactured with multiple O2 oxygen sensors. If you have a vehicle with a V6 or V8 engine it’s important to ensure that all the oxygen sensors are in great condition for the best fuel economy. When the oxygen sensors are in good condition it can improve your gas mileage by up to forty percent.
What about the air filters? Did you know that more than 25% of the cars on the road need new air filters? A clean air filter can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy by ten percent. Ten percent may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things but when you do the math you can save up to forty cents a gallon.
Routine replacement of the air filters on your vehicle is often overlooked. However, air filters are very important components of your vehicle. Just like an air purifier removes debris and other contaminants from the air in your home, air filters make sure that the air and fluid going into your engine is clean. This boosts your engine performance.
As a general rule of thumb, air filters should be replaced every 12,000 miles or every year whichever occurs first. Depending on the car model it can be difficult to reach the air filters to swap out yourself. You can always have your vehicle’s old air filter replaced by a trusted mechanic.
My Car Is Burning Gas – Faulty Fuel Injectors
It’s no secret. Faulty fuel injectors will result in a significant drop in fuel economy. Well-performing fuel injectors guarantee the kind of gas mileage promoted by auto manufacturers. The fuel pump is responsible for delivering gas into the fuel injector. When one or more of your car’s fuel injectors is compromised it affects engine performance. In most cases, a broken fuel injector won’t be able to deliver fuel to the engine or it will interfere with the intervals at which it’s supposed to be sprayed.
If there is a leak or crack of some sort in the fuel injectors, less fuel will make it to the engine. Leaks occur as a result of cracked or dry seals within the injector component itself. However, fuel injectors typically fail because they become clogged with carbon, debris, and other types of contaminants. Besides poor gas mileage, the most common signs of faulty fuel injectors are:
- Engine misfire
When the fuel injectors are in poor condition misfires are likely to occur within the engine. Depending on the size of the engine you may not feel it but you’ll definitely hear the subtle popping sound.
- Rough idling
Does your vehicle shudder or shake when you’re sitting in traffic? Even with your foot off the pedal, rough idling is sometimes accompanied by engine stalling.
Fuel injector treatment products are designed to keep your injectors in great condition. These products utilize detergent agents that mix with the fuel in your tank to break up the deposits caused by the impurities in gasoline.
My Car Is Burning Gas Fast – Do I Need New Spark Plugs?
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, bad spark plugs can decrease your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by thirty percent. This can cost you an additional ninety-four cents per gallon based on today’s gasoline prices.
Spark plugs contribute greatly to the health and quality performance of your vehicle’s engine. The spark plugs deliver the electrical current that’s needed to ignite the air and fuel mixture which in turn creates the explosion that powers the engine on.
When one of these small and simple plugs fails it can dramatically reduce your engine’s performance. Although the engine might not necessarily stall, you’ll notice a decrease in engine power and when you’re driving acceleration might be weaker
Although the engine won’t stall if one spark plug fails it will dramatically reduce the engine’s performance. When you drive you’ll notice decreased or weak acceleration. When your engine isn’t performing at the full peak it has to work harder which leads to the overconsumption of fuel. When your engine starts guzzling gas it will reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy since your vehicle fails to receive the correct heat-generating spark at the appropriate time.
Why Do Spark Plugs Become Worn?
Just like any other automotive component, spark plugs are subject to wear and tear. When your engine is well-maintained and functioning correctly your spark plugs should last between 20.000-30,000 miles or a 1.5 to 2.5-year life expectancy.
As they wear, spark plugs become less efficient. Spark plugs have to endure extreme weather conditions and temperatures. Spark plugs that are made from durable materials can last even longer.
Besides normal wear and tear, there are other factors that can cause your spark plugs to wear faster than normal such as:
- Oil contamination: When oil from the combustion chamber inside the engine seeps onto the spark plugs it will eventually foul the tip. This can lead to extensive spark plug damage and you’ll need to have them replaced immediately.
- Carbon builds up: Black, dried soot on your spark plugs indicates carbon build-up. Carbon or fuel byproduct waste can accumulate from clogged or soiled fuel injectors or even carbon build-up on the engine.
- Overheating: Overheating is one of the most common causes of spark plug failure. When a spark plug becomes too hot the electrodes will start to wear faster.
Replacing worn or damaged spark plugs will improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Avoid copper spark plugs since they have the shortest lifespan. Instead invest in spark plugs that are produced from advanced high-quality materials that are ultra-durable. In addition, it’s imperative that you have the proper spark plugs that are recommended for your car installed. Installing the wrong spark plugs will also affect your car’s MPG rate.
My Car Is Burning Gas – Are You Using Quality Motor Oil?
The quality of the oil you are using in your motor can affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Using a low-grade motor oil or an oil that has the wrong level of viscosity for your engine can impact the MPG up to 12%.
Researchers suggest that full synthetic formulations with lower viscosity levels since they flow easily into the oil pump and less energy is required to pump the oil into the most critical parts of the engine. If your car is burning gas faster than normal then simply switching up the motor oil you use can have a tremendous effect.
My Car Is Burning Gas – Incorrect Tire Pressure
When your car is burning gas at a faster rate than normal, making small changes like balancing out your tire pressure can be helpful. Poor tire pressure is one of the most common causes of decreased fuel economy. You can use a cheap pressure gauge to check your tire pressure.
When your tires are underinflated they will drag and you’ll have to accelerate harder which increases fuel consumption. While some people suggest overinflating your tires, it’s best to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure level.
Is Your Car Burning Gas Too Fast? Auto Tech Features That Help
These days automobile manufacturers are designing vehicles with a plethora of features that are aimed at improving fuel economy. As drivers, we all indulge in practices that can cause us to waste gas. Taking advantage of the fuel-saving features that your vehicle is equipped with can be a lifesaver. Some of these features include:
Smart Cruise Control
Smart cruise control also commonly referred to as adaptive cruise control automates the acceleration and braking of a vehicle. Drivers can activate cruise control with just a touch of the finger. Cruise control helps maintain great fuel efficiency because it maintains a smooth and consistent speed. Constant acceleration and braking will ultimately burn more fuel.
Start and Stop Systems
Stop/Start systems are popular in a lot of the vehicles on the market today. This technology shuts the engine off when the car comes to a full stop or when it idles for a few seconds such as at a traffic stop. When the driver steps on the gas the engine starts back up. Using your vehicle’s stop/start system can further improve its fuel efficiency.
Dual Clutch Transmissions
If your car is burning gas fast when you are using the automatic transmission mode consider switching over to the manual mode. Manual transmission improves acceleration time. As long as you are driving sensible putting the manual transmission into use can help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.
Cylinder deactivation is another cool tech feature that automakers are using to help improve fuel economy. When a vehicle is in cylinder deactivation mode, multiple cylinders are shut down when the car is coasting or cruising. When the cylinders are deactivated they aren’t consuming any fuel since the demand for acceleration is low.
My Car Is Burning Gas – Improving Gas Mileage
Are you ready to reduce your trips to the gas station? Performing routine maintenance on your vehicles such as changing the air filters, replacing the spark plugs and ensuring that the tires are well-balanced and regularly changing the oil can drastically improve fuel consumption and gas emissions.