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Maintenance that can save on gas

Steps you can take to lower your bill at the fuel pump

With gas prices fluctuating wildly, most drivers want to do everything they can to squeeze better gas mileage out of their current car.

Fortunately, with proper maintenance, cars can get noticeable improvements in fuel economy that will help to save money down the road. Here’s a look at six things you can do to boost your car’s gas mileage:

  1. TIRE PRESSURE: Among of the easiest but often overlooked maintenance items on your car are the tires. Experts say you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3 percent by keeping your tires properly inflated. It’s also an important safety measure.
  2. TUNE-UP: Giving your car a tune-up can improve gas mileage by up to 4 percent. Check your car’s owner’s manual to follow the proper maintenance schedule. Worn-out parts or outdated sensors can cause your car to waste fuel, so make sure everything under the hood is in good condition.
  3. OIL CHANGES: Regular oil changes aren’t just required for a long-lasting engine. They can also help improve gas mileage, too. By keeping the friction in your engine down to a minimum, fresh oil can create a slight improvement in fuel economy.
  4. SPARK PLUGS: Old, dirty spark plugs can cause a 2-mpg drop in your car’s gas mileage. Use the correct spark plugs for your car, and carefully check the plug gaps to ensure a clean spark and complete combustion in your engine, which saves on gas money.
  5. AIR FILTER: Your engine needs to breathe cleanly to get the best performance and fuel economy. Dirty or clogged air filters can cause a drastic drop in mileage — up to 14 percent on older cars — so always make sure your air filter is clean to get the most out of every tank of gas.
  6. GAS CAP: Finally, your gasoline can disappear into thin air if your gas cap is loose, damaged or missing. Gasoline will evaporate if there’s not a tight seal at the cap, so make sure you regularly check it for proper function and condition.