Monday, November 30, 2015

How to Maintain Fuel Efficiency During the Winter

How You Can Save Fuel in the Winter

WESTLAND, Mich. –– Your vehicle's fuel efficiency could decrease by 50% this winter, which means you'll end up shivering beside the gas pump more often than you'd like. Fortunately, you can maintain a higher level of fuel efficiency throughout the colder months by following our tips on how to maintain fuel efficiency during the winter. But first, it's worth looking at the reasons for why your vehicle's fuel efficiency decreases during the winter.

Why does fuel efficiency decrease during the winter?

A lower level of fuel efficiency during the winter can result from a litany of negative effects cold weather has on your vehicle. Take a look at the reasons provides:

  • Engine and transmission friction increases in cold temperatures due to cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids.
  • It takes longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature. This affects shorter trips more, since your car spends more of your trip at less-than-optimal temperatures.
  • Heated seats, window defrosters, and heater fans use additional power.
  • Warming up your vehicle before you start your trip lowers your fuel economy—idling gets 0 miles per gallon.
  • Colder air is denser, increasing aerodynamic drag on your vehicle, especially at highway speeds.
  • Tire pressure decreases in colder temperatures, increasing rolling resistance.
  • Winter grades of gasoline can have slightly less energy per gallon than summer blends.
  • Battery performance decreases in cold weather, making it harder for your alternator to keep your battery charged. This also affects the performance of the regenerative braking system on hybrids.

In severe winter weather, your mpg can drop even further.

  • Icy or snow-covered roads decrease your tires' grip on the road, wasting energy.
  • Safe driving speeds on slick roads can be much lower than normal, further reducing fuel economy, especially at speeds below 30 to 40 mph.
  • Using four-wheel drive uses more fuel.

How to maintain fuel efficiency during the winter.

Taking into account the many reasons for why fuel efficiency decreases in the winter, you can counteract the negative effects of cold weather on your vehicle's fuel economy by following these tips on how to maintain fuel efficiency during the winter.

  1. Limit the amount of cargo stored in your vehicle. Extra weight can add stress to your vehicle and cause it to work harder, decreasing its fuel efficiency. Removing snow and ice from the outside of the car before driving also shaves off a surprising amount of unnecessary weight. 
  2. Park your vehicle in a garage during the winter. Parking your vehicle in a garage keeps its interior at a warmer temperature so your vehicle requires less fuel and time to warm up on cold mornings. It only takes 30 seconds for your vehicle's engine to warm up, but if it's parked outside it can take several minutes for your interior to reach a comfortable temperature, which wastes fuel and time.
  3. Fill up your car early in the morning. When the outdoor temperature is colder, the density of gasoline or diesel is greater and takes up less space in your tank.
  4. Give your vehicle regular routine maintenance. Routine maintenance throughout the winter is the best way to increase the life and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. During the colder months everything counts towards increasing your vehicle's fuel economy, from equipping your vehicle with a set of quality tires that provide the traction necessary for slick roads, to regular oil changes that help your vehicle perform at a high level on the coldest days.

As we head into winter and the temperatures plummet, North Brothers Ford can help you handle your vehicle needs to keep its fuel economy strong. From auto service to finding the perfect vehicle for the winter, we're happy to help you. 

North Brothers Ford, located at 33300 Ford Rd Westland, MI 48185, is proud to be one of the premier dealerships in Southeast Michigan committed to exceptional customer service! Stop by or give us a call at (888) 806-7163, our knowledgeable sales team will be happy to help!

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