HOUSTON - Gas prices may have started coming down a little, but they're expected to be high overall for a while. And the price of an oil change has gone up, too.
Here's some Smart Sense to help your vehicle get better gas mileage and save you money.
Reach into your glove box and pull out your owner's manual. You'll need it to see the proper air pressure for your tires, how often to change the oil and air filters, and when to have maintenance done.
To make sure you're getting every mile from your gas tank, keep your tires at the proper air pressure.
"Running at low levels can cause issues with the tires themselves, and cause a lot of drag. That can relate to fuel consumption," said Jason Shastri with Mr. Transmission/Milex.
The U.S. Department of Energy says keeping tires properly inflated can improve mileage by 3%.
Next, replace dirty air filters to improve your fuel efficiency.
"This is an air filter, and you can see the air filter has a lot of particles and dust on it. You want it to be clean and free of any debris and this will let the air flow into the engine areas and other parts of the vehicle," Shastri showed us.
Have the vehicle tuned up. Bad spark plugs can decrease fuel economy up to 30%. Also, have all of your fluids topped off.
Whether your vehicle needs oil changes every 3,000, 7,000 or 10,000 miles, keep them up.
"If you’re running low on engine oil, that can cause a lot of stress on the engine itself. If you’re running the vehicle at higher temperatures, indirectly that can cause a lot of issues to the engine," said Shastri.
Repairing an engine damaged from too little oil can cost thousands of dollars.
Oil change prices have been climbing with the price of oil.
Here are a few ways to save on oil changes:
- Use coupons from your car shop;
- Save about $40 changing the oil and filter yourself; or
- Save about $20 buying the oil and filter yourself, and asking a local shop to use yours
"Call around to some of your mom-and-pop shops and ask them, ‘listen, if I bring my own oil and filter, will you change my oil?’" suggested Eddie Elliott with Universal Technical Institute.
Here's one more tip to save gas: If you use the Google Maps app for driving directions, go to the Route options, then turn on fuel-efficient routes.
A green leaf appearing next to your route means it's the most fuel-efficient route. It may take a little longer, but it may have fewer hills or less traffic, making it the most fuel-efficient.