Keep Your Car Properly Maintained
You can enhance your gas mileage by receiving regular maintenance. My suggestions are that you:
- Change your oil and filters more frequently.
- Always make sure shops only install a factory oil filter.
- Have your car’s alignment periodically checked.
- Keep your tire pressure at their recommended maximum. This will reduce rolling resistance.
Should You Use Regular Gas?
If you use regular gas in a car that requires premium, for the most part, it will not harm your car. This is because the on-board computers will make the necessary adjustments to run with the lower octane. There are significant downsides, however, which may make saving 20 to 30 cents per gallon not worth converting to regular. For example:
- The computer will alter the timing, readjust the RPM curve, change the shift points on the transmission, and slow your acceleration.
- You will likely hear the knock sensors frequently engaging to try to stop the car from pinging.
- In extreme cases, the lower octane can damage the catalytic converter since it does not burn as clean. Because California has stricter emission standards than other states and requires a more expensive catalytic converter, replacing converters in California is pricey. Most manufacturers do cover this part under warranty up to 80,000 or even 100,000 miles. However, if your converter fails and your car is out-of-warranty, you will face a large repair bill.
If you downgrade to regular gas when your car calls for premium, expect:
- sluggish acceleration
- taking longer for the car to start
- rougher idling
- “check engine” lights coming on for no apparent reason
- lower gas mileage
- little annoyances that pile up
Chances are the higher price of premium will be offset by increased gas mileage. When you switch back to premium, it will take a few tanks of gas for the computers to reset. So, don’t expect increased gas mileage or better performance immediately. Eventually, however, your better fuel economy and performance will return.
There are no magic pills that will increase gas mileage. Crystals and magnets, for example, will not do anything but take your money. The product that can help is STP with Techron®. This additive cleans your vehicle’s injection system as soon as it runs through the system. Thus, your vehicle will run more efficiently. You will only need to add STP about once every six months.
Maintenance Tip: Oil Changes on German Autos
Most German car maintenance books recommend an oil change every 15,000 miles. This isn’t enough. To guard against engine trouble, have your oil changed every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
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