6802 Peters Creek Road
Roanoke, VA 24019

Winter Weather and Fuel Economy

February 2nd, 2016

You may have noticed that your fuel economy tends to drop off when the temperatures drop. Ever wondered why? Here are some causes:Auto Repair in Roanoke VA

·         Your engine is most efficient at normal operating temperature, and in cold weather it takes much longer to warm up to that temperature range. This will definitely hurt fuel efficiency on shorter trips, where the engine might never warm up completely.

·         Motor oil tends to be thicker at cold temperatures, increasing friction in the engine.

·         Gases contract at cold temperatures, meaning that tire pressure drops as the temperatures fall

·         Driving on snow and ice means driving slower and more erratically. It’s harder to keep a consistent speed, and fluctuating speed (especially below 40 mph or so) means worse fuel economy.

·         In general, it just requires more energy to move a vehicle through snow and slush.

So what can you do to improve your car’s gas mileage in the winter months?

·         Check your tire pressure regularly in sub-freezing temperatures

·         Ensure that your engine fluids (oil, transmission fluid, coolant) are fresh

·         Avoid excessive idling. At idle, your vehicle gets zero MPGs, and there’s no real advantage to letting a car warm up before driving it.

·         Make sure that your air filter is clean – a dirty air filter will compromise fuel economy regardless of the weather.

Unfortunately, you can’t do a lot about traffic conditions or the extra energy used to move a car through snow and slush. What’s important, though, is that you stay safe in winter driving conditions, with a dependable car that’s got good brakes, tires and other systems. That margin of safety is well worth the hit that you might take in fuel economy!

Is your car ready for the winter months? Give us a call and set up an appointment with Star City Tires in Roanoke, VA and let our automotive techs help you make sure. 

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101