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Home > Blog > Replacement > 3 Low Cost Auto Parts that Improve Gas Mileage Blog
Kevin Butler

Kevin Butler

Serving up the latest and greatest news from APN.

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October 6th, 2011

3 Low Cost Auto Parts that Improve Gas Mileage

With gas prices rising like a flood tide, many drivers are looking for a way to get the highest possible fuel economy out of their vehicles. Though some find the answer in hybrid cars, and other new (expensive) technologies, there are also some good old basic auto maintenance fixes that can significantly increase your mileage. In this post we’ve listed three low-cost automotive parts that can be affordably checked and replaced to save you cash at the pumps.

1. Air Filters

A dirty air filter limits air flow to the engine, causing immediate drops in horsepower, performance, and gas mileage. Replacing an air filter is a cheap, effective way to ensure maximum fuel efficiency, so it is well worth replacing your filter once it is dirty enough to restrict air flow. The right time to replace an air filter varies by how much you drive and the quality of air you are driving in. Replacement suggestions very, but it is generally recomended that drivers replace air filters every 15,000 miles to 30,000 miles and you can sometimes check your driver’s manual for advice.

If you use K&N air filters, you can actually purchase “recharging” kits to clean your air filter back to peak performance instead of buying a new one.

2. Oxygen Sensors

The oxygen sensor is what communicates with the engine computer, indicating how much fuel should be distributed. As oxygen sensors age, their signals become weaker, which usually causes your vehicle to send too much gas to the engine, thereby reducing fuel economy. There can be as many as four O2 sensors on your vehicle, and they can become inaccurate due to carbon buildup. A malfunctioning O2 sensor is sometimes indicated with a check engine light, though it is not usually made clear that this is the problem. To prevent excessive fuel consumption due to a faulty O2 sensor, have your oxygen sensors checked every 100,000 miles for vehicles manufactured in 1990 or earlier, and 30,000 to 60,000 for vehicles manufactured before 1990.

3. Spark Plugs

A malfunctioning spark plug fails to ignite fuel in the cylinder. This causes a loss of fuel through the exhaust and also causes additional fuel consumption in remaining cylinders. Spark plugs are another low cost vehicle part that can significantly reduce fuel waste, so replace your spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so to ensure you’re getting use of every last drop of fuel in the tank. 

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