If you notice a sudden decrease in fuel efficiency, several issues could be to blame. More importantly, if the problem goes unattended, further damage could occur, leading to a costly repair. Some of the most common sources of lower gas mileage include:
Worn Spark Plugs
Since spark plugs ignite fuel in the engine’s combustion chamber, dirty or failing ones can lead to misfires and reduced engine performance, lowering power and increasing fuel consumption.
Dirty Oxygen Sensor
This element measures exhaust gases after they leave the combustion chamber. This information goes to the engine where it adjusts fuel accordingly. If sensors are unclean or not working, they will send bad information, causing the engine to consume more fuel. This issue can also cause the vehicle to fail an emissions test or idle roughly.
Low or imbalanced air pressure in the tires and tires that are out of alignment can cause a drop in fuel efficiency. Checking the tires’ air pressure often and filling them when needed will help prevent this issue.
Dirty Fuel Injectors
The cylinders receive fuel via the fuel injectors, and if they get clogged or stop working, the car might struggle to accelerate, leading to a drop in gas mileage. If you can catch the issue early, the fuel injectors can be cleaned and further damage can be avoided.
Faulty Fuel Pump
This element gets fuel from the gas tank and sends it to the fuel injectors. With time and use, it can form a clog or stop working, leading to a rough-running, fuel-guzzling engine. If left untreated, the car will continue to decline, eventually sputtering and stalling out.
Dysfunctional Mass Air Flow Sensor
This sensor measures the air entering the fuel injection system, delivering the data to the car’s computer, which then divvies up fuel and air throughout the vehicle. A dirty or malfunctioning mass air flow sensor can degrade fuel efficiency and cause the car to idle or stall if the issue goes unfixed.
Fuel Filter Clog
The fuel filter cleans the fuel–filtering contaminates–and over time (like other filters), it can become easily clogged. Fortunately, regular filter changes can help you avoid clogs and loss of fuel efficiency.
Brake Caliper Stick
If a caliper gets stuck on a disc brake or a shoe sticks on a drum brake, serious fuel efficiency problems can arise. Not to mention, any problem with the brake system is a safety hazard in itself. If you notice a decline in gas mileage coupled with the car pulling left or right, have the brakes examined as soon as possible.
For all your vehicle’s repair and maintenance needs, call Heath’s Auto Service at 928-233-9335!