Memorial Day Weekend brings the start of summer driving season, a time when Americans traditionally increase the number of miles they drive with visits to the beach, long weekends and road trips. This year, with the average price of regular gasoline at $2.928 in the United States and climbing, many families are reconsidering travel plans. While it seems that fuel prices will continue to remain at a record high, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to maximize miles per gallon and Wal-Mart’s Tire & Lube Express Centers offer a variety of unique services, including a free tire pressure check.
"In addition to engine performance, anything that impedes the movement of a vehicle down the road, such as tire rolling resistance, wind resistance, brake drag, wheel alignment and driveline friction, affects fuel mileage," said Jay King, Director, Tire & Lube Express Operations.
Some of the most common problems are low tire pressure, brake drag and improper wheel alignment, which could potentially double the required road horsepower and cut fuel economy by as much as 20 percent. There are numerous additional factors affecting fuel consumption, such as driving style, fuel system efficiency, and method of gasoline fill-ups, among others.
One of the most important factors in maintaining fuel efficiency is tire pressure, as properly inflated tires improve fuel economy by approximately 3.3 percent. Under-inflated tires wear more quickly, requiring more frequent replacement, and can cost drivers approximately one mile per gallon. While tires should be inflated at the highest recommended level, too much tire pressure is equally problematic, most often indicated by greater tread wear in the center. As part of its overall commitment to help shoppers save time and money, Wal-Mart offers a free tire pressure check service at its Tire & Lube Express, which customers can have done while they shop.
To provide its customers with additional security, Tire & Lube Express offers an optional lifetime rotate and balance ($7.50 per tire) and a nation wide Road Hazard Warranty ($9.76 per tire), which in addition to the manufacturers wear warranty, provides protection against punctures and damage to the tire under normal driving conditions.
Poorly adjusted brakes may "drag," thereby increasing both roll resistance and steering pull, which minimize fuel economy. Because many brakes drag and the degree can vary among vehicles, an expert opinion is often required but inspections are typically free of charge. Improper wheel alignment also increases fuel consumption, making regular check-ups on both front and rear wheels crucial.
Efficient fuel systems are key to vehicle power and performance and, as part of Wal-Mart’s continued commitment to assisting its customers with improved fuel economy, Tire & Lube Express introduces its new Fuel Injection Service for only $19.88. This two-step service, which features a liquid intake cleaner and a fuel system cleaner, takes only 15 - 20 minutes to complete.
It’s no secret that engines operating at peak performance levels require less fuel. Drivers should take vehicles for inspections and tune-ups on a regular basis, using approximately every 30,000 miles as a guideline. Problems such as worn spark plugs, clogged air and fuel filters should be repaired immediately to enhance maximum performance. The Associates at Wal- Mart Tire & Lube Express recommend changing oil every 3,000 miles; this service is available at all locations. The Best Value oil change starts at $21.96 and includes up to 5 quarts of featured oil, new oil filter, chassis lubrication, fluid check-and-fill, electronic battery test, interior vacuuming, tire pressure check and more.
Because gas expands during the day and exponentially in very warm temperatures, filling gas tanks in the cooler temperatures of early morning or evening is beneficial; especially during the heat of summer.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 50% of energy required in city driving is related to acceleration rather than sustained cruising. By anticipating traffic conditions, staying with traffic and gradually, smoothly increasing speed, the use of horsepower and fuel can be significantly minimized.