Tips to Maintain Your Fuel Economy this Winter

It's the first day of autumn and now the end of September and our beautiful summer days have officially gone! Winter is just around the corner and the chilly rain soon to follow. Believe it or not, cold weather can affect your vehicle in many ways, especially when it is used to operating in warmer temperatures. Some of these affects can include:


Engine and transmission friction increases (Due to cold engine oil and other fluids)

• It may take longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature

• More power is used for heated seats, defrosters, and heater fans

• Lowered your fuel economy when you warm up your vehicle before starting a trip

• Decreased tire pressure

• Slightly less energy per gallon in winter grades of gasoline

• Battery performance decreases, which makes it harder for your alternator to keep your battery charged

When winter temperatures become severe, your fuel economy can drop even further. Your tire grip decreases significantly, which uses more energy on top of using more gas driving at slower speeds (ex. below 40 mph). The key is not to drive too fast, but not too slow either. If you own a Hybrid, the effects are worse.

Now that you have this important information, I am sure that you are wondering you can do to improve your fuel economy during the winter months? Here are a few tips:

  • If you have a garage, always park inside it to increase the initial temperature of your engine and cabin.
  • Combine trips when possible so that you drive less often
  • Minimize idling your car to warm it up. Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner, decrease your fuel costs, and reduce emissions.
  • Don't use seat warmers or defrosters more than you need to
  • Check your tire pressure on a regular basis
  • Use only the manufacturer recommended oil type for cold weather driving
  • Remove accessories that increase wind resistance (such as headlights and roof racks) when you don’t need them
  • If you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, preheat the cabin while it is plugged into the charger
  • Also for hybrids, you can opt to use seat warmers instead of the regular car heater, you can save energy and extend range
  • Keep your gas tank full as a half-full tank can make additives evaporate and cause pollution

It is important to note that drivers should never use the same techniques used in the summer to improve fuel economy. If you have questions or concerns about your vehicle, be sure to contact your McDavid Nissan Service Advisor. Additionally, we have many service specials available to get your car in tip top shape for the coming season. Have questions? Give us a call at (832) 554-9746.

Photo Credit: HD Wallpapers

Categories: Service


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