The Complete Guide To The Winter Fuel Economy (and how to improve yours)

Photo byJuan Fernandez onUnsplash

 

Although California is somewhat spared from the harsh winters some of the northern states experience, knowing how to keep your fuel economy at optimal levels is vital if you travel during the coldest months of the year. This article will explain why the cold lowers your fuel economy and how to decrease its impact.

 

Why is the fuel economy significantly lower during winter?

 

If you are traveling away from California to a colder state in January, the weather can take its toll on your vehicle in various ways, such as:

 

  • Increasing the engine and transmission friction due to the cold.
     

  • Heated seats and heater fans will be needed, and they take a lot of additional power.
     

  • You’ll have to warm up your vehicle, which lowers your fuel economy.
     

  • Battery performance decreases.
     

With that being said, things are not so black and white. Even though you won’t be able to eradicate the effect of the cold on your vehicle, you can reduce it to some extent by implementing a couple of these tips:

 

How To Improve Your Fuel Economy:

 

An excellent way to start is to park your car in warmer places, as this will increase the temperature, and you won’t need to spend time warming your vehicle up before a trip. Of course, it’d be easy not to take long trips at all during winter, but we all know that’s not possible. You can, however, combine your travels and ensure that you drive less often with an engine below the optimal temperature.

 

Even if you don’t have good warm places at the moment, you should decrease the time you idle your car exponentially anyway. Anything after 30 seconds is too much, and the only thing that happens is increased emissions. 

 

Accessories such as seat warmers or defrosters should also be “regulated” and used methodically. Removing any accessories that might increase wind resistance is also helpful to keep in mind.

 

Even if you implement all of the tips and techniques we mentioned, we must warn you again that the lowered winter fuel economy will not return to its “former glory.” Carmakers haven’t yet invented a model that can withstand the harsh winters perfectly, and it probably doesn’t have to! The goal is not for your fuel economy to be incredible, but well enough. After all, winter is not precisely the month of frequent trips for most people.


If you are still looking for more information regarding the fuel economy during winter, let us help you out! If you want your vehicle to be in top shape, regular inspections and consultations are the way to go. An experienced mechanic can predict what will go wrong before it goes wrong. That’s where we come in! At Autotrend Diagnostics, we’re dedicated to solving any problem or “pain” your vehicle is or might be experiencing! If you are ready, let’s talk! Please schedule an appointment for service, or contact us online for a stress-free auto repair experience. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for news and updates. See you soon!

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