What part of a car has the most significant effect on its fuel economy?


Posted by: Oluwaseun Solomon

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Do you frown at bad fuel economy? In this one article, Naijauto.com will help you figure out which part of your car you should keep always in good condition.

When you start facing bad fuel economy with your car, lots of question start peeping into your mind. Questions like: what is causing this problem in my car? Could it be my driving method? Or is it the vehicle’s engine oil type? Could it be a component in my vehicle causing this?

It’s totally normal and natural to have these questions popping in your head without any specific answer whatsoever. And you might have even tried paying attention to some parts of your car to see if they were the culprit, all to no avail. Or you even tried replacing some components you suspected, yet no impressive result at all and you still keep getting bad fuel economy. Well, seems it’s time to say goodbye to all those brute force approaches because Naijauto.com specifically had this article drawn out from different reliable resources to deliver the best information on how to discover and locate the actual culprit component 😊.

We have put this piece together to answer the topic question - what part of a car has the most significant effect on its fuel economy? Read on.

Car parts that are important when it comes to fuel economy

Before we dive into listing out or discussing any of this part, we will like to first point out a simple fact to you: Replace worn out car parts to help your car have good fuel economy. Yes, you read that right. If you replace all the worn parts of your car and also follow some really nice maintenance advice like the ones we have here at Naijauto.com under our car maintenance tips and advice section. Take it or leave it, you would have done 50% of the job of saving your car from bad fuel economy doing that alone.

Image of a Nigerian man's hand holding the nozzle and money as he re-fills a car with fuel

Spending too much on gas when a car has a bad fuel economy can be highly frustrating

So, if you have all worn parts replaced already and still face bad fuel economy, let’s proceed. Here are the parts you should look closely into as suspects:

1. The oxygen sensor in the car

An oxygen sensor is a component you should find mounted in all the cars manufactured after the year 1995. This sensor sends important information to the car’s computer which this computer uses in adjusting the car’s fuel injection. This information is more of a set of data from the sensor’s calculation of the exhaust flow before & after the catalytic converter. Now, you can imagine the repercussions if this component that does all this calculation is not functioning properly. The fact that this sensor affects the gas mileage of your car will make it transmit erroneous data when faulty, and this will, in turn, affect your car’s gas mileage. All leading to the bad fuel economy of the car.

2. The mass air flow sensor in the car

The Mass Air Flow (MAF) in your car is a crucial component that contributes to the car’s fuel efficiency. Just like the oxygen sensor, the MAF also transmits data to the car’s computer. But its own data is quite different because its function is to measure the amount of fuel that is entering the car’s engine. The data it transmits to the vehicle’s computer is a calculation based on the amount of fuel it senses.

How to Clean Your Mass Air Flow Sensor

So, if your car has a dirty or bad MAF, it will be transmitting an outbalance calculation to the computer; this will definitely affect the fuel injection in the car and overall bad fuel economy. You can easily determine the condition of your car’s MAF by scanning the vehicle’s computer codes. You can do this on your own or simply seek the help of an automotive expert in case you get confused or lost along the line.

Oxygen sensor and MAF sensor are 2 of the 7 most important sensors in your car engine.

3. The car’s air filter

This component has a self-defining name. Isn’t it? “Air filter” as it’s called, is also its function. This component gets really dirty sometimes and especially in old cars, it reduces the gas mileage. This mostly happens as a result of continuous air flow through the already dirty air filter. And the most ridiculous thing about this component is that it is relatively quick and easy to change. So, what are you waiting for? It will be very wise to get the air filter changed timely before it even becomes extremely dirty and starts affecting the car’s fuel economy. 

Decreased fuel mileage is just one of the 5 common problems caused by clogged air filter, including black exhaust fume and harsh engine sound.

4. The spark plugs in the engine

Did you know that the spark plugs in your car, are the ones that are actually responsible for igniting the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber of your car engine? But during excessive fuel consumption, misfire is caused over there as oil will keep spilling all over these spark plugs. Apart from this, a clear pointer towards bad mileage in your car is when you notice your car vibrates and also struggle to even accelerate. Two possible reasons could be behind this; either the spark plugs are dead or the ignition coil is worn out. Usually, the engine’s heat would have worn out the ignition coil and made it worse. So, a bad ignition coil is mostly the culprit.

>>> Also check out: How to interpret your spark plug for identifying deeper problems?

5. Look at your car tires (we mean it)

This point might sound dumb at first, right? Well, it’s not. Let’s tell you why it’s not.

Worn-out tires, underinflated tires or non-aligned tires all directly affect your car’s fuel efficiency and handling.

Image of a Volkswagen beetle car tire

Regularly check your car tires’ alignment, pressure, and timely inflation to avoid bad fuel economy

When you take to realize that these tires are responsible for maintaining friction the road surface and the vehicle itself. So, their alignment, pressure and timely inflation checking are unavoidable if you really want to save your car from bad fuel economy.

Our Conclusion

If you read this article well from the beginning till this point, we are sure you are now very much aware of components you should be concerned about regarding your car’s fuel economy. And in addition to all we have said above, we will also advise that you adopt some simple driving tips. Tips like light braking and gradual acceleration. All these small kinds of stuff add up.

>>> Editor's suggestion:

Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon

Market news

Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at Naijauto.com. He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes informative and easy to read articles on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing music, editing videos or simply enjoying YouTube "TEDx Talk" videos with a chilled drink :)

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