Here's another easy way to boost your gas mileage, and help maintain your car's engine to boot: change the air filter. Swapping a dusty, dirty air filter for a new one can improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent and result in gas savings of about 32 cents a gallon.
If you have your oil changed at Jiffy Lube or a similar quick lube joint, you know that they hit you up to change your air filter practically every time. Don't fall for it. And even if you do need a new air filter, buy one elsewhere and change it yourself — you'll pay about $5 to $10 for a new filter from an auto parts store vs. anywhere from $15 to $30 from the lube joint.
How often you should replace the air filter depends on where you live and drive. City slickers should probably do so once or twice a year, or after 12,000 to 15,000 miles. Rural residents or those who regularly drive on non-paved roads might need to change their filters more often.
For almost all cars, changing your air filter is easy — if you can turn a screwdriver, you can do it. Start to finish, you can change the filter in less time that it takes to wash your car. You probably won't need any more tools than a screwdriver; for many cars you won't even need that.
John Rockhold is a green car enthusiast and Contributing Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find him on Google+.
Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!LEARN MORE