Top 5 Ways You’re Needlessly Adding Weight to Your Car

One of the simplest ways for you to increase your car’s gas mileage is to reduce all of the excess weight you’re carrying around.  According to FuelEconomy.gov for every extra 100 pounds you carry around in your car, you’ll reduce its gas mileage by 2%.

So, with that being said, what extra things are you needlessly carrying around in your car that could be reducing its gas mileage?

Here’s the top five list of common items that you might be carrying around in your car and effectively reducing your gas mileage:

  1. Sports equipment.  Golf clubs, baseball bats, cleats, basketballs – all that stuff needlessly adds weight to your car.  So, take all of this stuff out of your car when you’re not going to be using it.
  2. Your cases of CDs.  The other day I took two full books of CDs out of my car.  Just for fun I weighed the two of them and found out that I had been carrying around 35 extra pounds in my car.
  3. Unused child safety seats.  Now, I know it’s a pain to schlep this stuff in and out of the car, but if you’re really trying to improve gas mileage, it may be worth considering taking unused safety seats out of your car.
  4. Miscellaneous trunk items.  Tool boxes, luggage,
  5. You.  If you’re overweight you’re bringing down your car’s fuel economy.  Lose some weight, get better gas mileage.

Anyway, if you can get all of the excess items out of your car, you should see a jump in your car’s gas mileage.  As I’ve said before many times on this site, every little bit counts.

Comments

  1. I agree – weight is the enemy!!

    I cant stand to see cars getting heavier and heavier, do people really need a car that weighs over 3200 pounds anyways?

  2. Ankur – thanks for the comment. I definitely agree with you regarding the lack of a need for the massive vehicles that a lot of us drive around. Fortunately, I think we’re starting to see a shift toward people purchasing lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles – which may be the only good thing that comes out of consistently high gas prices.

  3. How much does a spare tire/jack mounting mechanism weigh? How many times in the last 50,000 miles have you needed these, even though you lugged them around for 50,000 miles? We don’t lug around a spare alternator “just in case” or a spare starter motor “just in case”, why a spare tire? Pretty much every car on the road is lugging around this very seldom needed weight. Most people I would guess would not even change their own tire and would call on the cell phone to a road service. I propose that except for a long trip maybe, that people take out the spare tire and associated tools and keep them in their garage. What do you think?

  4. The spare tire is an interesting idea. I’ve never had a flat ( crosses fingers ) but I know it’d be a PITA to get one and not have a spare handy…. so I’m not sure that I’d be willing to take the risk. Perhaps I’ll just look for runflat tires on my next car?

  5. whatabout exchanging your spare tire and jack etc for a can of that tire fixer stuff that inflates and fixes your tire? would that work?

  6. The gas in your tank weighs over eight pounds per gallon. Consider filling your tank only half way.

  7. Brandon Fredriksen says:

    Actually, gas only weighs about 6.2-6.3 pounds per gallon. It is not the same weight as a gallon of water (8.34 lbs) so that information is false. Also, filling your tank halfway, means you have to spend more time at the pump re-fueling as well as possibly causing faster deterioration of your fuel pump and fuel filter as you have the potential to drive around me on almost empty tank by filling up only halfway each time vs. all the way. Just my $0.02.

  8. @Brandon
    Actually, depends in if you’re using US gallons or Imperial gallons.

    US gallon of water weighes 8.345kg
    Imp. gallon of water weighes 10.022kg

    So don’t split hairs over figures for no good reason other than to pick holes in someone’s good, and valid suggestion. Just my two cents.

  9. @ Andy
    some manufacturers are indeed listing it as an option to replace the spare tire with an inflator/sealer kit. the ford focus is one i know of right off hand. tire sealers (aka fix-a-flat) won’t work in every situation, for instance if something punctures the side of the tire. personally, i’ll keep my spare. your tires go through more extreme changes of operating condition than anything else on your car. next time you drive anywhere, try to keep track of how many different surface types you drive on, and what condition they’re in.

    another place to look for “empty” weight is in your glovebox or center console.

  10. good

  11. william bennett says:

    Just wondering what is the weight of a steel spare wheel for a city car?
    How much weight can be saved converting from steel to alloy wheels?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The blog suggests dropping weight buy unloading your trunk of needless stuff, removing most compact discs, etc. It also suggests we, um, shed some pounds of our own. [...]

  2. [...] you're not in violation of carrying excess baggage? Check out this blog post called Top 5 Ways You’re Needlessly Adding Weight to Your Car. What you find may suprise [...]

  3. [...] Drop the Load. I am guilty of this one. Sometimes, I’ll carry around a bunch of things I want to ignore for a while in the back of my SUV and thus weigh it down. The engine has to work harder to go the same distance and burns more fuel in the process. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce a typical car’s fuel economy by up to two percent. [...]

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