Fuel efficiency is one of the most important aspects of a vehicle for modern drivers, but the type of powertrain from which a vehicle draws its power is only one thing that affects how much you'll burn. Having the vehicle regularly serviced is also crucial if you're going to go as far as possible on a single tank, so make sure yours is well looked after if you want to lower your fuel costs and reduce your carbon footprint.

Here are the top five things to look out for.

1. Faulty Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter is part of your exhaust system; it's responsible for turning harmful emissions into benign ones, and a faulty one will lead to the consumption of significantly more fuel. This is because you'll need to use more fuel to achieve the same level of performance that you're used to. Luckily, a replacement isn't too expensive.

2. Poorly-Aligned Wheels

Poorly-aligned wheels come with a number of negative effects, and one of them is a marked decrease in efficiency. Misaligned wheels won't be rolling true; instead, part of the tire will be dragging slightly, so your car will become less efficient. If your car is pulling to the left or right while driving, or refusing to remain on course, it's probably down to poorly-aligned wheels.

3. Underinflated Tires

Like wheel misalignment and a faulty catalytic converter, underinflated tires will damage performance just as much as efficiency. An underinflated tire will meet the road with more of its surface area than is necessary, causing a sluggish feel and a noticeable drop in fuel economy. Remember to check every few months; there are plenty of factors that can cause your tires to become underinflated.

4. Misfiring Engine

If your engine is misfiring, it means that you're not getting enough power out of the engine. You'll then need to compensate by pushing down the accelerator further, consuming more fuel in the process. Worn or dirty spark plugs, poor wiring, or weak ignition coils can all cause your engine to misfire, as can a number of other factors.

5. Defective Thermostat

A thermostat that isn't working properly doesn't help your mileage one bit. Engines run differently at different temperatures, with a cold engine needing more fuel than a warm one. Your thermostat ensures that the engine reaches the correct temperature as quickly as possible. Many modern cars have a computer controlling the fuel system, and a problem with the thermostat can cause the engine to run colder than it should, prompting the computer to send more fuel than is required.

Servicing is something that should happen regularly if you want to make sure you get as many miles as possible out of each litre. Make sure you schedule regular servicing appointments, and be sure to get the vehicle seen to as soon as possible if you're experiencing, or think you're experiencing, any of the issues above.

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