How Does Winter Affect Your BMW’s Fuel Economy?

How Does Winter Affect Your BMW’s Fuel Economy? - Motorwerkes - BMW-Certified Maintenance

As we’ve discussed in a number of different contexts, winter weather affects many aspects of owning and operating your BMW. Aside from maintenance and driving technique, there’s also the issue of fuel economy. So how does this time of year affect your milage and what can you do?

Atmospheric Conditions

When temperatures drop, they take a toll on your transmission, the viscosity of engine oil and other fluids, the time it takes your BMW to get to operating temperature, your alternator’s ability to charge your battery, and more. The system is further stressed by the power it requires to produce warm air, heat your seats, and other functions commonly used during this season. As if that weren’t bad enough, lower temperatures mean denser air, leading to increased aerodynamic drag. All this adds up to more fuel used and less overall efficiency.

Road Conditions

A vehicle’s fuel efficiency is also significantly dependent on the conditions of the surfaces it travels on. Build-up of snow, slush, ice, and road salt as well as weather damage to asphalt all mean irregular surfaces, a considerable increase in resistance, and a decrease in speed relative to fuel consumption. Understandably, slower and more cautious driving takes place once winter is underway, as it very well should. The side-effect of this caution is, however, lower fuel efficiency. And don’t forget, your tires lose pressure with every decrease in ambient temperature!

Addressing the Problem

As you can see, there is a pretty wide range of things working against your BMW on cold days as far as mileage is concerned. Fortunately, there are also ways of compensating for their effects. As is often the case, it’s attentiveness and all the little things that come together over time. Keep your BMW parked in a garage when possible to avoid a chilled engine, avoid using your heat, defrosters, and seat warmers more than you need, don’t take frequent short trips, and keep an eye on that tire pressure. If you need more specific milage tips according to your vehicle, feel free to ask a certified BMW technician!

Boosting fuel economy may seem like a slow endeavour, but good habits can add up to a big difference for your BMW and your wallet over time. If you’d like to improve performance while saving on costs, get in touch with Motorwerkes at (403) 768-3165 and we’ll be happy to help!