Even with relatively stable gas prices, the race is on to find the magic bullet that improves fuel economy. As all-electric vehicles start to replace combustion engines on the roads, the combustion engine engineers are leaving no stone unturned to improve efficiency and keep their products competitive.
In a postrecession world, many vehicle owners are still shaking and trying to hoard up any extra cash they can. An extra 50 bucks here or there can go a long way toward new aftermarket parts for a long-term vehicle investment. So what easy tricks can the average person do to put that gas guzzler on a diet?
Tip 1: Tune Up Your Vehicle
Your vehicle’s fuel efficiency may start to tank after about five years or more. It can be harder to pass emissions tests and qualify for your vehicle inspection sticker. The fuel mapping in your vehicle is usually the main issue when it comes to reduced fuel economy in aging vehicles. The sensors that help the engine management computer calculate fuel mapping can begin to build up internal resistance or otherwise deteriorate.
Changing your spark plugs, coolant temperature sensor, air filter, fuel filter, oxygen sensors; carrying out any throttle body or computer calibrations; and checking for vacuum leaks can drastically improve your fuel economy. The fuel mapping will never reach closed loop operation and can dump exorbitant amounts of fuel into a vehicle if the sensors are malfunctioning. A malfunctioning sensor may not set off a code because it is still sending a signal within range for a cold start.
Tip 2: Take Advantage of Economical Driving Techniques
If you have ever driven in a late-model vehicle that showed you a visual reading of gas consumption in real time, you figure out pretty fast that you are wasting a lot of gas by holding your foot on the pedal. The reality is that your combustion engine wastes a lot of fuel for no reason simply than to maintain a superstable speed.
Using cruise control or the pulse and glide method will diminish its reliance on fuel. When you pulse, you are hitting the gas pedal to accelerate rapidly and take advantage of your engine’s maximum efficiency.
Then, you can glide or coast along if you have new wheel bearings without much resistance. Adding a set of low-rolling resistance tires, driving below 65 mph, and keeping proper tire inflation are additional tricks that go a long way toward fuel efficiency.
Tip 3: Reduce Weight and Wind Resistance
Vehicles have what is called a power-to-weight ratio. The more weight that you have in your vehicle, the lower your power-to-weight ratio is and the less responsive your vehicle becomes.
Jettisoning things like full-size spare tires, junk in the trunk, and any superfluous item you may rarely use can help streamline your fuel economy. If your vehicle is a commuter and you never have other passengers, you may even want to remove the additional seats or upgrade your seats to lightweight aftermarket racing seats without power accessories to knock some pounds off it.
You also need to reduce drag from wind resistance to increase the aerodynamics for maximum fuel efficiency. Installing accessories like durable Toyota Tundra tonneau covers, for example, streamline your truck bed.
There is no magic bullet for the average consumer to maximize their MPG performance. Nevertheless, when you consider the engineering of your vehicle, it is easy to spot the problem areas. The solutions above are easy enough for anyone to apply.
Keeping your car running like a top mechanically and using intelligent driving habits will stretch those tanks every day. It is important to use the correct gasoline for your vehicle and refrain from idling as well. Newer vehicles are coming equipped with automatic idle on/off programming to eliminate the 0 MPG dead zone.