Tips on How to Improve Gas Mileage

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Introduction: Tips on How to Improve Gas Mileage

Unfortunately some of us have to drive large trucks either because of climate, work, location, or any combination of other things. Most of these large vehicles get very poor mileage, but but with proper care and maintenance we can improve it slightly.

Step 1: Get a Topper or Cover for Your Truck

Mythbusters have proved that these aren't the most fuel efficient when the truck is empty, but they didn't try it when it was full of wood or old appliances. A topper can really help when you are hauling bulky unaerodynamic objects by reducing the drag from wind.

Step 2: Reduce Weight

This one is pretty obvious. The more junk you have, the more power you need to haul it. Try to reduce all unnecessary weight. For example, get rid of steel racing jacks, and replace then with aluminum ones, or bottle jacks. Also clear out stuff that you don't need like shovels or bags of concrete or stones, and other stuff like that.

Step 3: Re-route Air Intakes

In the winter (especially in harsh northern climates) you should cover the front grill of your vehicle to increase the temperature of the air that is entering your engine. Blocking the front will force the air to be pulled past the hot metal of your engine resulting in better efficiency. This is especially true with diesel engines.

Step 4: Driving Habits

Another simple alternative is to drive more efficiently. Drive at around 55 mph, or the lowest rpm in your highest gear. You should also make sure overdrive is on, which tells your car to shift gears sooner. If you drive a manual, shift up into a higher gear as soon as possible.
When you are approaching a stop light, let the car coast for as long as you can. If you are far away and it is red, sometimes you can time it in a way that you won't even need your brakes. This will greatly increase mileage, considering that it takes the most energy to accelerate form a dead stop.

Step 5: Maintenance and Care

One of the most important things you can do for your vehicle is to make sure the tires are at the proper pressure, or maybe one or two psi higher. This will increase the tire's circumference, and also improve the way the tread wears.
Another simple one is to make sure your belts are in good condition. Slipping belts take more power to turn, and don't transmit as much energy.
Keep your fluids full and make sure you have plenty of coolant in the summer.
Use an oil that is a little less viscous (thinner) to decrease friction, or you could use synthetic (not recommended).
At every oil change (or possibly more frequently if your car is older) use an injector of carb cleaner or similar. All you have to do is pour it in your gas tank and it will dissolve gunk in your fuel system.

Step 6: Windows and AC

During the summertime avoid using your air conditioning as much as possible. It puts a lot of load on your car and uses lots of gas. Instead open your windows. Windows cause drag that can also decrease mileage, but not as much as your ac.
In the winter using your heater doesn't affect your mileage, it can actually help keep the engine cool on warmer days.

Step 7: Thats All for Now

Well, thats all I could think of right now.

If you have ideas or tips feel free to comment.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Don't forget to rate and vote!

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140 Comments

I can go easy on the brake ...But I like the gas pedal (Sniffle) I keep reading that my aggressive, proud, costly, incredibly and unmistakeably awesome driving is bad for the vehicle. I only drive a Dodge Dakota pickup but still I have that unquenchable NEED FOR SPEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dakota

what about when you arnt haling. it is better if you don't have one because most people don't keep things in thier truck. so put it this way. if you put a cap on then you are ruining the buble inside the bed even tho most of the time you arn't even carrying anything. it is better to stay away from thes caps.

What is the 'buble' (bubble?) inside the bed to which you refer? How does ruining it affect MPG?

when you don't have a cover over the bed on a truck a bubble of air forms in the bed, it goes over the top of the cab the cold air quickly sinks down, lightly deflects off the tailgate and pushes on the bottom of the cab, and escapes out the sides of the bubble, and that increases your mpg. if you put any kind of cover or it you drive with the tailgate down, you are reducing the gas millage of your truck. this was proven by Mithbusters.

truck.jpg

I do not EVER... take Mythbusters word for anything, I have seen so many blundering holes in their busting theories, They make swiss cheese look solid. It is an EASY experiment to do... run 5 gallons with the tailgate up and 5 with it down, and see how far you get... I'll bet its durn close either way... Anyway, I think my truck was built before they invented aerodynamics... (1975).

Ha! Good one, fotoboy- thanks!

I had no idea about this. I'd always thought pickup trucks were the least aerodynamic of all (outside of "real" trucks and semi-trailers). Shows how little I really do know, eh?! Thanks for setting me straight, with a diagram, no less!

asshat.jpg

Thanks for the tips... one big one you mentioned is keeping speed down... I got a 5mpg bump when I slowed my minivan down from 80 to 70... just a thought

Ok, this is just stupid... if this were such a good idea, they would be built this way.

I agree. I may not use all the tools on every trip, but if it was ever necessary to go back and get tools that I needed, then this would negate any fuel savings from not having the tools with me. That being said, I still sometimes take the toolbox out when I know I won't need it. Also I hope to replace my steel toolbox with a plastic one.

I sometimes put the AC on for a minute when I'm going downhill, or decelerating, thereby using some of the energy that would otherwise go into the brakes.
They say you're supposed to put the AC on at least once a week anyway to lube the seals.

Sometimes when I'm quickly approaching a red light, and I have an idea of when it will turn green, I brake fairly hard for just a second or two to shed some speed. I try to brake just enough, early on, so that I don't have to brake anymore as I approach the light. In theory, this is the most efficient, but it's tricky and complicated to optimize.