Fuel Economy Discuss tips and tricks for better fuel ecomony.

General tips for FE

Old 12-05-2018, 12:25 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2015
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Default General tips for FE

Tires: this goes beyond simply air pressure, although that is an important part. Tread design is another, as well as the proper size and load rating. When in doubt, look at your car's tire information placard. It will have the proper size, load, and speed rating. The wrong load rating can take a 1 MPG hit all by itself over the same model tire. Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires are becoming more popular, and are usually marketed as such. Still, keeping the pressure up, and the rating correct, is very important.

Alignment: if the alignment of the car is off, the tires can 'scrub' as they roll down the road. This causes excess friction and drag, which causes the engine to have to work harder. Checking the alignment with proper equipment is the only way to be sure everything is in specification. Worn bushings and steering components can cause the alignment to be out.

Trim pieces and shields: the car was designed to be both slick on the top AND the bottom. Missing shields under the car can not only make the engine take longer to reach operating temperature, they can also cause extra wind resistance when traveling down the road, and the faster you go, the worse it becomes. Missing grill inserts, missing lower splash shields, missing/damaged fender liners, can all contribute to this problem.

Thermostat: if the engine cannot reach proper operating temperature as quickly as possible and maintain it, it will cause more fuel to be used. Don't assume the gauge (or light) is enough to tell you the engine coolant is warm enough. Thermostats don't last forever, and one that cannot do its job properly needs to be replaced.

Timing: Just a few degrees can make a substantial difference. If the timing belt was installed wrong, your timing will be off. Period. While there is some sliding scale here, as some timing settings favor power over economy, keep this in mind when you set the timing after the belt is installed.

Air cleaner/air flow sensor (MAF): these items need to be in proper condition, and work in conjunction with the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) for proper engine function. A little bit off, or dirty, or poor quality/fitment can cause some adverse performance.

Brakes: many cars, have chronic stuck parking brake cables. This causes the rear brakes to drag, and you may not notice... it 'll just eat more fuel to move the car down the road. Also, brake pad perches can rust up, and cause the pads to seize in their spots, dragging the brakes.

Spark Plugs: The plugs last a real long long time, but they don't last forever.

Driving style: Jack rabbit starts, over-stressing a cold engine, excessive braking, not good. Running a warm engine to high RPMs at higher road speeds occasionally can actually be good for the car.

Excess weight: we can call this a minor one, but let's face it, dragging 50 pounds of tools, a stack of bricks, your entire CD collection, your golf clubs, the collected works of Charles Dickens, and 70 bottles of water around in your car is not really necessary.
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