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How Do I Improve Gas Mileage for a Chevy S10 With a 4.3 Engine?

by Arthur Barnhouse

The Chevy S10 was a compact pickup manufactured from 1982 to 2004. Throughout its production, the S10 came equipped with a variety of body styles and engine types. The six-cylinder, 4.3L engine was the largest, most powerful engine to be placed in the S10. Gas mileage for the 4.3L engine varied slightly through the years. Generally, an S10 with a 4.3 engine managed in the mid- to high teens in city driving and the low- to mid-20s on the highway.

Remove any and all extra weight from the truck. Just an additional 100 pounds will reduce your S10's gas mileage by as much as 2 percent, according to the Federal Trade Commission. This means you should unload unnecessary cargo and strip away cosmetic aftermarket accessories, such as a truck cap, guards, larger tires and heavier-than-stock wheels.

Drive your S10 in two-wheel drive as often as possible if the truck is equipped with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive should be used only when extra traction is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, driving in four-wheel drive will drastically reduce your fuel efficiency.

Drive your S10 within the speed limit. Although the truck has a powerful 4.3 engine, neither it nor the transmission was designed for high-end speeds. Rather, it was built for low-end power and torque. Thus, your truck will begin to experience reduced gas mileage when driven at higher speeds, that is, above 60 mph.

Provide the proper maintenance for your Chevy S10. The older your truck and the greater the mileage, the more likely it is to lose gas mileage. You can prevent this loss and even increase your miles per gallon by changing the oil approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Also, check the truck's spark plugs, air filter, oxygen sensors and fuel injectors to ensure they are clean and working properly.

Use the S10's overdrive or the highest gear when driving on the highway. Lower gears will cause the 4.3 engine to run at a high RPM, which reduces gas mileage. To achieve the best mileage, go through the lower gears as quickly as possible to arrive at cruising speed. If you're driving on a flat stretch of roadway with relatively little traffic, also use cruise control if your truck has it equipped.

Check the S10's tires. Although low tire pressure works well in certain off-road situations, it is not recommended for daily driving, as it causes extra wear on the tires and reduces gas mileage. To improve your truck's mpg, check the recommended pressure on the tires and inflate them accordingly.

About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.

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