How to Get Better MPG in Vehiclesby Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017
The Vehicles stands as one of the best-selling sport-utility Vehicles of all time. While the Vehicles boasted many strong points, fuel economy has not been one of them. Fortunately, owners can improve their gas mileage without spending a great deal of money.
Under The Hood:
- How to Get Better MPG in a Trailblazer
- How to Get Better MPG in a 2002 Ford Explorer
- How to Get Better MPG With a Toyota Yaris
- How to Get a Better MPG In a Dodge V10
Lighten your load. While you may be driving a Trailblazer because of a need to haul things, don't leave unnecessary cargo in it. For every 250 pounds of extra weight you're driving around with, you reduce fuel efficiency by about one percent.
Tighten the gas cap to prevent fuel from evaporating from the tank through the fill tube. Nearly 147 million gallons of fuel is lost each year through this gap, according to the Car Care Council.
Don't let your car idle for more than 30 seconds. If you're stuck at a long light, waiting for someone dashing into a store, or watching a long freight train go by, turn off the engine.
Accelerate slowly and evenly. Just because your Trailblazer can go from zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds doesn't mean you have to. Quick acceleration can reduce your Trailblazer's fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent. Also, using cruise control when on the highway will help you maintain a constant speed, which will increase fuel efficiency.
Drive with the windows closed when driving on the highway. This reduces the amount of drag on the car and will also reduce fuel consumption. Folding in any bike or luggage racks that aren't in use will also help streamline the vehicle and reduce aerodynamic drag.
Begin by checking the pressure on all four tires when the tires are cool. As insufficient tire pressure increases the rolling resistance of a tire, simply pumping up the tires can provide a noticeable increase in fuel economy. Read the maximum pressure on the tire sidewall and inflate the tire to within four to five pounds of this pressure.
Inspect the air filter for excess dirt, leaves and grass. A dirty air filter restricts the motor's ability to breathe, which adversely impacts fuel economy. Replace dirty or clogged filters. For maximum fuel economy, consider installing a high-flow air filter such as the K&N Filtercharger, which can be used in place of the old filter without modifications. Additionally, many high-flow filters can be cleaned, oiled and reused, unlike traditional paper filters.
Replace the old spark plugs with a high-efficiency, high-discharge platinum or yttrium unit available at any auto parts store. While these multi-spark plugs cost more than typical replacement plugs, they usually last longer and offer small increases in both fuel efficiency and horsepower. The 2002 Explorer's large engine bay makes plug replacement easier than on smaller vehicles. Make sure to spray the old plugs with a non-silicone lubricant such as PB blaster before attempting removal.
Replace the motor oil with a low-resistance oil such as Mobil One's 0W-30 synthetic. Zero-weight oils pump faster at starting temperatures than the 5- and 10-weight oils usually installed by oil-change facilities, and offer a small increase in fuel economy due to the lowered internal resistance of the engine. Using synthetic motor oil will also allow you to increase your oil-change intervals, which will save you on maintenance costs.
Modify your driving habits. Due to its size and squarish design, the 2002 Explorer creates more wind resistance than the small, bullet-shaped mini-SUVs many drivers are turning to today. As wind resistance increases exponentially with speed, avoiding high-speed driving will eliminate unnecessary wind resistance. Avoid jackrabbit starts in city driving and excessive acceleration in stop-and-go situations such as heavy traffic or streets with stop signs on every block. Question whether you really need to accelerate to the full speed limit on a street where you can see you will have to stop in just a few moments.
Items you will need
Tire pressure gauge
Check your tire pressure before you drive to make sure the tires are properly inflated. The Yaris’ standard pressure is 33 PSI, and even a slight decrease of 1 PSI in pressure could affect your efficiency. Insert your tire pressure gauge into the valve on your tire and press down firmly until the gauge takes a reading.
Remove excess weight from the hatchback, which easily stores unneeded junk, and any bike rack or heavy piece of equipment that you’re not using. Items like these can weigh your small Yaris down and make its engine work harder.
Perform routine maintenance on a regular basis, including oil changes at every 5,000 miles or 6 months, say the Toyota dealerships. According to Edmunds.com, washing the exterior also helps improve efficiency.
Turn your engine off if you anticipate idling for more than 30 seconds. Running the engine unnecessarily burns more fuel than just starting and stopping your vehicle.
Avoid turning on the air conditioner unless absolutely necessary. This puts added strain on your engine and consumes more fuel. However, if you are driving at high speeds on the highway, it is more efficient to turn on the air than to roll down your windows.
Keep your speed under 65 MPH to optimize fuel consumption. The most efficient speed at which to travel is 60 MPH, so keeping your speed between 55 and 65 MPH will give you the best mileage.
Maintain a consistent speed on the highway, and even on city streets, when you can. Accelerate and brake slowly, over longer distances. According to a blogger at GetRichSlowly.org, “Aside from purchasing a new vehicle, this is the single most effective step you can take to reduce your costs.”
Items you will need
Tire pressure gauge
Follow the maintenance recommendations for your vehicle. Bring it to your local Dodge dealer or a reputable mechanic for routine oil changes, spark plug replacements, and fuel filter inspections. The Edmunds website also recommends using specified octane levels of gasoline and grades of motor oil to improve vehicle efficiency.
Properly inflate your tires. The Fuel Economy website states that a 3.3 percent improvement in gas mileage can be achieved by inflating tires to the proper pressure. Correct pressure recommendations can be found on the white sticker on the inside of the driver's door jamb.
Take items you do not need in the vehicle out of it. Decreasing the weight of the vehicle also decreases the workload and results in more effective fuel use.
Drive slower and less aggressively. Highway driving is typically more efficient than city driving because of fewer instances of acceleration. Avoid braking and accelerating quickly just to brake again. Using cruise control and avoiding speeds over 60 miles per hour are recommended by Fuel Economy.
Turn off the air conditioning. This reduces the workload on the engine as well. If you must do something to keep cool, roll down your windows while city driving and use the air conditioning at highway speeds.