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How to Improve the Gas Mileage on an General Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

An Equinox AWD is categorized as a "crossover" in the automotive industry. A convenient cross between a standard 4-door car, minivan and SUV, the crossover resembles what used to be known as a "station wagon." While this practical vehicle is popular among small families, it is also appealing to anyone who wants something larger than a car, but without the gas-guzzling reputation of a sports utility vehicle. With the rising costs of gasoline, even a crossover owner can benefit from applying several easy habits to improve gas mileage on their Equinox AWD.

Under The Hood:

 How to Increase Fuel Mileage on a 2.4L

Take your vehicle for regular tune-ups, at least once a year. A professional mechanic will be able to identify any problems with your 2.4 liter engine and fix them (See Ref. 1). You also need to change your engine oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. When you change the oil, try using a synthetic oil, as it will decrease friction and allow your 2.4 to run more efficiently. Your maintenance regimen should also include checking the air filter and ensuring that your tires are fully inflated.

Reduce the burden on your 2.4 by decreasing the amount of weight it has to move. Basically, this entails removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle. If you have aftermarket accessories, uninstall them. If you're carrying cargo, take it out before beginning a trip. Just 100 pounds of unnecessary weight can lower your fuel economy by 2 percent (See Ref. 2).

Limit your speed. At higher speeds, your 2.4 liter engine must provide extra power to propel the vehicle forward against increased air resistance. Try to keep your speeds below 60 mph whenever feasible. Whenever you increase your speed beyond 60 mph, you begin to lose miles per gallon (See Ref. 3). In case you can't help yourself, use cruise control when driving on the highway to keep a cap on your speeding.

Do not allow your 2.4 liter engine to idle for more than a few minutes at a time. For example, if you find yourself stuck in line at the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, turn off your vehicle while you wait.

Accelerate slowly and come to a stop gradually. Not only will this save other mechanical components of your vehicle from heavy wear and tear, you'll increase the fuel efficiency of your 2.4 liter engine.

Avoid simple fixes like gasoline additives. According to the Federal Trade Commission, additive mixtures and gas-saving devices offer very little, if any, benefit (See Ref 2). Maintaining your vehicle and changing wasteful driving habits provides more noticeable gas-saving benefits.

 How to Increase the Fuel Mileage of a Diesel Truck

Perform regular, general maintenance on your diesel truck. This simply involves checking your tires to ensure they are properly inflated, and checking your engine oil and transmission fluid. When it's time to change your oil, switch over to a high quality synthetic because this will decrease friction and thereby enable your engine to run more efficiently. Change out your regular transfer case and differential oil with a good synthetic as well.

Install a diesel performance module on your truck. A performance module, or chip, will essentially reprogram your diesel engine and allow it run more efficiently. This increase in efficiency will not only translate into more power, it will also mean greater fuel mileage. In a test conducted by Truck World, one diesel truck gained a 16 percent improvement in fuel mileage after the installation of a diesel performance chip.

Equip your diesel truck with a performance-based exhaust system. Oftentimes, the exhaust system placed on your truck by the manufacturer is not designed for power or fuel efficiency, but rather basic functionality. A performance exhaust is usually wider in diameter, meaning your truck has to work less to expel the exhaust. As your engine works less, it saves fuel and even gains in power.

Replace your original air filter with a high quality, high performance air filter. This new filter will increase both the flow of air and the quality of air to your engine. In turn, your engine will be able to run more smoothly. Once again, a diesel engine that is running smoothly is saving fuel.

Drive your diesel-powered truck sensibly. Installing new parts on your truck will help fuel mileage, but they can only go so far. As the driver, you have control over how efficiently your truck operates. Simply put, obey the posted speed limit and do not drive aggressively. Do not slam on your brakes at the last moment. Also avoid extremely rapid acceleration.

 How to Increase Gas Mileage on a Yukon Tahoe

Keep your truck's engine in good working condition. It is essential. If your engine grinds for just 10 seconds when you start it, you are wasting enough gas to go two miles. Check with the manufacturer and have it serviced based on their guidelines. If you notice any noises or other changes in how your truck runs, take it to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Check your tire pressure every time you get gas (see Resources below). Low tire pressure cause tires to drag and your truck to use more gas. Consider that when the temperature drops more then 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it can cause the pressure in tires to drop by one pound.

Check your air filter every 15,000 miles (see Resources below). A clogged air filter can reduce your truck's gas mileage by up to 10 percent.

Replace your vehicle's spark plugs every 30,000 miles (see Resources below). Over time, spark plugs erode and reduce the engine's efficiency.

Use the oil grade specified in your owner's manual when changing the oil. If your oil is too thick, it won't flow as quickly and will cause drag on your engine, resulting in more gas needed to power the engine. Switching to a high-quality synthetic grade oil can also improve your gas mileage.

Improve your car's aerodynamics. This can be done by removing roof racks, bug deflectors and sunroof wind deflectors or by adding a grill block, smooth wheel covers or rear-wheel skirts.

Remove any excess weight from your car including any heavy bags (when not needed) and extra seats.

Turn off your air conditioner whenever you don't need it unless you are going on the highway, when it is better to use the air conditioning than drive with the windows open.

 How to Improve the Gas Mileage on an Equinox AWD

Reduce any excess weight your crossover is carrying. Tempting as it may be to store items in the trunk, seriously consider whether or not the things you are keeping there need to be toted on your daily runs. Although keeping a cargo rack on top may be more convenient than taking it down and putting it back up each time you need it, every bit of extra weight impacts the amount of fuel your car requires to run. Decreasing the weight in the car allows your motor to work more effectively without depleting its gas tank.

Change your air filter on a regular basis. Clean air filters allow your Equinox's engine to use gas more efficiently. When the filter can "breathe," the correct balance of air combines with fuel to allow the engine to run smoothly. A dirty air filter forces more gasoline to be used to help the motor work harder at taking in a sufficient amount of air.

Accelerate slowly and steadily while driving. Sudden, forceful thrusts of the gas pedal causes a huge amount of gasoline to be burned unnecessarily. Although such speed tactics may accomplish fast motion, the ultimate result is likely to be an inconvenient trip to the gas station. As with any vehicle, your crossover's engine can last much longer when it is not being continuously stressed and requiring huge amounts of gasoline to accommodate an impatient driver.

Reconsider air conditioning. Although hot days may make the fuel cost worth the cool-down, keep in mind that your Equinox's air conditioning requires gasoline to operate. This may seem like an inevitable situation, since rolling down the windows also uses more gasoline by creating an aerodynamic "dragging" effect. However, cracking the windows may be the middle-of-the-road solution to otherwise costly fuel users.

Drive on the highway, when there is an option. While the highway tolls of some locations may seem inconvenient, the stop and go traffic of cities and towns by far creates a greater gas mileage expense. Using your Equinox's cruise control at a steady speed on the highway may not only get you to your destination faster, but it is easier on the engine. When the engine is not working as hard at braking and accelerating, it uses a minimal amount of gasoline to run effectively.

 How to Improve Gas Mileage for a 5.7-Liter HEMI

Reduce your speed. Unfortunately, the faster you are driving, the more gas your truck is guzzling. Most vehicles use significantly more gas above 60 mph. Dropping your speed just five miles per hour can save you money.

Inflate your tires to the recommended psi, and keep an eye on the pressure by checking it once a week. Underinflated tires can create drag that will decrease precious available miles from your tank of gas.

Check what grade of oil is recommended for your vehicle. Try to stick to that manufacturer recommendation since using a different grade of oil can decrease your miles per gallon.

Avoid the tendency to fill up the bed of your truck. Yes, with that powerful HEMI at the helm, you can haul heavy loads. But you shouldn't unless you have to. Just 100 pounds of extra weight in the bed of your truck can lower your mpg as much as 2 percent, according to the Fuel Economy website.

Stop leaving your truck in idle while you run into the store. Idling burns fuel while giving you zero miles to the gallon. A large engine like the 5.7-liter HEMI eats up gas when at an idle.

Use overdrive and cruise control when you are on the highway. Every little bit helps, and maintaining a speed or using overdrive to lower your engine's speed can help save gas. Plan your routes so that you can take care of multiple errands in one trip. Keeping your truck's HEMI warmed up will use less gas than multiple cold starts.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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