How to Improve the Mileage on Toyota Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

If you've bought a new Toyota car or find that you are not getting the gas mileage you want from your old Toyota car then it's time to take some steps to improve it. It's best to track the miles after a fill-up and then calculate them rather than rely on the trip computer. Sometimes, you find you're getting worse mileage than the computer reads. You'll also need to keep the same driving habits when check to see if you have improved gas mileage. If you took the sample after in-town driving, do the same once after making the changes.

Under The Hood:

 How to Improve the Mileage on a Toyota Tercel

Regulate the amount of weight hauled in your Tercel. Because of the smaller engine and compact body, any weight added to the automobile will get in the way of greater fuel economy. The Tercel's 1.5-liter engine must work harder with the increased load, which results in poor fuel mileage. Clean out the trunk and remove anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

Drive the Tercel at a reasonable speed. Even an economical vehicle will show bad gas mileage if the driver isn't careful. The slower you can safely travel, the more gas you'll save. When driving the Tercel on the highway, try to restrict your speed to below 60 mph. When operating the Tercel in the city, anticipate stoplights and come to a stop slowly. When you're ready to move, speed up steadily as well.

Turn the Tercel's engine off instead of letting it idle. You do need to start the car and allow it to idle to warm the engine on cold mornings. Also, for better gas mileage, you should shut down the engine if you find yourself stuck in traffic or in a long line at the fast food drive-through.

Avoid hauling anything on the exterior of the car. Even if the Tercel has a bike or luggage rack on the roof, do not utilize it. When you haul cargo on the outside of the car, you ruin its aerodynamics and add a massive amount of drag, which effectively slashes fuel economy.

Check the Tercel's oil level frequently and schedule an oil change about every 3,000 miles. Because your Tercel is getting older, you need to make certain the engine is in the best shape possible to get the best gas mileage. Also, make the switch to a high-quality synthetic oil. It will boost the efficiency of the engine and lessen the friction.

Check the air pressure in the Tercel's tires. Low-pressure tires hinder fuel economy because they result in more surface friction and resistance. Look in the Tercel's owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's side door frame for the correct air pressure. If you keep the tires properly inflated, you may see an increase in fuel economy of up to 3 percent, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

 How to Improve Fuel Mileage on a Toyota Sienna

Change your driving style. Rather than accelerating quickly, slowing press on the gas pedal for a smooth acceleration. Another tip is to use your brakes less by anticipating stops. When you see a stop sign or stop light ahead, take your foot off the gas and glide to a stop. When you are on the freeway, set your Sienna on cruise between 60 to 70 miles per hour.

Get oil changes every 2,500 miles and stay up to date on your Sienna's maintenance schedule. Taking care of your engine is one of the best ways to improve your mileage. Click on the link "Toyota Maintenance Schedule" under Resources at the bottom of this page, then enter your model, year, and mileage interval to get your Sienna's maintenance guide. Staying up to date on your maintenance includes keeping your tires inflated, making sure all fluids are topped off and changing dirty air filters.

Avoid driving during rush hour traffic. Idling and stop-and-go driving on the freeway or in the city burns gas without getting you far. Driving when traffic is moving smoothly and trying to drive predominately on the freeway will increase your fuel economy.

Remove extra weight from your minivan. Your Sienna probably carries many children and their gear to sporting events, but extra gear weighs down your vehicle and makes the engine work harder. When not in use, remove excess weight from the interior of the Sienna and all racks from the top of the roof. Roof racks also make the Sienna less aerodynamic.

Items you will need

  • Oil change

  • Tire pressure gauge

 How to Increase Fuel Mileage for a RAV4

Remove all extra cargo from your RAV4. The more weight you haul around, the more gas you're going to burn. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, just an additional 100 lb. will decrease your gas mileage by 2 percent. Also, you need to uninstall any parts you've used to accessorize your Toyota, including larger tires. Go back to a purely stock RAV4.

Perform maintenance on your RAV4 at regular intervals. A vehicle that runs smoothly will, of course, be more fuel efficient. This means that you must change your engine oil approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and check to make sure that your tires are fully inflated. You'll also need to take your RAV4 to a mechanic for a yearly tune-up. Spark plugs, air and fuel filters, and transmission fluids all need to be checked and changed accordingly to provide optimum gas mileage.

Drive smart. While this might, at first, seem like an easy task to accomplish, it's more difficult than you may think. It demands that, as a driver, you be constantly aware of how you're operating your RAV4. Sudden bursts of acceleration, harsh braking and traveling a mere 5 mph over 60 mph will all greatly reduce your gas mileage, notes the U.S. Department of Energy. Anticipate your stops, accelerate slowly and use cruise control whenever possible on long expanses of flat highway.

Do not place anything on the roof of your RAV4, even if it is equipped with a roof rack. Whether it's a kayak, a bike or just luggage, it will ruin your SUV's aerodynamics and have a negative impact on your gas mileage, warns the Federal Trade Commission.

Make as few trips as possible. If you have multiple errands to run during the day, try to accomplish all of them on a single trip. Plan ahead, and cover as many stops as possible in the least distance. Also, if at all possible, try to avoid areas that tend to have traffic problems and multiple stoplights.

Turn off your RAV4 if you find yourself stuck in traffic or in a long line at the drive-thru. While your engine is running it's burning gas, but you're not actually going anywhere. Obviously, this reduces how many miles you can get per gallon of gas.

 How to Improve Gas Mileage in a Toyota Sequoia

Change the air filter. Regardless of the type of car that you have, a Department of Energy Report shows that you increase your gas mileage with a clean air filter. Some people feel that the K&N filter is the best one to buy since it works differently than the normal paper air filter. This filter is made to last a lifetime and is not disposable so it doesn't take up space in landfills and you don't have to replace it.

Inflate your tires properly. When your tires have the right amount of air in them, they increase your mileage by three percent according to the same Department of Energy Report. Proper inflation helps this heavy SUV to glide across the road.

Get a tune-up. Once you get a tune-up, you'll notice that you'll get more than half a mile per gallon or better mileage. That's because it increases you mileage about four percent. Most people that own this SUV get about 14 to 15 MPG before they get a tune up.

Stop the car if you have to sit more than two minutes. tested a vehicle and found that if they shut off the car instead of letting it idle they increased their mileage by as much as 19 per cent. If you're stuck at a train crossing and there's no end in sight, shut off your Toyota Sequoia to increase your gas mileage.

Drive within the speed limit. You decrease your gas mileage by one per cent for MPH above 55. This doesn't mean that you should drive slower than the rest of the traffic in a 65 MPH speed limit. It does mean that if you stay the speed limit, rather than the 5 miles over most people use, you'll increase your mileage by another five percent.

Avoid jackrabbit starts or turtle starts. A steady increase in gas is important to get to the higher gears, but flooring it after a stop burns additional gas and lowers your mileage per gallon.

Items you will need

  • Air filter Tire pressure gage Tune up

 How do I Improve Gas Mileage on a Tundra?

Expected Tundra MPG

According to Toyota, the average mpg will vary slightly between each Tundra trim package. For 2011 models, the fuel economy was either 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway or 16 and 20.

Tire Pressure

When tires are under-inflated, the engine has to work harder to move forward, increasing the amount of gas used. The recommended PSI should be printed on your door, and although it might vary from year to year, it likely will be around 26 PSI for front tires and 29 PSI for rear tires.

Tailgate Up

As proven on a 2005 episode of "Mythbusters," driving your Tundra with the tailgate up reduces drag, allowing your gas mileage to improve.

Driving Style

Your mood and stress level can affect your fuel economy. If you accelerate slowly, you will burn less fuel than if you drive aggressively.

Clean Out the Bed

If the bed of your Tundra has become a handy place to store your tools and equipment, you might want to reconsider your choices. Driving around with extra weight in the cab or bed of the truck increases fuel consumption.

 How to Improve the Gas Mileage for a Toyota FJ Cruiser

Drive smart. Avoid aggressive driving. Rapid "jackrabbit" starts and hard stops will cost you more at the gas pump. The FJ Cruiser is a heavier vehicle that was not made to be "gunned" at traffic lights, but rather designed for off-road riding.

Short shift. By shifting sooner, you will keep your miles per gallon up by keeping your revolutions per minute down.

Check your tires. Under-inflated tires create more road resistance. Properly inflated wheels can improve your gas mileage by 3.3 percent, according to the FTC's website. If you are not sure how much air is need, the tire pressure (psi) is marked on the tire's sidewall. This will also increase the life of your tires.

Unclog your filters. Change your air and oil filters as needed, especially if you take your FJ off-road, as dirt and dust can clog up your air filter. By changing your air filter, you can increase your gas mileage by 10 percent, according to the FTC's website.

Change your oil as recommended. Also, use synthetic oils and lubricants, as they cause less friction in the engine.

Don't idle. Letting your vehicle idle not only pollutes the environment but adds up to a few more coins at the pump. Turn off your engine if you know that you will be waiting for a few minutes.

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.