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How to Increase MPG on a 4Runner

by Jen Philion

Recent models of Toyota's midsize SUV, the 4Runner, average roughly 17-23 miles per gallon, depending on your driving conditions. There are several steps you can take to improve your fuel economy and make sure you're getting the most for your gas dollars.

Maintenance

Maintain your 4Runner to make sure it gets the best possible gas mileage. Get regular oil changes with the correct grade of oil--the lightest grade that will work in your climate--to keep your engine from working harder than it should and burning extra fuel.

Make sure your coolant is full and properly mixed to prevent the engine from running hot. Also, check your air and fuel filters to make sure they're not dirty or clogged.

Get your spark plugs checked by your mechanic. Faulty spark plugs alone can decrease your gas mileage by up to 30 percent.

Driving Habits

Accelerate slowly and brake gently. According to Castrol, more than 80 percent of your fuel is used for accelerating. And tests conducted by Edmunds.com found that gentle accelerating and braking increased fuel economy by more than 30 percent over aggressive acceleration and braking hard.

If your 4Runner is equipped with cruise control, use it on the highway, and keep it at the speed limit. A constant, slower speed will conserve gas over changing speeds and traveling at more than 65 mph.

Limit your use of four-wheel drive. When conditions call for it, your 4Runner's 4WD capabilities are useful. But don't forget to shift back to 2WD when you're back on clear pavement.

Most newer 4Runners come with automatic transmissions. However, if you have an older, manual transmission model, shift at a lower engine RPM (such as 2,500 rather than 3,000) and get into a high gear quickly. Also, you can use your clutch to disengage the transmission and coast on gentle downhill slopes.

Tip

  • 4Runners have a lot of cargo space: Make sure you're not carrying around unnecessary weight.

About the Author

Jennifer Philion has been a professional writer and editor for more than 13 years, with experience in print and online journalism as well as marketing and public relations. She has written for "The Sporting News," the "Boulder Daily Camera" and the "Ogden Standard-Examiner" as well as magazines and online sites. She holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

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