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How to Increase the MPG for a Mitsubishi Montero

by Joshua Smyth

The Mitsubishi Montero -- known as the "Pajero" in some markets -- is a sport utility vehicle that was produced by Japan's Mitsubishi with an eye on off-road performance. It never became very popular in the United States, perhaps because most American SUV drivers stay on the road, where the Montero's off-road tuning made it a less pleasant ride. As a large SUV, the Montero is not very easy on gas. It is possible, however, to significantly increase the miles per gallon (mpg) that a Montero gets with a bit of smart driving and maintenance.

Low Mileage Driving

Empty out any unnecessary weight from your Montero when you go driving. Although it is tempting to use the vehicle's large storage space, the added weight will reduce your mpg by making the engine work harder to move the vehicle. This can reduce mileage by up to 2 percent for every 100 pounds of weight added, although the effect is stronger on smaller vehicles than the Montero. When you get back home after an expedition, unload your tools and gear to save on gas later.

Drive carefully. The easiest way to improve your Montero's mileage is to brake, turn and accelerate smoothly when you drive. Not doing so can cost you a 5 percent reduction in mileage in the city and up to 33 percent on the highway. To help yourself drive smoothly, try to use your cruise control when driving on the highway. This will keep your speed consistent and improve mileage.

Avoid idling. Leaving your engine running when the vehicle is stopped --except at a traffic light -- is a waste of gasoline. A full tank will go a lot farther if you shut the car off when stopped for more than a minute; the small amount of extra gas burned at engine start is outweighed by the gas saved.

Drive close to or at the speed limit. Fuel efficiency drops off very quickly once you are moving faster than 60 mph. If you give yourself enough travel time to stick to the slower lanes on the highway, it will improve your mpg significantly.

Use your overdrive gears once your Montero is up to speed. They let the engine turn more slowly and reduce gas consumption while also reducing engine wear.

MPG Through Maintenance

Inflate your tires properly. This is especially important for Montero drivers who take their vehicles off-road, since off-roading usually involves letting air out of the tires so they can bend around rocks and sticks. Reinflating the tires to the pressure recommended in your driver's manual or on the sticker inside your driver's side door jamb (not the maximum pressure engraved on the tire) can give you up to 3.3 percent more mpg.

Tune up your engine. A mechanic's small adjustments -- such as cleaning the fuel filter, changing the spark plugs and adjusting the engine timing -- can add up to a 4 percent improvement in mileage. Larger repairs, such as oxygen sensor replacement, will potentially boost your Montero's mileage by up to 40 percent.

Check the oil. Clean oil will make the engine run more smoothly, and using the manufacturer's recommended grade of oil can give you a 1 percent to 2 percent mileage boost. Check that the oil is labeled with an "Energy Conserving" mark; this indicates it has been mixed with friction-reducing compounds that further reduce the amount of work your engine needs to do.

About the Author

Joshua Smyth started writing in 2003 and is based in St. John's, Newfoundland. He has written for the award-winning "Cord Weekly" and for "Blueprint Magazine" in Waterloo, Ontario, where he spent a year as editor-in-chief. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.

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