Over the course of the past few years, the price of gas has risen dramatically, causing some drivers to look for more fuel-efficient alternatives. Some owners have made the switch to hybrid models, while others have turned to dubious gadgets that claim to save you gas money when all they really do is leave you feeling burned.
Gimmicks don’t work when it comes to fuel efficiency, and you shouldn’t have to feel as though you need to abandon your truck to get behind the wheel of a tiny all-electric model. There are some simple things you can do today to improve the fuel efficiency of your ride, so let’s look at a few of them.
Allow the air to flow
When was the last time you had the air filter in your vehicle replaced? Replacing an old, clogged filter is one of the easiest, most effective ways to improve performance.
The type of filter that you use is also important. Get rid of the old-school paper model and replace it with a performance air filter. Those old paper filters tend to restrict airflow, which essentially means that your engine is being forced to choke. The performance filters are usually made of cotton or foam materials, both of which allows air to flow more freely. When oxygen gets into your engine, less fuel is used than would normally be consumed when you have a clogged filter.
Not only does a performance filter deliver better fuel efficiency, it also adds a little extra horsepower to boot. The fact that cleaner air is flowing through your engine means that the overall condition of your vehicle is improved. One word of warning here is that misusing the extra horsepower can quickly negate any improvements the filter makes to your mileage. Don’t go heavy on the gas pedal.
Improve the Aerodynamics on Your Vehicle
If you drive a truck, there are sure to be times when you feel it is being dragged along the road. Your tailgate is often responsible for this feeling, as the air that flows over the truck and into the open bed ends up being derailed by the tailgate.
One simple fix here is to add a tonneau cover to the exposed truck bed, as this will allow the airflow to bypass the tailgate. Generally speaking, you can expect to see a 5-10% increase in gas mileage as soon as you add that cover.
If you don’t like the idea of a cover, you might instead consider switching to an air-flow tailgate. These gates employ a mesh or louvered design that allows air to flow more freely than it does with a traditional tailgate, thus eliminating a good percentage of drag. The results with this type of gate are not as positive as you get with a cover, but it’s a much better, not to mention safer, option that running with the tailgate down.
Check the Tire Pressure
If aerodynamics are not an issue, and you have a new performance filter but are still having gas mileage issues, it might be time to check your tire pressure. If those tires are under-inflated, your engine is going to need to work that much harder to move the wheels. It’s not uncommon to lose around 2 mpg by simply riding on tires that are borderline flat. You are also looking at wearing out the tread faster, which means laying out money on new tires.
A digital tire gauge is accurate and easy to use, and finding the ideal pressure for your vehicle is usually as simple as finding that information on a label in your door well. Try to stay as close to the recommended tire pressure as possible, as over-inflating the tires can be just as costly.
Maintain a Regular Maintenance Schedule
Automakers tell you about regular maintenance for a reason. Having your oil changed and your engine inspected on a regular schedule will not only help with gas mileage, it will also help extend the life of your vehicle. A little preventative care today can save you a lot of money in the future.