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Improve Gas Mileage


Five Sure Ways to Improve Gas Mileage

There are lot's of ways to improve gas mileage and engine efficiency without rebuilding an engine. There are basic bolt-on kits, engine computer reprogramming, and tools for monitoring and changing driving habits. These alterations will typically prove a greater benefit for gasoline engines than hybrids. Improving the gas engine on a hybrid won't help when it is driving in assisted or pure electric mode.

The most promising products will be put to the test on the test car, a 2005 PT Cruiser GT. The results will be calculated, rated, and sorted for best value. The PT Cruiser is a good test mule due in part to the relatively average efficiency and performance characteristics. The PT Cruiser GT weighs a fairly average 3300 lbs., has a decent 15.7 second quarter mile time, averages 20mpg, and has a lengthy 60-0mph stopping distance of 134 feet. Various products aimed at improving efficiency and performance will be tested and measured.


Step 1) Change the Driver

The easiest way to improve gas mileage is to change the driver. Aside from going on a severe weight-loss diet, the driver can change the way they operate the car (aka: hypermilling). Various sources claim a 25-33% improvement in gas mileage by changing driver behavior alone! And the usual gas saving tips aren't any more helpful than they are obvious. What a driver needs are some immediate positive or negative feedback on their actions. There are devices that do this with much more grace than a mother-in-law.

These driver feedback devices all plug into the Onboard Diagnostics Port (OBD II port). The OBD II port is always located near the driver's left foot at the base of the dash on 1996 and newer cars. All of these devices that utilize the OBD II port can also diagnose check engine lights. If the check engine light comes on you can find out exactly what's causing it. That alone will pay for the product after two or three check engine lights.

Read more about driver feedback systems here.

Like any machine, you have to use it to make it work. If you're dedicated to the cause of reducing fuel consumption you'll succeed. If you have a stubborn lead foot and get a testosterone rush when the light turns green then you should look into changing the engine instead of the driver. That would be the easier route to take.


Step 2) Engine Reprogramming

Another easy way to improve engine efficiency is to reprogram the engine computer. This usually requires buying a flash programmer for about $400 to $600. These devices reflash the solid state memory in the car's computer with a new operating program. The program is usually a modified version of the car's original programming. This enables the car to run leaner which means more power and less fuel.

Find out if there's a new engine program for your car here.

This may require some support by the supplier or a tech forum to find out which device has the best program for daily driving. It is simple to do and doesn't require any wrenches or advanced knowledge about engines. And the effects are immediate.


Step 3) Improved Maintenance

Did a fortune cookie tell you its time to change the timing belt and flush the coolant? Before you hand the car over to the shop for routine maintenance do some online shopping and assemble a little care package for your car. This web page is a guideline for choosing the best parts for getting better efficiency and performance from your car through maintenance. When you leave your car and keys at the shop, hand over the box of goodies. The parts are paid for, so all they can charge for is labor and what you didn't include. You may receive an astranged look from the guy at the register. But that won't matter when the car comes back more efficient with better performance. And you'll know that you got the best price on the best part. If you do the work yourself, you'll save money on labor if you can spend the time and sweat.

The topics listed under Improved Maintenance describes how to improve gas mileage by a realistic one to three miles per gallon by choosing the best engine oil and oil additive. Improve safety and braking on wet and dry roads by learning how to choose the right performance tires. Shorten the braking distance even further by choosing the best brake pads. Choose the best fluids and pick out the most reliable batteries among many other things.

Improved Maintenance Topics:
Engine Oil
Oil Filters
Engine Coolant

Ceramic Additive
Air Filters
Spark Plugs
Tire Selection
Wiper Arm Adjustment


Step 4) Better Performance and Reliability

This is handyman territory. Bolt-ons are aftermarket car parts designed by enthusiasts who want to make cars more efficient. Most of these devices are aimed at improving engine power with little regard to gas mileage. However some of these modifications can improve power and gas-mileage. That's what I'll focus on. Keep in mind that improving the rate of acceleration is a way of maximizing the value of the fuel purchased.

A gasoline engine pumps a lot of air. Oxygen in the air is needed to chemically react with fuel. If a device let's more air into the engine it will usually produce more power. Most bolt-ons improve an engine's ability to move air from the air filter to the exhaust tip.

But that's not the only subject covered on the bolt-ons page. Learn how to choose custom wheels that improve gas mileage and acceleration! The charging and starting system wires in nearly all cars is undersized and prone to a five year life span. This page will explain how to upgrade the charging system wires, alternator, and battery for a highly reliable electrical system. Big brake kits, suspension modifications, and gasket matching are also be covered.

Better Performance and Reliability Topics:
Air Intake
Water Injection
Charging Wires
Big Brake Kits
Gasket Matching


Step 5) Build a Better Engine from the Combustion Chamber on Out

An engine is the heart of the car. It has a rhythmic beat that gets faster when it works harder. It breathes air heavily to do all the hard work that it needs to do. The combustion chamber is the source of a car's kinetic energy. Modifications here will have the most profound affect on efficiency. However these modifications are the most difficult to do. It requires disassembling the entire engine and reshaping the internal parts to do more work with less energy. It requires a lot of knowledge, experience, and understanding of known engineering principles to accomplish the task effectively. This page isn't just for those people building a custom engine, it's also written for those who want to learn more about how engines can be made more efficient.


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