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Improved Gas Mileage 04 07 2010
Anytime you can make your car go faster with the same “Peddle” you are increasing gas mileage or miles per gallon.
With this blog I intend to show you how to increase gas mileage. I don’t need to go into the why of this or the complete step by step mechanical instructions.
1. If your car does not have them installed already. Buy NGK Iridium spark plugs and either gap and install them yourself if you feel yourself qualified or have a repair shop install them. I won’t tell you how to install them here. They make a huge difference. Better combustion means more complete combustion which means less fuel wasted, which means less emissions, no matter how fast you drive. Iridium is a metallic element on the periodic chemistry chart. This hard and high melting point rare earth metal produce a better spark. Think of how many materials Edison used before he settled on Tungsten. They are worth every penny of their increased cost. Repair shops and dealerships are much more amenable to using new parts you provide than they were in the past. Have them installed immediately.
2. Add a K&N high efficiency air filter. The air flows through these with less resistance. More air means better combustion and mileage. More air means less fuel and cleaner combustion, less emissions.
3. Align your car if you are qualified or have it done. There is a gauge that I bought from Harbor Freight tools online website. I used it to align our 2001 Buick Regal, after I did this the highway mileage went from 18 MPG to 27 MPG on a trip, a big increase for an older car, this was in 2007. Alignments cost $89.00 on sale at some shops. An alignment keeps the driving wheels straight. That means less energy is needed to turn the wheels because more power is transferred efficiently into distance on pavement. Crooked wheels frictionate on the road surface and can heat up your steering linkages to increases susceptibility to metal fatigue.
4. If your car has 30,000 to 40,000 miles on it replace or have the oxygen sensors replaced. There are two of these on newer cars, one under the hood behind the engine and one by the catalytic converter on the exhaust pipe “chain” under the car. These measure the amount of unburned gasoline that is leaving the engine and relay to the computer to make adjustments to your engine to make it burn cleaner. These tend to get a layer of soot on them and do not work as well over time.
5. This one is may seem contrary to what you learned in drivers ed school. But it makes a big difference. When washing your car take that hose and rinse the disc brakes as best you can with fresh water. What you are doing here is rinsing way brake dust. A layer of brake dust increases friction. What it causes is what I call a friction slurry. This is what you get from the byproduct of friction. It is particles of what was fractionized, and it increases friction. More friction at the point of rotation means you have to use more energy to make it move. More energy needed means less gas mileage. To be safe after you rinse them dry them by driving 10 to 20 feet a few times to make sure they brake, I.e. The water has been displaced and diminished. You will notice this right away when you drive. When brake pedal is not depressed there is static friction of the brake pad to the brake disc. As speed increases friction is overcome and decreased. The pads that are on these disc brakes are made of asbestos; there are newer ones that aren’t. That black dust on your shiny magnesium wheels is most likely asbestos. Asbestos was used in insulation and other industry applications and when aspirated causes lung cancer. If your car has drum brakes don’t rinse these because the drums are more captive. And always do this when the temperature is well above freezing. This procedure in itself can serve as a mini alignment. But be careful because it can rust and pit your rotors, the automobile companies need to come up with a solution to address this friction issue, I have a feeling something like a washer fluid solution and wipers translated into a relevant mechanism would do the trick. And I will no longer recommend flushing them and leave the solution up to the automobile companies.
Purolator Pure One oil filters because they provide the best filtration in terms of micro particle rating. If your local hardware store sell full synthetic oil near free after rebate stock up for your next change.
7. Also change your EGR valve after about 30,000 miles. EGR stands for exhaust gas recirculation, if the exhaust gas to go to the tailpipe is to rich in hydrocarbons it is recombined with incoming fresh air to allow for more complete combustion and better emissions. Replace these for much the same reasons as the Oxygen Sensors. They tend to get carbon deposits and are not as efficient.
8. Tighten those battery terminal clamps. You can notice a tremendous difference in mileage when you do this. They tend to wobble lose and it is tricky to tighten them without stripping the battery threads or the connector bolt. I am considering using a product called "Wire Glue" which is a glue based "Solder". Wire Glue isn't the strongest glue and the directions for use say to seal it with a cyanoacrolate (sp?) super glue after it dries, but this might be one application where just the "Wire Glue" by itself would suffice. It worked good for fixing our Bose Wave radio, after I took it apart to clean it and the wires dislodged from the coil. Tighter battery clamps means more electric power is efficiently put through to a more efficient spark and combustion.
I eliminated some of the more obvious ways to increase gas mileage such as keeping your tires fully inflated to specification, etc. You can find those elsewhere.
Any service shop should agree to install a new part you provide to them. Call them and see. They can look it up too, to make sure it is the right one and verify it. I’m sure they have a computer and Internet connection there somewhere? They may charge more for labor because it is not there part. But these better parts are worth it. You can try asking them to get one that you like from their supplier too.
I am mechanically inclined and worked at a repair station in the late 1980’s. So I do not expect you to try these on your own if you do not have experience. You might find it an expensive frustration of time, money and health to do so. This article was meant as a guide of what the appropriate measure you should take would be in your efforts to get better gas mileage.
As a matter of principal I disconnect the negative battery cable on our car when I get it home from service work. This resets the computer and invariably makes the car run better.
You should be able to find parts you need here:
Thomas Paul Murphy
Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy