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6 Easy, Concealable Changes for Better Gas Mileage

August 31, 2016

Want better gas mileage? You might be able to get by without switching to a compact car. Try these 6 things.

New Cables

A number of sources suggest changing your cables and cleaning your battery posts in order to restore gas mileage. The science is a little bit complex but the concept is something like this: when electrical connections are solid, there is little resistance. When connections are loose or there's rust or dirt in them, resistance is higher and your engine has to work harder to make up for it. Therefore, replace old cables and clean up or tighten your electrical connections to get better gas mileage.

Unload Your Vehicle

Obviously, reducing your vehicle's weight will improve its gas mileage. What's in your vehicle that you don't need? Do you carry a bunch of junk around? Here are some example of things your might be able to unload.

  • Jumper Cables: If you drive a new car, especially a luxury one, you might not be able to jump start it safely because new cars have too many sensitive computers aboard.
  • Subwoofers: Subwoofers and other audio accessories can be really heavy. If you can get rid of them, you'll save money.
  • Dubs: Large wheels are usually heavier than smaller ones. Replace them for better mileage.
  • Seats: If you have any removeable seats that you don't use, store them in your garage until you need them.

Automatic Dongle

The Automatic Dongle plugs into your car's computer port, somewhere under the dashboard (usually not hard to find). It notifies you of driving habits, via audible signals, that could be done away with for better fuel efficiency. You get a dashboard on your smart phone, too, and there are lots of other cool features. Click the link for more info.

Don't Use Bed Extenders (Close Your Truck's Tailgate)

This is another one that involves some complicated science. On an episode of Myth Busters, the scientific duo of hosts filled two identical trucks with as much gas as their tanks would hold. They left the tailgate open on one truck and closed on the other, and started off. They found that the truck with the closed tailgate travelled farther than the other, meaning it got better gas mileage. The myth that says you'll save money by leaving the tailgate open is false.

Tire Pressure

When your tires are underinflated, you won't get the best possible gas mileage. In fact, you lose about .2% of your mileage for each psi your average tire pressure drops. Check your user's manual to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Check it regularly, using a pressure gauge or using your car's computer.

Low-Viscosity Lubricant

Using good engine and transmission oil will improve your gas mileage, too. It'll be more expensive to get it but you'll save money over the period you use it. Speaking of that, you'll be able to use it longer than you can use the basic stuff, before changing it. Look for synthetic fluids and ask your mechanic when in doubt.

If you're in the market for your next ride, get your quotes online. It's the smart way to shop your local dealerships.

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