Trucks are awesome. Short of owning a tank, few vehicles make you feel like you are controlling a massive beast. Perhaps it’s in our genes to love the idea of riding something that’s far more powerful than us. However, there is one sore point that leaves truck owners feeling a little down, its poor mileage.
It’s often viewed as the price that has to be paid for the power you enjoy, but is that true? Is there no way to combine power and good fuel efficiency in the same vehicle? Let’s find out.
Start at the Source: The Engine
At the heart of every truck is a powerful engine. Poor mileage is a direct consequence of the extra fuel needed to fire each cylinder. While there is no way to magically change the laws of physics to get more mileage, there are things you can do to get your engine to be more efficient.
The first step would be proper maintenance. It’s a common enough situation: a vehicle runs fine for the first few years but starts to perform poorly after some time. You may run into startup issues, vibrations, and yes, even a reduction in mileage.
When the truck is taken to a shop and checked out, poor maintenance is often the most common issue noticed. This can impact mileage more than you think. For instance, if the air filters have gotten clogged up with months or years’ worth of dust and gunk, it leads to a terrible air-fuel mixture.
The result? Incomplete combustion of fuel or wasted potential mileage.
Similarly, the fuel injector could be clogged, and there might be overheating issues caused by a poorly maintained cooling system. All these have the potential to wreak havoc on your mileage.
Consider New Engine Mods
Sometimes, your truck’s mileage might be poor, even if you have been maintaining it well. Does that mean you need to give up? Not at all. There are a number of aftermarket modifications that can boost not just your mileage but other performance parameters as well.
Many truck owners choose to use superior fuel injection systems with 5th Gen Cummins parts. Similarly, performance chips and tuners, aerodynamic adjustments, and exhaust system upgrades can all work together to improve mileage.
However, as Diesel Power Products notes, if you are going to be increasing power and performance, your truck may need adjustments in other aspects to ensure compatibility. That’s just something to keep in mind if you were about to order a bunch of aftermarket mods.
Take the time to research your vehicle and what mods can be installed without too much hassle. The last thing you want is to purchase something and find out you need to change five other parts in your vehicle for it to work.
Don’t Sleep on the Tire Upgrades
For some reason, people underestimate the impact that tires have. In many cases, a better set of tires will give you a far greater boost than you might get playing around with a chip tuner.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 30% of your vehicle’s fuel consumption is tire-related. This is because rolling resistance is an extremely powerful factor when we are talking about mileage. If your tires are worn out, have uneven wear, or are simply improperly inflated, it can lead to greater rolling resistance.
This means your engine has to use more power to move. You might be surprised at how useful a new set of low-rolling resistance or LLR tires can be. The latest ones also use advanced rubber compounds that reduce heat generation, wear, and energy loss.
If you are worried about using LLR tires in rain and snow, you don’t need to worry. There are even all-season LLR options you can use.
In conclusion, if you own a large truck, you probably know that the mileage isn’t going to be its best selling point. These are vehicles made with power and not economy in mind. That said, this fact doesn’t mean you don’t have the freedom to make the most of every gallon of gas.
Considering the prices, we have to deal with today, maximizing fuel efficiency is one of the more sensible points to focus on. Thankfully, there are several ways to tinker with your truck to increase performance.
It’s worth noting that a single upgrade or modification may not make much of a difference. However, when you start addressing multiple problem points, you will quickly see a nice jump in the number of miles you get per gallon.