Part 3 of fuel economy tips for better mileage.
14: Ignition coils and harnesses
Again, we often hear the “100,000 miles between scheduled tune-ups” recommendation. High-energy ignition systems and sizzling underhood temperatures, however, take a toll on ignition components. Coil-on-plug ignition systems have virtually eliminated ignition wires. However, there remain a lot of conventional coil pack and distributor ignition systems. When you change spark plugs, consider checking and, if necessary, changing ignition wires and coils while you’re in there. This keeps your entire ignition system fresh and on top of the business of ignition. As usual, check your manufacturer’s recommendation.
15: Crankcase ventilation
Most never consider the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve in the same thought process as fuel economy, but it can have an effect. Every time you change your oil, check PCV valve function. With the engine at idle, pull the PCV valve out of the valve cover and check it for vacuum. The PCV valve keeps your engine’s crankcase ventilated and free of moisture and other contaminants. It can also be a huge vacuum leak source.
16: Fuel cap
An unsecured fuel filler cap will get you a Check Engine light on most late model vehicles. It will also cost you fuel economy because fuel has a high evaporation rate. A loose filler cap allows fuel vapors to escape, also causing the evaporative emissions system to malfunction.
17: Fans and fuel economy
Cooling fans can either enhance fuel economy or torpedo it completely. Inflexible steel fans rob you of power and fuel economy. The most efficient engine-driven cooling fan is the thermostatic clutch fan. It engages and functions when it is needed and freewheels when it isn’t needed. Electric thermostatic cooling fans remain the single greatest path to fuel economy. If you choose and size yours properly, you can get better cooling and improved fuel economy.
18: Still fooling with points?
If you drive a classic car and are still cruising the interstate with breaker points, you’re burning excessive amounts of fuel. The Pertronix Ignitor electronic ignition conversion installs in 30 minutes and improves both drivability and fuel economy. Every time a spark plug misfires, it is precious fuel lost out the tailpipe. The Ignitor virtually eliminates misfire.
19: Live without air conditioning
When temperatures make the thermometer red, run your vehicle’s air conditioning. However, we’ve gotten soft. Motorists run air conditioning even when temperatures are in the pleasant 70s because we like things constant. When temperatures fall into the 70s and even 80s, resist the urge to run air conditioning. If you have an older car with a big heavy piston compressor, consider changing over to a rotary cam plate-style Sanden compressor from Classic Auto Air, which is more efficient.
20: Friction reduction = fuel economy
Engine technology has brought us great aftermarket components that reduce internal friction, free up power and improve fuel economy. Roller camshaft and rocker arm technology improve fuel economy because they greatly reduce internal friction. If you take this logic even further with needle cam bearings and thrusts, you reduce friction even further. More generous piston to cylinder wall and bearing clearances will improve fuel economy, but pose some risk of premature wear.