Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Save some gas

I wanted to stop talking about politics and my reunion for a day and share some of the knowledge I don't use anymore. Since gas prices are high more and more people are buying scam products that are supposed to increase the fuel economy of a vehicle. I'm just going to dispell some of the more popular ones one by one. The people who claim that these work just want to believe that they work. Many times when someone puts one of these on their car their driving habits change because they want to see how efficient their car can be. This alone causes the increase in fuel economy for the users of these products.

The Tornado Fuel Saver:

This product claims to save fuel buy forcing more air into the engine. They advertise a "cyclonic action" created by this thing in the air intake hose causing a denser intake charge. The reality is that this device actually creates a restriction in the air intake and reduces engine effeciency. They've sold over 100,000 of these things and at $40 each someone is laughing all the way to the bank.

Fuel Line Magnets:

These are magnets that you are to install on the outside of the fuel line to put the fuel molecules "in line" so they flow into the engine better. What a bunch of crap. Even if these things arranged the molecules as it says the fuel injector is engineered to spray the fuel in a mist form for complete combustion. That alone negates the purpose of the device.

Some of the magnets are becoming quite fancy looking and that's why they continue to sell. When these first hit the market what you were actually buying was a set of COW MAGNETS. Dairy famers feed these magnets to their cows and they would stay in the cow's first stomach. Cows actually have three stomachs. (That was a free fun fact.) The magnet in the cow would hold onto any nails, screws or junk the cow ate so it didn't pass to the more sensitve parts of it's digestive system. Farmers pay a few cents a piece for them but the gas saving version (identical in every way) sells for $9.99 for a set of two. What a great business. It's almost like buying codoms for 8.5 cents and selling them for two bucks like I do!

K&N and other "High Performance" air filters

When they test these things they do get performance and fuel economy results. The reason they work is because the control for the test was using a dirty, clogged air filter. If you read the fine print in the testing reports from the companies you can actually see this. The only time a washable air filter makes sense is if you have a Powerstroke, Cummins or Duramax diesel and the air filter is so expensive to repalce that it makes sense to wash it instead. These will not save you any gas either versus a regular replacement air filter.

Fuel additives:

Any fuel additive that claims it will increase your fuel economy is a bunch of lies. The only time an additive will help is if it is a carbureator cleaner or fuel injector cleaner and it actually cleans out a clog in your fuel system. Otherwise you're wasting you money again.


Some things you CAN do to save gas:

Check your tires:
Inflate them to the maximum pressure stated on the tire. Never use the vehicle manufacturer's specs in the owner's manual because they're usually lower than those on the tire. They do this because it makes the car ride a bit nicer and the EPA doesn't factor tire pressure into their fuel economy testing. The EPA uses the rolling resistance data from the tire manufacturer which is calculated at the maximum pressure rating.

Just change your air filter:
Many people don't do this and you should do it about every 15,000 miles at least. I've seen bird and mouse nests in air cleaners before on cars that are driven daily. How many little passengers do you have?

Clean out your trunk:
You'll save about one mile per gallon for every 200 pounds of crap you get out of your car. That's a lot when you add it up over time. How much junk do you really need anyway?

Get a wheel alignment:
If your wheels are out of alignment you're just pushing the front tires sideways down the road. We know that isn't good. Usually you won't see a noticable difference in fuel economy because if your alignment was really bad your tire tread would already be destroyed.

Lose some weight:
The same applies to the human body, lose 100 pounds and get 1/4 mpg back!

8 Comments:

Blogger Insurgent said...

Thanks for all the info. This is good to know with record gas prices! I should quit hauling so much stuff around in the back of the Ranger.

I have to respectfully disagree with you on one single item, the washable air filter. While it's debateable whether it lets the engine breathe easier, using one will save you money in the lon run-- if you have a newer vehicle, and if you normally change the air filter as prescribed.

I think that I paid about $45 for my K&N filter, while a paper one sells for around $13. I installed it when I bought her at 40,000 miles and am now at 130,000 miles and plan to drive a lot more. I would have spent $78 so far on paper filters. For someone with an older vehicle, though it would probably not pay off.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Milk too early in the morning gives me gas.

4:14 PM  
Blogger C-Train said...

Fuel?? dammit video games are degrading society and you speak of fuel!!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Klaus said...

I have also heard that the air filter is a good thing for my Libby diesel. Some claim 1-2 mpg improvement.

Liz had a question and comment about your maths: is it 1 mpg per 200 lbs or 1/4 mpg per 100 lbs?

3:02 PM  
Blogger C-Train said...

Klaus have you asked Dr. Z about your libby?

8:38 AM  
Blogger J_x_2 said...

Any thoughts on them nitrogen filled tires? Something about running colder than 'regular' tires, hence increasing fuel economy.

Sounds like a load of crap to me.


Thoughts?


Jx2

4:59 AM  
Blogger Luke said...

Rex,
Please answer this question to the best of your abilities. Thanks.

I have a 2002 Taurus with the V6 dual-overhead-cam engine and automatic transmission. It has about 65,000 miles on it. About two months ago, I noticed what I thought was a transmission problem, but now I'm not sure.

When the engine is cold and you place it in reverse to back up, it has a very jerky or surging/slipping motion with the foot on the brake and slowly backing up. When you move from reverse to drive, that goes away.

At the time, the only other symptom was when sitting at a stop light in drive with the foot on the brake, there would be an occasional engine speed change for a fraction of a second. The only thing that I can compare it with is the similar feel when the air-conditioning compressor clicks on. However this will happen when heating and AC are turned off. If I turn on the AC, the engine-speed issue will occur quite often -- several times a minute.

Since then, I have found a few times going up a hill, the car tries to switch from overdrive into the next gear and the transmission hunts back and forth. If I accelerate quickly, it will immediately go to the lower gear with no problem. Any ideas that might help pinpoint my problem?

11:03 PM  
Blogger Rex said...

Sorry about my math errors Klaus. It's said to be one mpg per 200 pounds so you do the math. It varies depending on what you drive, how you drive, if it's raining, hot, cold, humid, snowing.........you get the point.

3:03 AM  

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