If you’ve spent time and money upgrading your off-road truck with things like oversized tires and steel truck bumpers, then noticed a sudden dive in gas mileage, you’re not alone. There are many things that can reduce mpgs and make your truck more costly to drive on-road in between outings to your favorite off-roading site.
Before you decide to simply live with a gas-guzzling truck, check out the following tips that can help your vehicle run more efficiently. You’ll see a little savings in your wallet that can go toward more time spent on the trail.
The heavier your truck, the more gas it will use regardless of where you drive it. Any modifications you add, like bigger tires, heavy pickup truck bumpers, winches, and other aftermarket equipment will increase vehicle weight and reduce fuel efficiency. To get around the added weight of these upgrades and all the gear you take with to the trails, try to lighten the load when driving on regular roads.
After a day out on the trails with your off-roader, unload any gear and supplies you don’t actually need to carry around with you. If you won’t be heading back to the range again until the weekend, take out tools, sandbags, spare water, fuel containers, and reserve supplies to lighten things up a bit. The more you can get out, the lighter your truck or Jeep will be.
2. Tire Pressure
Bigger, more rugged tires you put under those outrageous steel truck bumpers create additional friction on the highway and require more engine power to keep them rolling. Also, while lower air pressure is ideal for rock climbing and trail riding while off-roading, gas mileage flies out the window on the highway.
Get the best mileage possible for your tires by always airing them back up to the recommended PSI for use on the road. By reducing the size of your tire’s road contact area, you will reduce friction so the tires roll more freely.
Adding larger wheels and tires to your truck can affect gear ratios, reducing the amount of actual power produced by the engine to keep them moving. Regain lost power and improve gas mileage in the process by re-gearing your truck according to the size of the tires.
For every added inch in diameter from stock, increase a gear ratio. This keeps the ratio in balance with what the stock ratio is while giving you the power necessary to run the bigger tires. Not only will you save gas, you will also see a performance increase off-road due to more efficient power conversion.
4. Road Driving Habits
How you drive your truck on the highway can also affect how many miles a tank of gas will get. Drive smoothly using easy acceleration; shift smoothly to reduce unnecessary revving of the motor. Try to reduce the amount of starting and stopping you do and keep the momentum going by moving with the flow of traffic and switching lanes as needed to avoid unnecessary slow downs.
Coast when you can and avoid hard braking that must be followed by heavy use of the gas pedal. The smoother and more efficiently you drive your truck on the road, the less fuel will be needed in your travels.
5. Proper Vehicle Maintenance
Last and most importantly, the greatest fuel efficiency requires that your truck must be in the best condition. Overlooking important maintenance, whether it be on the engine, exhaust, suspension, or any other systems, will result in your truck having to work harder to produce the same amount of power. By keeping up with regular maintenance and repairs, the above changes will help to regain some mileage lost on the trails for use in daily driving.
If your off-roader does double-duty as your daily drive, you may be disappointed by lower gas mileage after making important off-road modifications such as suspensions systems, heavy truck bumpers, and big tires. Fortunately, if you compensate where you can, some of the lost mpgs can be regained. A good balance between the off-road mods you need and keeping things road-ready will ensure you get as much mileage as possible from your dual-purpose truck!