Beating the Pump

Image Whether you ride or race, and unless your ride spot is in your back yard, chances are you’re not happy with the cost of transportation today. Yesterday gas prices reached an all-time high. So here are a few timely tips that will help you battle that gruesome pump this summer.

The Basics
When was the last time you checked your tire pressure? Making sure you have the correct tire pressure will save you about 3% per mile. Another often overlooked and very important detail in a long lasting and more efficient engine is simply ditching that dirty air filter for a clean one. You can save as much as 10% in fuel mileage by doing this. This may sound basic, but many people often overlook a check engine light. Don’t just cover it up with electrical tape. One of the main reasons for the check engine light is to make you aware of a possible emission problem. The part that often fails is the oxygen sensor, which can reduce your fuel mileage by a whopping 40%!

Tune ups go a long way, check with your owners manual to find out when to change plugs, wires, oil, etc. Try to do the work yourself to save even more money. It takes more work but its way better then paying $65 an hour for a mechanic.

ImageOctane and Additives
Along with your tune up add in a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. The fuel we use now is junk for what we pay for. Using an injector cleaner keeps carbon out and keeps everything running smoother. Some people also say using higher octane helps with mileage. If your vehicle recommends 87, run it. You can test with higher fuels. Some engines run better and some don’t. You can try it to see if it helps. But with everything, don’t expect to notice a difference in a day. Upgrading oils and fuels takes time to see an improvement.

Do fuel additives really work? Yes, for the most part. If you have a dirty engine, or just have some miles on it, you will see benefits. All additives are made for a specific reason, such as dirty injectors, water removal, carbon build-up and so on. You should run an additive to its recommendations. We used an Amsoil product called P.I. it works on increasing performance and power from dirty fuel and intake systems. The Amsoil P.I. fluid has shown increases in performance and fuel economy between 2.3% to 5.7%. Diesels engines benefit the most from fuel additives, where you’ll typically see cetane increased from 10-15%. You’ll be able to raise your fuel mileage an average of 2%. Diesel additives are great to use since they clean and lubricate the injectors and pumps, which are very expensive to replace. So you’re better off spending a little on the additive it will save you a lot in the long run.

ImageSynthetic Oils
Changing your oil every 5-8k miles will save 2-3% on gas mileage. But we highly suggest you upgrade to synthetic oil. You’ll save more on fuel and your engine will last much longer. Synthetics are way better, last longer, and don’t break down like conventional oils do. We switched to Amsoil Synthetic Lubricants many miles ago and highly recommend the switch. We noticed a 2-3 mile per gallon increase! That’s a nice increase by just changing our oil. The truck even runs quieter and performs better. Sorry for the blatant plug but we’ve logged a lot of miles and we are big fans of Amsoil products. Not only do they prolong the life of your engine and save you money on fuel, they are 100% American made, so the foreign oil companies don’t get a cut. The Amsoil products we have been using last up to 25k miles of normal use and 15k of severe use that turbo and supercharged vehicles put oil through. For the most part, with diesels and most other applications you can pretty much double your factory change intervals with out voiding any kind of warranty.

Synthetic oils, especially genuine synthetic oils, are simply that much better. However you need to be careful, some synthetic oils use a mineral oil base stock that’s highly refined so they just call it a “synthetic”, but it’s not really synthetic oil. There are only three major brands in America that make a true full synthetic blend. We use Amsoil for several reasons. The main reason is the products work better than others we’ve tried. The fact that they support the sport of ATV racing also helped our decision. Lastly we can get it easily from local dealers or even easier online. If you order it online like we do the prices and delivery time for shipping are reasonable since Amsoil has 11 distribution centers throughout the country. So just plan your orders like you do with everything else you buy online. You’ll save time and even more gas money by not running to the parts store.

If you need a vendor, you might consider keeping it in the ATV family and purchase from the same place we get ours from, All 4 ATV and Cycle out of the great ATV state of Pennsylvania.

Don’t drive it like you stole it! Obey the speed limit not just for your safety, although you just might save someone’s life by slowing down to a manageable speed. Driving like Grandpa will save you 5%-33% on your mileage tab. That means try not to race to the next red light. Try not to race into and out of turns that’s what your quad is for. That alone can save you up to 23%! And on most vehicles, every mile over 65mph is like paying an extra $.20 per gallon! That might slow you down. Keep the racing on the track. Lastly use your cruise control to keep a steady speed.

Keeping the useless stuff at home is another good tip. Every 100 pounds of junk costs you 2% on your fuel cost. Do you really need to haul all those extra tires and old quad parts? And when you have the guys over to work on your quads and everyone is hungry send one person to get the grub. Don’t all pile in unless they put a few bucks on the dashboard. And when the gofer gets to the burger joint go in for the order. Idling in the drive through line cost you per minute. If everyone did this type of thing we can slowly but surely lower the demand for oil and save the environment help save the environment too.

More Savings
Roof racks are great for extra storage but cost up to 5% per mile. Try to pack everything in the trunk if it will fit. The general rule for air conditioning is if you’re traveling over 45mph turn it on and put the windows up. It will save you money due to reduced drag with the windows up. Under that speed, roll the windows down and turn off the air. Driving the highway is cheaper than back roads, even more so if you set the cruise like we said earlier. If you have a cap or cover on your truck’s bed that helps drag and increases mileage.

As you can see by doing all the above combined you can really beat the pump, but slowing down and driving sensibly will pretty much save you the most money.

If it’s time to get a new vehicle you might look into flex fuel options, and fuel management on some motors that turn v8 power to economy of a 4 cylinder. A lot of newer trucks idle and cruise with only 4 cylinders and end up sipping half the fuel.

Car Pooling
Talk to your co workers or fellow riders to see if they live close and try to car pool. You’ll both save in gas and wear and tear.

ImageTowing a Trailer
If you don’t need to bring the trailer don’t take it. Your mileage goes way down with a trailer. You might consider a van or a truck with a cap. Stay at the local hotel and put up a tent at the track to hang out under. If you do tow a trailer and it’s higher than the truck roof, try a truck air deflector. It’s like a big fin on your truck’s roof. It helps to deflect the force of air over the trailer instead of hitting it head on. It will use a positive vacuum to help the truck and trailer reduce drag. They are estimated to save fuel mileage by 15.6%. Do an online search to find a company or dealer in your area.

Aftermarket Products
Performance parts can help you get better mileage. A good intake kit and exhaust to match is a great start. You can add an air filter but might not see all the benefits until you get the exhaust going out as easy as the air gets in. Just like putting a pipe on your quad, you would need to re-jet or re-program. The only downfall we find with using an exhaust on vehicles is the sounds. Most times a nice set of mufflers (or none) sounds great. Then the little kid in us comes out, making us want to get on the throttle to listen to the cool exhaust it creates. Turn your radio up and ignore the cool-sounding-rumble trust us it makes your gas mileage go way down. Remember slowing down and driving sensible will save you more than all of these tips.

ImageProgrammers run a few hundred bucks, but might pay for themselves in the long run. We proved this with our Bully Dog Wake Up Your Truck feature last year. Some programmers can change your fuel management, give more power, and let you know vital engine and transmission information. If there is more power on tap, you might not be into the throttle as much to get things going, therefore saving you money. Research items for your vehicle and call the dealer. Get all your info before buying. There is a difference between power improvers and fuel savers. Some parts can rob fuel economy while others boost it. Get your facts together first.

Another popular trend is Flex Fuels. Use E85 if your vehicle can take it. Diesels can use bio diesel fuel. Which is basically diesel fuel mixed 80% with 20% bio diesel (vegetable oils or animal fats). Some fuel stations carry this or you can contact to find out how you can get it. The great thing about this type of bio diesel is it takes no modifications to use.

Using used deep fryer oil or vegetable oil from the local burger joints requires some modifications. You can find info on this by checking out or searching for bio diesel kits. You will still need to use diesel to start your truck and to get the used cooking oil warmed up to use. Since its viscosity is thick, it’s hard to use when cold. Most systems range from $500 to $3,500. But if you have a restaurant or know the owner of one, don’t spend money on fuel when you can simply use old cooking oil. You would need to put a tank in the bed or under the truck to hold the oil to use. Most systems look to be basic and can have a huge impact on your wallet and economy, especially if you plan to travel a lot with your diesel truck.

ImageAlternative Fuels
Many auto makers are investing millions to find oil alternatives. If traveling across the country on 22 gallons of water sounds good to you, check out You-Tube to see home made hydrogen fuel cells. It really will be the way of the future. Also electric power has come a long way. The good thing about electric motors is the monster torque they make. But they are heavy and still need to be more cost effective.

Motorcycle It
Another great thing to do in the name of saving fuel (and having fun doing it) is to ride a motorcycle on nice days. It takes only a little while to get used to if you’re a strictly quad guy. Take it to work or to pick up a thing or two at the store. Most motorcycles get 50 to 75 miles to a gallon! You don’t need a new Wide Glide when a 250cc Rebel will get you the same place. Remember you can only travel as fast as the speed limit anyways. Just be extra careful when you’re on the road with a motorcycle. Many drivers aren’t looking for motorcycles, they’re talking on their phones and doing their make-up so you’ll need to be the one paying attention at all times.

Summing it up
By now you are a fuel mileage pro. Switch to synthetic, drive like a human and downsize your load. If it’s time for a new ride look for a more fuel efficient rig, or tune up Ole Faithful to get the most out of it possible. Regardless, do at least one of the above and let’s all try to beat the pump together.

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