Pickup trucks are undeniably versatile and powerful vehicles. They can handlecomplex tasks, from hauling heavy loads to tackling off-road adventures. However, their thirsty appetite for fuel can be a significant concern, especially with rising fuel prices and growing environmental awareness.
Fortunately, several pickup truck modifications and accessories can help you improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing the utility and functionality of your trusty truck.
Truck modifications for better mileage
Here are some mods and accessories you can install to help boost your pickup truck's fuel efficiency:
Tonneau covers are one of the most popular upgrades among many truck owners. They protect the bed and its contents from changing weather, dirt, moisture, and other elements. They also add style to the exterior and boost the truck’s look. However, not all owners know that tonneau covers can help improve the fuel efficiency in pickups.
Tonneau covers can help your vehicle cut through the air more efficiently to reduce fuel consumption. They smooth out the airflow, which reduces aerodynamic drag. The drag makes the engine work harder, so it helps to put an accessory that seals the truck bed from airflow and enhances the aerodynamics. You can choose from tonneau cover types that suit your style and preference, including folding, roll-up, retractable, and other options.
Adding aerodynamic accessories like side mirror covers, bed extenders, and front air dams can also help with mileage improvement. Although these simple-looking accessories may not seem much, they help streamline the shape of the truck to reduce wind resistance. They work particularly at highway speeds to help enhance fuel efficiency.
If you're looking for more substantial improvements, consider engine tuning. A professional tune-up or installation of a performance chip can significantly help optimize your engine's efficiency. This upgrade provides more power with less fuel consumption.
Performance tuners and programmers can adjust the engine settings of your truck for better fuel economy. However, you must be cautious since these mods are costly and can truly hurt your pocket if installed incorrectly. Aggressive tuning may impact the long-term reliability of your vehicle’s engine.
Cold Air Intake
By delivering cooler, denser air to the engine, the cold air intake can boost combustion and lessen the need for excessive fuel. The combustion reaction is more efficient, which leads to increased engine power and mileage. The cold air intake also keeps the outside air chilly than the engine environment, providing greater combustion reactions.
A cold air intake system can help your engine breathe better for improved horsepower and fuel efficiency. The cooler air has more oxygen density than warm or hot air of similar volume. However, the miles-per-gallon (MPG) can be affected and may decrease if not installed correctly. A defective air intake system may let water into the engine, causing significant issues to the vehicle.
Upgrading your exhaust system to a more efficient, less restrictive design can help your engine expel exhaust gases more efficiently, potentially improving fuel economy while giving your truck a sportier sound.
Replacing your truck's old, worn-out tires can significantly impact fuel efficiency. If you’ve chosen larger tires, they may decrease the fuel economy due to the added weight. Compared to smaller tires, the bigger ones have a higher rolling resistance, which requires more resistance and effort to get them working. You may stick to the size of the factory tires, but replacing them with a newer set helps improve fuel efficiency.
Brands like Toyo Tires offer low-rolling-resistance tires designed to reduce friction with the road. These tires can improve MPG while maintaining good traction and handling. Moreover, it is crucial to consider proper tire maintenance to maximize efficiency and avoid blowouts, premature wear, vehicle suspension damage, and other tire-related problems.
Importance of Fuel Efficiency
Understanding why improving fuel efficiency in your pickup truck is crucial and considered a smart move. Fuel-efficient cars cost less to operate than gas-guzzling vehicles. They can emit less pollution over the same amount of distance traveled. Fuel efficiency can help you save thousands of dollars on fuel costs over time and can often balance out a higher purchase price if you keep the car long enough.
Cost Savings: Fuel is one of the most significant ongoing expenses for pickup truck owners. Save a substantial amount of money in the long run by improving fuel efficiency. With the constant fluctuation of gas prices, every mile per gallon (MPG) improvement counts.
Environmental Impact: Pickup trucks are notorious for their high emissions and lower fuel efficiency compared to smaller vehicles. Reducing your truck's fuel consumption can help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Extended Range: Improved fuel efficiency means traveling more miles on a single gas tank.This is especially valuable for long road trips or off-road adventures where gas stations might be few and far between.
Tips on getting better fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency should continue beyond just putting upgrades and modifications. Here are some things you can do to improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency.
Proper tire maintenance: Check the pressure and keep the tires correctly aligned and inflated. If the tires are over or under-inflated, the truck may have a hard time steering, accelerating, or braking properly. If you keep the tires under-inflated, it can significantly reduce fuel efficiency.
Regular maintenance: A well-maintained engine runs more efficiently, so it is better to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.
Lighten the load: The extra weight puts more strain on the engine, causing it to consume more fuel. If you use your truck for hauling, this may not apply to you. But if you only use it for daily drives, removing the items in your truck with hefty weight helps you get better MPG.
Avoid excessive idling: When the vehicle is idle, it's using more fuel than when turning off the engine and restarting it. Idling also harms the environment because of the pollution that comes from the exhaust pipe.
Mindful driving: Avoid aggressive driving behaviors like excessive idling and rapid acceleration. Use the cruise control feature to maintain a steady speed when driving on the highway.
Maintain constant and steady speed: Speeding up and braking, then doing it over again wastes fuel. When you’re driving at highspeed on a highway, make sure to keep a distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you. That way, the chance of sudden braking is less. Every time you slow down, more gas is needed to speed up again.
Use the right fuel: Use the recommended octane rating for your truck. Using higher-octane gasoline when not required won't improve performance or efficiency.
Considering the fuel efficiency of your pickup truck is not only environmentally responsible but also financially wise. By adopting simple driving habits and investing in fuel-saving modifications, you can enjoy the benefits of your truck while keeping your fuel costs in check. These tips can also help you get the most out of your pickup truck while consuming less fuel. Remember, every mile per gallon saved makes a difference for your wallet.
About the Creator
Hi, I'm Jen from 4WheelOnline. My fascination with vehicles started in my childhood. I like cars more than dolls. I enjoy writing about automotive industry news, vehicle maintenance tips, and more.