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The Best 3 Car Modifications to Increase Fuel Mileage

Do you want to increase fuel mileage? You’re not alone, because even as fuel prices are falling, the subject of lowering fuel costs is still very much on everyone’s mind. The best way to lower your fuel costs is your optimizing your driving style to increase your fuel mileage. On the chance you already drive like Tony Stewart on his last gallon, you can also make some modifications to your car that will increase your fuel mileage.

There are 3 top modifications that should be looked at when considering making changes to your car in an attempt to find some additional MPG. Thankfully these aren’t overly expensive, will not, in most cases void your manufacturer’s warrantee, and are fairly easy to install with basic tools. As an added bonus these mods will increase your driveability, horsepower and just plain make your car run better.

Here are the best 3 car modifications to increase fuel mileage:

Modification to Increase Fuel Mileage #3 -

A Cold Air Intake Kit – A cold air intake, wonder of wonders, lets your engine breathe cold air from outside the engine compartment, much like it’s name would suggest. Cold air is denser, so more oxygen is contained in every unit of volume. Basically your engine can take a deeper breath with less effort. In addition, most cold air intake kits do away with such bothersome intake tract impediments as resonating chambers and sound deading flow restrictors. This means that the engine can breathe better, especially in the upper end of the RPM range.

An aftermarket cold air intake’s effectiveness varies depending on the efficacy of the original factory airbox, intake plumbing, and filter combination. Some cars see better gains than others. You should see a 3-5% increase in fuel economy and between 0 – 25hp gain by replacing your factory intake with an aftermarket kit.

Cold air intake kits are available for most leading vehicles, weather diesel or gas powered. Some of the leading manufacturers are K&N, Injen, Bully Dog, AirRaid, and AFE. The better kits are well engineered and have a divider to separate the intake inlet from the hot air in the engine compartment. You get what you pay for. Some of the kits are very complete and well made, while others are decidedly less so. You can see the K&N version here.

Modification to Increase Fuel Mileage #2-

A performance programmer. Modern engines are completely computer controlled, and that’s one of the reasons they are so efficient and run so cleanly. It’s also the reason you have to have a degree from MIT to consider working on them. Emissions of a typical car are about 1/100 of what they were 3 decades ago when emission controls consisted of only a catalytic converter and PCV valve.

Cars today use less fuel, produce more power, and require less maintenance than those of yore. Again, this is thanks largely to the computer, known as the engine control unit, or ECU, a nod to the fact that the little box of chips controls virtually every aspect of engine operation. This includes ignition timing, fuel mixture, fuel timing (on certain vehicles), throttle control (on drive by wire vehicles), cruise control, transmission control, and anything else that the manufacturer, Uncle Sam, or the EU deems it necessary to control.

Soon, reports are that not only will it monitor every aspect of your car’s performance, but it may read your mind as well, on the chance you may want to have a little fun behind the wheel. In any case, the computer can be reprogrammed to optimize the car’s engine and transmission to do your bidding, weather that is getting better gas mileage, towing a trailer, or laying down better times at the strip on Friday night.

There are ECU reprogrammers available now, such as leading programmer manufacturer Hypertech’s new Max Energy E-CON unit (You can get a Max Energy here) that are specially designed just to optimize fuel mileage. If you have one vehicle that’s could wind up saving you big money, but just imagine if you owned a business fleet of 30 – 100 vehicles! Even a 5% – 10% fuel savings could really add up, yet some people report exceeding even these figures. As with any such modification, your mileage may vary (and it probably will). Also remember that the largest factor concerning your mileage is you, the one with your foot on the gas (or diesel) pedal. If you’re not smart about that, all the programming in the world won’t help.

Modification to Increase Fuel Mileage #1-

The number one modification to increase fuel mileage is a performance exhaust system. Freeing up the exhaust will let the engine breathe, and give your car more power and better gas mileage. If you have a very high performance car, like a Corvette or Porsche, your gains will be less on a percentage basis, because these vehicles are already optimized more toward the performance side of the spectrum. For most of the rest of us, there are gains to be had here. In many cases there are additional benefits, such as lighter weight and a more powerful tone. The benefits of that last one are open to debate, depending on weather you love the automobile as a friend or view it as an appliance.

The reason that changing the exhaust system ranks as the number one modification to increase fuel mileage is that it is typically very effective, and easy to install. As performance modifications go, exhaust systems tend to be fairly inexpensive too. They are pretty easy to install for anyone that fancies themselves moderately skilled with a set of tools. Many can be installed in a few hours or less. In many cases removing the rusted old system can take more time and cause more damage to your ego than actually installing the new one.

Be aware that there are large differences in quality when considering an after market exhaust system. The better ones are constructed of stainless steel, a material befitting the hell an exhaust system is put through on a daily basis. Heat and moisture, two things an exhaust system must deal with, can reduce any standard metal component into a quivering, whimpering blob of corrosion, so making an exhaust of stainless is a wise investment in the future.

To make an exhaust system function correctly is an engineering feat. It’s not just bolting on a larger pipe and free flowing muffler. The system must be tuned for the specific engine, rpm range, and requirements. For example, a race system will generate great power, but it will be noisy and the power will be developed mostly in the very upper reaches of the rev range. Not the thing when you’re stewing in traffic and want to jump into a hole in the adjacent lane. For that you’ll need some torque, or you’ll get squashed by the traffic coming up behind you. That’s why an exhaust system must be properly designed if the goal of better gas mileage and more power is to be achieved.

These guys usually have great discounts on performance exhaust systems from most of the leading manufacturers. Click here – They’ve got an easy application to find a mileage boosting exhaust system for your specific vehicle. For a limited time you can click here to save up to 57% on a Volant performance exhaust system.

If you are considering doing a modification or two in an attempt to squeeze a few extra miles from a gallon of fuel, these are the 3 you should look at first. Look in a mirror to see the thing with the most potential to increase your fuel mileage, then order that exhaust system!

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3 Responses to “The Best 3 Car Modifications to Increase Fuel Mileage”


  1. 1 Jan Cooper

    This article is fantastic. Could you do one on what may be the 4th best? How big tyres decrease fuel economy? Don’t know the technical stats but personal observation says it has a fairly major effect.

    Cheers!

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