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Old 03-19-2012, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Summerizing your car, Ecomodder style

A while back I wrote a blog article on how to winterize your car ecomodder style. I'm thinking of doing the same thing again, but on the topic of summerizing (not summarising) your car, or getting it out of winter mode/setup and back to a summer setup again. So, as I did with that run around I'll also do with this one and ask you guys for some input.

I have a few things to get the list started:

Install summer tires (preferably LRR)
Winter tires get very soft in summer heat and wear very quickly. Those mushy tires give poor handling as well as require more energy to push down the road. As things warm up, changing back to summer or all season tires is a good choice. If its time to get new tires for the car you should definitely consider a set of low rolling resisance (LRR) tires. They've come along way in recent years and generally don't cost anymore or perform any worse than a normal tire.

Check tire pressure
For many ecomodders this is a normal task. However, with summer warming things up it is sure to affec tire pressure. You might find that your tire pressure is too high for your liking. Or perhaps you haven't checked it all winter (like me!) and see that your tires need some additional air.

Install seat covers
A lot of ecomodders love beaded seat covers because they keep you cooler and stop you from sweating. This means you can comfortably drive in warmer weather with less cooling needs (be that A/C, fan usage, or windows rolled down). Another alternative is a fan powered seat cover. This will actually blow air over the area where your body touches the seat.

Clean up the car
I don't know too many people who vacuum up the car and clean things out during winter. Spring is a great time to go through and clean things up. If you drive a truck its also a great time to remove those sand bags you added for winter traction. Those certainly won't help you get any better mileage.

Adjust your grill block
If you live in a cold climate like me you can nearly get away with a full grill block through most of winter. However, that will not work will in summer at all. Take some time to adjust your grill block and open it up a bit so that adequate cooling can be had. An easy way to see if your engine is running too warm is to install an indicator light that shows when your radiator fan is turning on. If it turns on all the time, you should open that grill block a little bit. Conversely, if you never see it turn on, you can feel safe blocking more of the grill off.

Adjust block heater timer
While a block heater isn't as useful in summer, it can still help out quite a bit especially if you have a short commute. However, it won't need to run as long as it does in winter. So, take some time and adjust the amount of time it is on before you leave.


Thats my quick list. What else do you guys do?

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Old 03-19-2012, 04:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you've gone far enough with aero mods, there may be some you may not use in the winter depending on where you live, like a very deep air dam.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I got another one. Get out the ol window sun shades.

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Old 03-20-2012, 01:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good idea for a thread!

I plan on doing some sort of canvas shade for the outside of the large, nearly horizontal rear window on the Probe. Maybe others with big rear windows could benefit from that?

The only other thing I would say is start doing aero mods before it gets too hot out
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you're running an aggressive warm air intake in the winter, you may need to adjust that too.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Do any of the more hardcore modders run a different winter engine oil?
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Install summer tires (preferably LRR)
Winter tires get very soft in summer heat and wear very quickly. Those mushy tires give poor handling as well as require more energy to push down the road
Maybe.
I'm getting very near my best ever MPG with winter tyres on !
I recall Vekke claiming some Nokian winter tyre having the best RR of just about all tyres.

We'll see what the summer tyres will return in terms of MPG.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That's actually true, euromodder. The winning car in a summer, 2009 fuel economy run was wearing (on purpose) a brand new set of Nokian winter tires.

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  • Tires: low rolling resistance 155/65/14 Nokian HakkaR snow tires, brand new for the event, pumped up to 50psi mounted on Honda 145 alloy wheels
From: Modified Honda CRX HF Scores 118 MPG in Fuel Economy Run

I've compared my own winter tires though, and they don't roll as well as my summer ("all season") boots. ( Testing rolling resistance of the Various Tires of the Suzukiclone Fleet (RE92 wins) )
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningStrong View Post
Do any of the more hardcore modders run a different winter engine oil?
I run the same "weight" of oil year round.

But you could make the argument that a synthetic oil of a given weight may help slightly if you live where the winters are very cold (because synth has viscosity stability - so, less internal friction/pumping losses afer a cold start-up). In the hot summer, though, there's probably no fuel economy benefit to running synthetic.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I lighten up on oil viscosity in the winter, But we can swing pretty wide here. It gets to as cold as -30 f with averages in January around -10. Then in the summer we push 100 pretty easy. So I do run specific for season.

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