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-   -   Getting started EcoModding, I need basic help please!! (

ausmavsfan 03-25-2012 12:21 PM

Getting started EcoModding, I need basic help please!!
Thank you for clicking on my thread,

I drive a '02 Chevy Cavalier with a 2.2 L OHV 4 cyl engine

EPA: 30 mpg Highway

I want to increase my gas mileage as much as possible. I have been reading around, but I want to know more.

I see some people change their oil a little bit at a time at 1000 miles. How much do you take out at a time?

Also I know I need new plugs & wires. What would be the best for my car?

Should I get my tires rotated & balanced? What is the best PSI for maximum fuel economy?

Do you use any additives? What kinds and how much?

I will pick up the electronic gauge soon.

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

nemo 03-25-2012 01:07 PM


Welcome! How do you use you car? Daily commute city, highway or once a month to town. Please be sure to read the " 100+ Hypermiling Tips" if you haven't already. There are threads on oil changes and additives you will find interesting, just use the search function.

As for tire balance and rotation can't comment on a mileage improvement, but it helps with tire wear. The ride improvement is a definite plus.

ausmavsfan 03-25-2012 02:10 PM

My car
I am interested in Ecomodding because I will soon have a 60 mile round trip commute every day to work. They will be mostly highway miles.

GRU 03-25-2012 07:19 PM

replace/maintain the car with oem or equal parts. I don't really belive that using $15 spark plug is worth the gain some compaies claim. It's more important to have the car run right, not so much running with updated, expensive parts.

I have never heard of people changing oil a little bit at a time. If .5 liter of oil inside an engine is dirty it will just spread to the rest of the oil so i just don't see how that works. I change my oil every 3000 miles or so.

I would look at making your car more aerodynamic and keep it at 60mph or less if you can on the highway. I think the best mpg is at about 45mph

johnunit 03-26-2012 03:10 AM

An injectory cleaner may help in a neglected car, once every 6 months at the VERY most, but beyond that no additives have proven mileage advantages.

Grant-53 04-05-2012 03:49 PM

First step is getting the vehicle in top tune as mentioned. Does the manufacturer recommend 5W-30 oil? How much oil does the engine consume in 1,000 miles? A good quality oil such as Havoline could go at least 7,000 miles between changes at mainly highway driving. Tire pressure will be recommend by tire maker or listed on decal. Likely 35 psi cold for dry pavement and 30 psi for snow if you have any.
Second is the driving technique. Depending on traffic, pulse and glide between 5 or 10 mph under the speed limit keeping a 3 second interval with the car ahead.
Third is the developing the aero drag reduction package. You didn't say if you are driving a 2 door, 4 door, or wagon. Start with an air dam and grill blocks. Wheel fairings and panel under the rear bumper. See other projects and photos of prototypes such as the Probe IV and Citation V.

some_other_dave 04-05-2012 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by ausmavsfan (Post 295581)
I see some people change their oil a little bit at a time at 1000 miles. How much do you take out at a time?

All of it. Plus the filter. Every 5000 miles in my CRX, every 7500 in my MINI.


Also I know I need new plugs & wires. What would be the best for my car?
The difference between the "best" plugs and wires and "almost the best" is almost always too small to notice. NGK makes decent plugs and wires; that's what I used on my CRX. OEM wires and plugs would be fine too.


Should I get my tires rotated & balanced? What is the best PSI for maximum fuel economy?
Yes, rotate and balance your tires.

For maximum fuel economy, the best tire pressure is generally as much as you can stand putting in. The tires are generally more than safe enough when run at the "MAX PRESSURE" rating on the tire sidewall, and pretty much all tires will have lower rolling resistance at that pressure than at the pressure the car maker specifies.

There are people who run higher pressures than that. I am not one of them, but they report additional drops of RR with higher pressures. (Smaller gains in most cases, but still gains.)


Do you use any additives? What kinds and how much?
Oil additives are bogus. Fuel additives are either cleaners, or bogus. The cleaners can be found, in lesser amounts, in most gasoline anyway.


Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.
Tip #1: Slow down. If you drop your top speed from 75 MPG to 65 MPH, you should see a very noticeable gain in MPG. If you drop your top speed to 55 MPH, you should see another gain.

Tip #2: Drive as if you didn't have any brakes. Leave lots of room in front of you to react to what happens on the road. Look ahead to anticipate changing conditions, and don't use the brake pedal if you have a different choice.

Good luck!


cleanspeed1 04-05-2012 08:59 PM

Once you get an electronic guage, that's when you will see the bigger gains. It's really moreso to discipline you as a driver and to interface better with this car. Every car responds differently. I was surprised that my Cadillac got better mpg at 70 than it did at 63; but that's just the way my car is.

TracerZX2 04-13-2012 05:18 PM

Welcome to another Missourian, I have a 68 mile round trip drive, mostly highway as yours is about to be. Without aero mods on a 2003 zx2 I am averaging over 40 by just changing driving habits. On windy Missouri days, tuck in behind a slower SUV, semi or if lucky a fed ex truck.

As others have said rotate and balance tires, make sure your alignment is spot on. Bad alignment eats tires and hurts fuel economy. My tires are rated at 44lbs so I run 40lbs cold, when they warm up they are around 44.

Most on here swear by scan gauge, I have an UltraGauge and love it. I made big time gains with it.

jwsherwinengr 05-11-2012 01:38 AM

Weight vs HP is another variable to consider to make some incremental gains in economy. A doughnut instead of a full size spare is one small change (keep a full size @ home) remove extra stuff from trunk. I like to swear by using synthetic oils whereas they provide less friction than some conventional oils for every application possible. I tend to slow down on hills and coast more on downhills and approaching stops. I also have an auto eng. stop when i come to a stop and it auto starts when I release the brake pedal. This saves fuel when in city traffic.

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