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Old 01-09-2015, 11:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thermal Imaging for improving fuel economy

Hi everyone!

It's COLD here in January in Wisconsin right now! Which just gets me thinking about how to keep the 2004 Prius warm and my wife happy, as she is the primary driver.

I finally got the garage cleaned out enough to fit the car back in there, and I have a timer going to run the block heater for an hour or two before the car would be used.

I also recently got a thermal camera. I started playing around with that to take a look at the car.

For example, I noticed that after a drive that the TIRES were one of the warmest things on the car!



I also took a photo of the car after running the block heater for about 2.5 hours. Clearly the hood is the warmest thing after that



Has anyone else played around with thermal imaging for troubleshooting or improving fuel economy on cars? Let me know. More on my blog: Garages, Block Heaters, and Thermal Cameras

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Old 01-09-2015, 12:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is very interesting Ben. The tire temperature is unexpected IMO.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It looks like we need to start using tire blankets!
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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do you have snow tires? this makes me want to insulate the engine/hood more.
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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He does, says so in the blog he linked.
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Very fun.

Clearly the tires & wheels are hot due to the massive amount of AERO DRAG you have because you forgot to put on your smooth wheel covers.
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you add more air to the tires, they will flex less and generate less heat through internal friction. Their rolling resistance will also go down. Not sure if it would be enough to show on your IR photo, but could be worth testing.

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Old 01-09-2015, 01:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, there's snow tires on the Prius right now, on steel rims, but I don't have the hub caps on it. It got so cold and snowy right after I put the snow tires on that I didn't want to put the hub caps on over all the ice/snow/salt gunk, at least not until it warms up enough to wash the rims.

The hub caps I have are the cheapest most aerodynamic ones I could find on the clearance bin at the auto parts store last winter.

I have no idea how much heat is created in the rubber of the tires on a snow tire vs an all-season radial! I do know that the snow-tires are a softer rubber and that they keep the car on the road better.

Also, just so you know, the range of temperatures in the first photo is about 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the range of temperatures shown in the block heater photo is about 20 degrees. For example, a very bright orange in one photo may be 5 degrees, but that doesn't mean very bright orange is 5 degrees in another photo. It's relative, similar to auto-iris on a standard video camera.
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Old 01-09-2015, 07:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How much can one expect to pay for one of these doo-dads?
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Old 01-09-2015, 07:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
I also took a photo of the car after running the block heater for about 2.5 hours. Clearly the hood is the warmest thing after that
Clearly not enough hood insulation.

Time for a engine blanket...



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