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Old 09-08-2008, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Winters coming! how do I keep my mileage up?

I live in the frozen north (MN) and my mileage Tanks in the winter. I have been able do do a few things to seriously improve my mileage this summer, but I am afraid it is all going to be gone come winter. I want to figure out what I can do. Here are the things that I think hurt my mileage

1) Increased Rolling Resistance
(grease thicker, snow on roads)

Counter measure:
Change drivetrain lube to synthetic. I know this works well in a 4x4, not sure how much difference changing bearing grease in a small car.

2) Decreased Intake Air Temp

Counter measure:
Build a Warm Air Intake

3) Longer Warmup times
(increased drag from thick oil, running rich longer to warm up)

Counter measure:
Sythetic oil, plug in car, park inside

4) "winter" fuel mixture

Counter measure:

Anything I am missing? My contour is rated at 30mpg on the highway, my 90 average is at 33.7 with a distinct upward curve (my last tank was 38.4). Last winter I couldn't even hit 30... I would love to hear other peoples ideas of what I can do.


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Old 09-08-2008, 06:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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winter mpg

The thing is,when everything is "warm" it's still cold.The ambient temps will not allow the equilibrium temps you enjoy after full warm-up in spring and summer.It's a bad time to mod also,'cause it will be spring before you can make a fair appraisal of progress.Expect to lose at least 3-mpg.Combine all your stops into one big orbit if you can,to take advantage of any heat the car will develop.After only a few minutes your back to a "cold-start."
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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can you try fully grill blocking your ride? this will warm it up nice and toasty in no time and it will give you cabin heat quicker too i wouldn't try it in summer.
Nissan Leaf 24kwh. Average FE = 300mpg 3.6miles/kwh (@plug)
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think you've hit the nail on the head, Mr_C. How long have you been lurking?
This will be my first winter with the 'ecomodder mindset' so to speak. It will be interesting...
In my mind the main thing is the block/coolant heater plugged in 2 to 3 hours before blasting off into the frigid wasteland. Gee, I've always really hated winter...now I have one more reason...
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree, I will never be able to get summertime mileage in the winter, but I want to do anything I can to try to minimize damage. I won't be doing much modding this winter because it is too darn cold to want to be out there anyway. My big problem (and the large majority of my miles) is my 35 mile daily commute. In the summer it is a gallon in my car, or a half gallon on my bike, it is a lot more than a gallon in the winter.

Thats a good point. I didn't add that at all. I have a significant grill block already (I tried a full grill block in the summer, bad idea). I should block it all the way once it gets a little cooler. I put a grill block on my truck too with a "cold front" that I think makes a difference.

Tango Charlie:
I have been lurking for about a month or so.. just trying to get as much info as I can. I have learned a LOT from reading all the aerodynamics stuff... and while the pulse & glide stuff seems counter intuative to me, I have found it works pretty well in town. When it gets COLD (-20 F) my mileage drops 20% or more. But even now when the morning temps are in the 40s (recent cold snap) I am noticing that I am not getting the same instant mileage at 55 that I was before. Argh...

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Old 09-08-2008, 11:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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increased air intake temp is what I need to do too. I am in maine. the carb is already whistling in cool mornings/evenings, and gas guage is hard to believe..until I remember my other 17 bombs. My little sube is still doing good. the increased air temp does not replace oxygen deprivation. Maine and minnesota get it like mount everest...I pondered high octane fuel at more cost, if it saved fuel...and then again, that is babble, andwill most likely suffer a car with a smile as it prevails the minus 20s f.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd highly suggest a block heater. It'll significantly reduce warm up time, and they are fairly cheap.
Current project: A better alternator delete
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One good thing about winter driving is that snowy and icy roads give us a lot better excuse for driving slower. Plus less hours of daylight.

A lot of what is considered ecodriving is just what has long been good winter driving practice. Dont drive like a jerk, slow down, keep off gas and brake as much as possible, anticipate situations farther ahead, pop it it neutral if coming up to a slippery stop or downhill (yeah its technically illegal in Michigan but its saved me from going sideways countless times). Just drive in the summer like you would in the winter and youll save gas.

Winter daily driver, parked most days right now

Summer daily driver
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Excessive idleing in the winter time greatly increases. How often do we start our cars and go back inside for 45 minutes?

I'm going to look into block heaters for both of our cars.

My wifes kia warms up really quick.
I usualy have to run the fan on low and turn the heat down to slightly cool just to keep from melting my eyes.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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(yeah its technically illegal in Michigan but its saved me from going sideways countless times)
How is that illegal? Wouldn't that mean driving a stickshift car would be illegal? everytime you shift gears you put it in neutral, everytime you put in the clutch its in neutral.


Yea.. I drive a Jeep and I'm on a fuel economy site, but you just wouldn't understand... "It's a Jeep thing!" *Jeep Wave*

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