Fuel efficiency is a common concern for fleet managers and truck drivers. As the years go by, automakers have gotten better at optimizing fuel efficiency in the vehicles they produce. Still, a common question that many fleet managers have about their vehicles is the impact of engine age on fuel efficiency.
While a commercial vehicle made in 1999 will likely not have the same mpg as a vehicle produced in 2019, this has less to do with the age of the engine and more to do with the way that vehicle was made. Still, fuel efficiency has become a larger and larger concern for commercial vehicle drivers and fleet managers.
Today, Triad Diagnostic Solutions will be exploring the impact engine age has on fuel efficiency, if any, and explore some of the ways that you can improve fuel efficiency in your commercial vehicles. Let’s get started!
Does a Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency Change Over Time?
Put simply, a vehicle’s fuel efficiency can change over time. As an engine ages, fuel economy will decrease somewhat. However, in most cases, this decrease in fuel economy has less to do with the age of the engine and more to do with how many miles you’ve driven and whether your vehicle has faulty or worn engine components.
There are various factors that impact fuel efficiency over time, and most of these factors have little to do with the age of the engine. In the following sections of this article, we’ll explore a few factors that can impact fuel efficiency in commercial vehicles.
Dirty or Worn-Out Spark Plugs
One of the most common reasons for a decrease in fuel economy as a vehicle ages is dirty or worn-out spark plugs. This is because worn spark plugs affect the way that your vehicle burns fuel in the combustion chamber. Worn spark plugs cause gas to be left unburned, and this wastes fuel. As a result, you’ll get fewer miles per gallon of fuel.
Incorrect Tire Pressure
While driving with incorrect tire pressure is bad for alignment and the tread of your tires, it can also be very bad for fuel efficiency. When tires are underinflated, they have more resistance, and the more resistance that your tires have, the harder your vehicle will have to work to keep the tires rolling (and the more gas your vehicle will use). Truck drivers should always ensure that their tires have the right amount of tire pressure to improve fuel efficiency.
Faulty Oxygen Sensor
While oxygen sensors typically last for the lifetime of a vehicle, faulty oxygen sensors send false alarms. This means that the sensors will deem the engine to be low on fuel, resulting in adding more unnecessary fuel to the system. Unfortunately, when this happens, that additional fuel goes to waste, and this is everything but fuel efficient.
A Clogged Air Filter
Air filters are somewhat delicate mechanisms in vehicles, and they can take a beating over time. Eventually, these air filters will become clogged with dust and pollen that they’ve kept from entering the fuel system of the vehicle. When these air filters become clogged, they smother your engine and disrupt normal airflow. This decreases fuel efficiency.
Inaccurate Coolant Sensors
Finally, because cooler weather can impact fuel efficiency, a faulty or inaccurate coolant sensor can result in your vehicle thinking that it’s cold even when it’s warm outside. In turn, your vehicle will burn more fuel in an attempt to combat the perceived cooler weather. This fuel is completely wasted.
Preventative Maintenance is the Key to Improving Fuel Efficiency in Your Fleet
If you’ve experienced a sudden or unexplained drop in fuel efficiency as of late, it’s likely that this has more to do with components in your vehicle wearing down or failing and less to do with the age of your engine. The key to improving fuel efficiency in your fleet is preventative maintenance to catch these types of problems before they cause too much damage (especially financially).
If you’re looking for an easy way to make preventative maintenance part of your everyday operations for your commercial fleet, you need the power of a reliable diagnostic tool. Here at Triad, we offer a variety of diagnostic tools for a variety of industry applications. Each tool kit comes packed with features that make performing maintenance on your vehicles and performing the necessary repairs a more straightforward process.
Check out our inventory of diagnostic tools to find the best one for your fleet! Feel free to check out our free demo to see the power of the Jaltest diagnostic software in action. Having the right diagnostic tools make all of the difference in improving fuel efficiency!
Call us at (317) 939-3690.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash