High fuel costs and poor fuel efficiency are among the top challenges and risks in fleet operations. But since cargo trucks can’t always decrease their load, fleet owners haven’t got many choices for reducing costs. As such, they bear the weight of expensive maintenance in exchange for timely deliveries and satisfied clients.
Will aftermarket modifications help them? It is claimed that aftermarket car parts can increase fuel efficiency, but this should be met with scrutiny. Many businesses capitalize on the ever-increasing driving costs and the market’s demand for add-ons. But not all of these businesses deliver as they promise. In the end, fleet operators and personal car owners just spend more and reap no benefit.
So before using your resources for modifications, let’s look at what the studies have found and the proven ways to increase fuel efficiency.
Common Aftermarket Parts
The idea behind special mufflers, catalytic converters, and exhaust tubing is to ease the pressure on pistons that result from exhaust fumes. In turn, fuel efficiency increases. But before replacing a truck’s exhaust system, owners must consider if it will void the truck’s warranty. Emissions must be noted as well. If the new exhaust system causes toxic emissions, the owner will be responsible for the health risks it will create. They’ll also be contributing to the worsening climate change problem.
Mass Airflow Sensor
PR Newswire shared the top five parts that increase fuel efficiency, including the mass airflow sensor. This add-on regulates fuel injection, the ignition system, and transmission shifting. It gets dirty over time, but cleaning or replacing it is a simple, DIY-friendly job. A mass airflow sensor is also available online for an affordable price.
Since cargo trucks often drive long distances, their oxygen sensors can get faulty faster than usual. This will increase fuel consumption. But replacing the oxygen sensor in due time can curb the costs before they arise. Fleet owners should get a new oxygen sensor when their trucks reach 100,000 miles.
A fresh set of plugs can make vehicles run cleaner and burn fuel more efficiently. Most manufacturers recommend new spark plugs when the vehicle hits 60,000 miles—another thing fleet owners should take note of.
Cold Air Intake System
A cold air intake in an economical aftermarket modification brings cooler air to the combustion chamber, boosting the engine’s power. As a result, it reduces air temperature and increases airflow. Compared to hot air, cold air allows fuel to burn more efficiently as it increases the rate of oxygen combustion. This leads to added horsepower, improved acceleration, and better gas mileage.
Cheaper Ways to Increase Fuel Efficiency
If new, high-quality heavy-duty parts aren’t in the budget yet, stick to these low-cost ways to increase fuel efficiency:
Many truck drivers are time-pressured, which forces them to drive fast and recklessly. This results in higher fuel consumption and costs. Prevent this by reviewing your drivers’ daily workload and determining whether they have a realistic timetable. If their daily deliveries create time constraints, they need a new time and task management plan.
Cut Down on Idling
This is another common habit of truck drivers. Idling happens during rest stops or when cargo loaders take too long to finish their tasks. This can waste 0.8 gallons of fuel per hour. Advise your drivers to turn off the engine if they need to stop for an unpredictable time.
Tune Up Regularly
Improving fuel efficiency is all in the maintenance. Ensure that oil changes are scheduled regularly. Being late with your tune-ups can cause your trucks to fail at an emission test, potentially leading to penalties.
Keep the Tires Inflated
Well-inflated tires are one of the auto parts that help boost fuel efficiency. Under-inflation can reduce gas mileage down to 0.2% for every 1 PSI lower than recommended. Plus, punctures on the tires can lead to bursts, which can cause deadly collisions.
Use Better Routing and Dispatch Software
Technology plays a role in increasing fuel efficiency. Use routing and dispatch software that will allow you to select the fastest routes and reduce fuel costs.
Turn the A/C On
Contrary to popular belief, using the A/C will not waste fuel. In fact, it can cut your fuel mileage down to 3%.
Reduce Excessive Weight
All trucks have a limited capacity, and going over that limit strains the engine, resulting in higher fuel consumption. So cut the excessive weight from your cargo and save up to $490 in turn.
Use the Heater Responsibly
If you use a diesel-fired heater, your trucks burn 0.04 to 0.08 gallons to keep those heaters running. Turn down the heat to save on diesel.
While spending money isn’t required to boost fuel efficiency, some aftermarket modifications will really do help. Just do your research and identify the sources of your hefty costs before making a decision.