Reader Question: I have a 2004 Ford Explorer XLT 6 Cyl auto with 56,000 miles. Gas mileage is about 16 MPG vs. 17 MPG before. Recently put Goodyear Fortera triple treads on. I am not overly concerned. I never had any major work done, including tune-ups.
Should I look into that? Should I also concern myself with timing belt replacement some time soon?
Trying to determine fuel mileage is pretty tricky. There are so many variables that can skew the number – vehicle speed, wind speed, outside temperature, road surface, and use of air conditioner, grade, and brand of fuel used.
All of those and many other variables can affect your calculation of fuel consumption. Vehicle manufacturers and the government use special equipment under strict control conditions to come up with an average mile per gallon figure. In my opinion, the average driver will probably not consistently receive the fuel mileage stamped on the dealer window sticker.
Your new triple ply tires could have affected your mileage, the more rubber, the more weight the harder your engine has to work to push the vehicle down the road. Of course, the more rubber on the tire will produce a smoother, quieter more comfortable ride and will extend the life of the tire itself…so there is a trade off.
Other items that affect fuel mileage are:
1. Tire air pressure – make sure your tires are properly inflated; more air the easier it is to roll, but too much or too little air pressure can be a danger.
2. Make sure your air filter is clean.
3. The need for a tune up – spark plugs, fuel filter, and spark plug wires, etc., etc., etc. (at this current mileage you might talk to your mechanic about spark plugs).
4. The use of the proper engine oil weight – too thick of engine oil makes the engine work harder.
5. Carrying extra weight around
6. Dirty fuel injectors – usually a rough idle or poor idle complaint is a common symptom.
Your engine should be using a timing CHAIN not a rubber belt and does not need to be changed like a belt does.