Unless you've converted your truck to run off spent cooking grease from the dumpster of your local Chinese takeout joint, you're forced to head to the gas station when your needle starts dipping down into the E zone. But, those trips are becoming increasingly more expensive. Remember the days when a gallon of go-juice cost less than a buck, or two bucks, or even three bucks? These days, you practically have to sell some bone marrow to afford half a tank.
Luckily, there are ways to fight back. No, I'm not talking about taking public transportation or carpooling...that's for Canadians. Here in America, you can simply upgrade your pickup with a few choice accessories to improve your fuel economy. Here are the top two MPG-boosting mods:
First Upgrade: Air Intake Systems
Deep down in your motor's gut, thousands of little explosions send pistons pulsating to create the forward momentum that propels you around town. There are three ingredients that cause this combustion: fuel, fire and oxygen. When you bolt on an air intake system, you channel giant gusts of extra oxygen into your engine. With all that extra air, your rig doesn't have to squirt out as much gasoline or diesel to get the same amount of power, and that's money in your pocket.
There are a lot of companies building air intake systems these days. K&N is one of the oldest and most respected brands, and Airaid gets solid reviews, especially from truck owners.
Second Upgrade: Tonneau Covers
Ever stick your hand out the window when you're cruising along the freeway (with or without your middle-finger at full mast)? The rush of air hits your hand and pushes it backwards, so you have to flex your muscle a little to keep it forward. What you're feeling is an obnoxious force that eggheads call drag. Unfortunately, the tailgate of your truck acts like a giant version of your hand stuck out the window. As you're cruising along, wind rushes up over your roof, flows down into your payload, and runs face first into your tailgate. Because it creates wicked drag, your motor has to work harder to overcome that force, using more fuel in the process...talk about a drag.
The best way to overcome drag is by installing a tonneau cover. Like a lid for your truck bed, a tonneau cover creates a flat surface that air flows smoothly over. Studies show that pickups can pick up an extra 10% to their fuel economy by installing a tonneau cover - that's no small potatoes.
There are a number of different companies crafting tonneau covers, but one of the most popular is Truxedo. Truxedo tonneau covers come in a range of styles, from soft roll up tonneaus to folding tonneaus, and they all install with no drilling required.
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