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April 30, 2024

Why Is My Fuel Efficiency So Bad? A Guide For Truckers

Why Is My Fuel Efficiency So Bad? A Guide For Truckers

At The Service Company, we know how crucial fuel efficiency is for truckers. When your fuel efficiency takes a dive, it's not just your wallet that feels the pinch; it’s also your schedule and your truck's overall health. In this guide, we’ll explore common culprits of poor fuel efficiency and how you can turn things around.

Misalignment: Steering Away from Poor Fuel Efficiency 

Misalignment in your truck can be a major factor contributing to poor fuel efficiency. When your truck's wheels aren't aligned properly, they create more rolling resistance and your engine has to work harder to push through. This not only wears out your tires quicker, but also guzzles more fuel.

Importance of Regular Wheel Alignment Checks

At The Service Company, we stress the need for regular alignment checks. Even a small misalignment can cause significant changes in fuel consumption. By keeping your wheels properly aligned, you ensure that your truck and trailer moves straight without unnecessary drag, saving you both fuel and tire costs.

Engine Maintenance: The Heart of Efficiency

Your engine is the heart of your truck and just like your heart, if it isn't looked after, things can go south quickly. Neglected engines have to work harder, which means they burn more fuel.

Crucial Maintenance Tips:

  • Fuel Filters: Dirty fuel filters restrict the flow of diesel, forcing your engine to compensate by using more fuel to achieve the same power.
  • Oil Changes: Regular oil changes prevent the build-up of harmful deposits and ensure that your engine runs smoothly with minimal friction.
  • Coolant System Maintenance: If your coolant system is failing to keep up, chances are your engine is going to struggle with the heightened heat and friction. 
  • Glow Plugs: Ensuring your glow plugs are in good shape can lead to smoother combustion, as your engine may need to work harder if your diesel to air ratio isn’t the right temperature. 

Proper maintenance of these components at The Service Company can dramatically improve your fuel efficiency.

Seized Brakes: A Major Fuel Efficiency Culprit 

One often overlooked issue is seized or dragging brakes. If your drum brakes or brake shoes are not releasing properly, or if your slack adjusters are malfunctioning, your brakes might be partially engaged while driving. This not only leads to premature brake wear but also a significant increase in fuel consumption due to added resistance. Some symptoms to look out for are poor braking performance, overheating wheel hubs, smoke, and in severe cases, fire. 

Recognizing Brake Issues:

Keep an ear out for unusual noises and a foot on how your brakes feel. If something seems off, it probably is. Regular brake checks at our Dayton shop can help identify and fix these issues before they start burning through your fuel budget. 

Driver Habits: Actions That Burn Fuel

How you drive impacts fuel efficiency more than you might think. Aggressive driving such as excessive acceleration and hard braking wastes a significant amount of fuel. Moreover, improper following distances can lead to frequent stopping and starting, which also decreases mileage.

Cultivating Fuel-Saving Habits:

  • Maintain a Steady Speed: Use cruise control when possible to maintain a consistent speed.
  • Plan Your Moves: Anticipate stops and starts to minimize abrupt changes in speed.
  • Keep Your Distance: Maintaining a good following distance allows for smoother driving with less stop-and-go.

Tire Rolling Resistance: The Rough Road to High Fuel Consumption

Tire rolling resistance refers to the energy lost by a tire as it rolls under the vehicle's weight. The stiffer the tire, the more fuel your engine needs to use to overcome this resistance.

Opt for low rolling resistance tires. These are specifically designed to increase the efficiency of the energy transferred from your engine to the movement of your truck. Our Dayton facility can guide you in selecting and maintaining the right tires for your rig.

Enhanced Route and Cargo Management

Last, but certainly not least, the way you manage your routes and cargo can play a massive role in fuel consumption.

Route Optimization:

Using GPS technology to plan the most efficient routes avoids unnecessary miles. Avoiding heavy traffic and poor road conditions can reduce idling and constant speed changes that eat up fuel.

Efficient Cargo Loading:

Properly loaded cargo helps maintain the truck's balance and aerodynamics. Uneven loads can cause your engine to work harder, particularly on inclines, leading to increased fuel usage.

Final Thoughts; Contact Us Today 

Poor fuel efficiency is often a sign of underlying issues, ranging from mechanical failures to inefficient driving habits. At The Service Company in Dayton, Ohio, we’re committed to helping you understand and improve your truck’s fuel efficiency. 

From regular maintenance to driver education, we provide all the services necessary to keep your truck running at its best. Remember, the road to improved fuel efficiency starts with you. Let us help you navigate it. Drive into our shop today and let’s get your truck back to its most fuel-efficient self!

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