Third World Group
November 27, 2020
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How To Increase The Fuel Economy Of Your Truck With Common Aftermarket Products

Author: Administrator
Most American households will have a truck, especially a pick-up truck. The trucks with their open beds do not quite form an aerodynamic structure to aid better fuel economy. Any open space in your vehicle or a high tailgate will always create a drag which will eventually compromise the aerodynamics of your vehicle. This in turn will make the engine work harder to cover the same distance that it would have covered in an aerodynamic vehicle. A hard working engine as we all know equals to more fuel consumption. There are many ways that have been tried and tested over time in order to improve the mileage of trucks. Let's look at some ways that have been popular over time.

In 1982 a test was conducted by Popular Mechanics without any variables to test the aerodynamics of a truck and whether taking simple measures to improve the aerodynamics of a truck affected the fuel economy or not. They had put on a tonneau cover on an open bed truck and drove it for a distance. Then they drove the same truck without any tonneau cover. The mileage increased by a staggering 9% with the cover. The drag created by the open bed of the truck as the experiment showed was eliminated by the tonneau cover. Popular Mechanics further insisted on installing a camper shell. A camper shell, they said, would take care of any turbulence at the back of the vehicle created by the cover and the air caught in the gap and would eventually increase the mileage by 13%.

So is this a full proof way then towards a better mileage?

Let's consider the following factor:

The test was conducted on a Isuzu. The truck has a long bed almost 98 inches long. Using a camper shell or a tonneau cover will always give a better mileage than the mini trucks with smaller beds. It is also a pretty light truck. As a result the air drag generated at the tailgate would be far more than that in small, compact trucks. Hence the amount of fuel saved would also be higher in comparison to the small compact one.

If you consider using the tonneau cover, remember that Popular Mechanics had used camper shell molded of plastic that was quite light in weight. Now if you were to use a commercial aluminum (heavy duty), then you would not probably get the same advantage. Alternately using tops made of fiber glass for shorter trucks may improve the aerodynamics better than the lighter plastic covers.

Generally such products cost somewhere between $250.00-$1500. Spending such amount of money for a cover so that you get fuel economy may prove beneficial in a long run, but other advantages of having a cover would be:

Getting a weather proof protection for the open area in your truck.

Most of such covers can be locked as well.

One other way of getting a better fuel economy is lowering the tailgate. Tailgate net or as they say "louvered" tailgate do come handy.


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