Towing Fuel Economy

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It’s critical for trailer owners to minimize the expense of towing as much as possible. Mirage Trailers has tips to increase fuel economy when towing.

Professionals who use their trailers on the job know this to be especially true. We’d like to throw you some tips that may help maintain your profitability.

Expect a Significant Drop in Fuel Efficiency
It’s physics. If you’re pulling a trailer, you are going to lose as much as 40% of your tow vehicle’s fuel efficiency. It is what it is. The important thing to remember is that operating your trailer with as many variables under your control as possible will soften the blow. It will not eliminate it.

Check Your Brakes
Check your brakes both on your trailer and on your tow vehicle often. If your trailer’s brakes are worn out or out of alignment, it will take more effort and distance to stop. Bad brakes on your tow vehicle creates the same problem.

Replace Your Trailer Tires Every 3-5 Years
Even if there is plenty of tread, trailer tires carry a lot of weight on them, even if they aren’t being used. High speeds in hot conditions degrade trailer tires rapidly. After 3 years, consider replacing your tires even if there is plenty of tread left. At 5 years, your trailer tires are most assuredly worn out and need replacement. Bad tires mean under-inflated tires, leaky tires, or tires with flat spots, all of which cause a decrease in your fuel efficiency.

Keep Tire Pressure Up To Manufacturer Specifications
Tires lose air, even brand new tires. Expect a loss of 1 to 3 PSI per month. As above, under-inflated tires are a big reason for bad gas mileage. Before setting out, make sure your tow vehicle and trailer tires are all properly inflated.

Watch Your Speed
Keep your rig under 60 mph. Running at high speeds, especially when pulling a load, decreases fuel efficiency dramatically. When NOT towing a vehicle, every 5 mph over 60 you travel is like paying an additional 30 to 40 cents per gallon of gas. Imagine the fuel wasted when pulling a trailer?

Don’t Hammer the Throttle/Brakes
Punching the throttle when at the traffic light is fun, but it’s also a waste of fuel. Additionally, “jack rabbit” stops are also hard on your wallet. Smooth operation is the key here, gradual acceleration and deceleration will improve your gas mileage when towing.

Use Overdrive and Cruise Control
If your vehicle is equipped with these features, take advantage of them when you can. The overdrive at cruising speeds decreases the RPM of your engine and improves its efficiency. Moreover, utilizing the cruise control will prevent fluctuations in your speed, and provide similar benefits.

Check That O2 Sensor
If you’re traveling with a bad oxygen sensor, you can be losing as much as 40% of your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. You also might want to check to see if you have a clean air filter. That alone can drop your mileage by 10%.

Improve/Replace Your Trailer
Consider adding wheel skirts to your trailer to reduce air flow around your tires. Add fairings where you can. You may also consider installing a weight distribution hitch. If it’s time to replace your trailer, and fuel efficiency is really important, look into purchasing a v-nose for your next trailer.

Any or all of these tips will help increase your gas mileage and keep your overhead as low as possible when using your trailer. If you have further tips, please let your fellow trailer owners know about them in the comments below. Safe towing to all!

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