Back in December my commute to work changed from about 15-20 minutes one way to one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. This significant addition of mileage drove me (no pun intended) to make minor modifications to my vehicle and driving habits to improve my fuel economy. In the beginning I used my vehicle’s built-in Instant MPG data to adjust my coasting and acceleration.
This small move did show an improvement in fuel economy but the digital guage isn’t well placed for frequent checks. I decided to purchase something that was much more obvious as it could be mounted directly onto my dash.
I’ve been using an Auto Meter 9105 ecometer Fuel Consumption Gauge, which costs around $100, and connects directly to the OBD-II port of my vehicle. Not only does it present the data in a much easier format to quickly glance at but I’ve also discovered that the referesh of the data is much faster than that of the built-in guage.
I’d prefer that the display could be dimmed significantly but otherwise it’s nearly perfect. If I’m applying several basic hypermiling habits I can indeed improve fuel economy. My vehicle’s highest MPG rating (highway) is 29 MPG but I’ve been able to achieve 30.29 MPG once and most of the time I hit between 26 and 28 MPG unless I’ve had a lot of in-city driving in my car. I have more MPG data from this year that I may share in a later post.
The guage by itself does nothing to improve fuel economy but it provides the ability to make driving decisions quickly, potentially saving fuel.
Updated 04/18/2018: This device worked great the entire time that I used it. The only reason I stopped using it was because I unintentionally allowed the cable to slip behind the parking break, where it became crimped and shorted (fortunately this didn’t damage the car but I was lucky). But despite no longer having the device I’m left with a much better, innate sense of how to drive my vehicle more efficiently.
The headlights on my wife’s car had become clouded and were in desperate need of a good restoration. Taking advice from a friend of mine, I purchased a Crystal View Headlight Restorer/Defogger kit from one of the local auto parts stores for just over $20. You can easily find several different restoration kits from various manufacturers. I have no idea if one is better than another but I’m pleased with the results of this kit (and my wife is as well).
This isn’t a run-down of the process. To put it simply, I followed the directions exactly as outlined in the included instructions with only one exception (the addition of masking tape around the edges).
Earlier this week my mother’s car started having problems with the dash indicators (and apparently the entire dashboard console) while driving. Concerned her car was about to stop running, she drove it back home and then called me to give her a ride. Before we left I found that we couldn’t start the engine.
I tried starting it again later that day to no avail. The electrical system seemed to be working but it just wouldn’t turn over. All I’d hear was a fast clicking when I tried the ignition.
My initial thought was a problem with the battery, starter, or alternator. Both of my brothers also suggested it could be a short.
The brakes on one of our cars started squealing a few weeks so we bought some new brake pads. I’ve replaced brake pads on my previous cars so this was a task I was familiar with, though I hadn’t worked on this car yet. I held onto the new pads for a little while until I finally had the time (and energy) to replace them this weekend.
If you’ve ever changed brake pads on a passenger car then the process is probably familiar.
Disclaimer: I’m not a mechanic. I work on my own cars when I can to save money. If you damage your own vehicle using my information then, well, you’re on your own.