How to Increase Gas Mileage on Your Car

Brandon Wirtz, a member of the LockerGnome team, decided it was time to make a few upgrades to his Mini Cooper. One of these upgrades – which is primarily focused on increasing horse power and gas mileage – is to increase the amount of air flow to the engine by replacing the stock air intake with something better.

By replacing the stock paper air filter with a larger cloth model, the amount of air flow to the engine increases. This increases the combustion efficiency and results in a few extra horsepower. Improved gas mileage and slightly increased speed are a couple expected advantages to this upgrade.

Cloth air filters are slightly more expensive, though they are reusable and allow for the free flow of air between the environment and the engine. Cleaning can be done using a special kit that maintains the chemical balance required for the intake to function properly.

One thing to keep in mind when doing this upgrade is to make sure the mass air flow sensor is out of the way and safe while you’re replacing the intake. This is a $150 part that can impact the way your vehicle works and performs. Another item of note is that you will want to secure the new intake to avoid bumps and dips in the road causing unhealthy jostling. In this instance, Brandon went with zip ties (also known as cable ties) to keep the intake securely in place.

A new air intake won’t create a drastic change in your car’s overall performance alone. It is one of several upgrades that can improve the way your vehicle functions. A slow car won’t become an instant drag racer, but the benefits in the improved gas mileage may pay off financially over time.

UPDATE: After a wave of inquiries as to the possibility of “heat soaking” an engine by removing the plastic casing surrounding the old air filter, Brandon put out this video demonstrating his MPG and temperature readings after the upgrade.

Do you have any gas mileage improving tips or tricks? Please leave a comment below and let me know.

8 thoughts on “How to Increase Gas Mileage on Your Car”

  1. The best way to increase your car’s fuel efficiency is to change the way you drive. A simple bolt on, like a high flow air filter, isn’t likely to deliver a significant increase. It may help. It may hinder. As always, YMMV.

    1. It works well on the turbo mini’s.  The spool up/down time on the turbo is reduced so even if you still drive it like you stole it you see a pretty substantial gain because of increase accuracy of throttle response.

  2. Who wrote this article an idiot?

    putting a bigger intake pipe won’t change anything as the throttle body is unchanged.

    Changing your air filter every 30k miles (or less if you live in a dusty environment) will be good enough, basically an unrestricted air filter is best.

    1. The person who wrote the above comment is an idiot. 🙂

      Didn’t change the intake pipe, increased the surface of the filter, reducing the restriction on the flow of air.
      Cloth air filters you clean every 7k miles.  Paper air filters you replace every 12-18k miles depending where you live.

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