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First of all, I have read many of the threads related to gas mileage. I'm fully aware that I should expect more than around 20 MPG under some conditions. I have a 2003 4WD EX Auto. I have a roof rack and often don't have the rear seats in the vehicle. I usually can expect to get almost 250 miles out of a tank, maybe a little more on a road trip. However, lately I have noticed a marked decline. And this week, I am nearly close to empty with 130ish miles on the trip odometer.

I need some advise, and any ideas are greatly appreciated!!! What should I do first? Tune-up? I have almost 98,000 miles. Could it be the brakes? The transmission? Sometimes, I get the feeling like the auto transmission doesn't fully release the "clutch" when I lift up the gas peddle, like I can feel slight engine drag... as if it was a manual trans. and I release the gas pedal but didn't put down the clutch. I have checked the transmission fluid, and recently performed an amateur, partial drain and fill by lifting the rear of the car to drain as much as possible and then filling. Also, it has been very cold where I live, like near zero in the morning.

Where should I start? Thanks!!!!
 

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First of all, I have read many of the threads related to gas mileage. I'm fully aware that I should expect more than around 20 MPG under some conditions. I have a 2003 4WD EX Auto. I have a roof rack and often don't have the rear seats in the vehicle. I usually can expect to get almost 250 miles out of a tank, maybe a little more on a road trip. However, lately I have noticed a marked decline. And this week, I am nearly close to empty with 130ish miles on the trip odometer.

I need some advise, and any ideas are greatly appreciated!!! What should I do first? Tune-up? I have almost 98,000 miles. Could it be the brakes? The transmission? Sometimes, I get the feeling like the auto transmission doesn't fully release the "clutch" when I lift up the gas peddle, like I can feel slight engine drag... as if it was a manual trans. and I release the gas pedal but didn't put down the clutch. I have checked the transmission fluid, and recently performed an amateur, partial drain and fill by lifting the rear of the car to drain as much as possible and then filling. Also, it has been very cold where I live, like near zero in the morning.

Where should I start? Thanks!!!!
The weather has a lot to do with the fuel consumption of any Vehicle.

It would help if you fill in your Profile, and tell us where you live.

You may have winter blend in your area that kills the mileage. Also you are on the cusp of the mileage for new plugs. That may help. Have they ever been done? Are you allowing the car to warm up before you start driving? That also eats into the mileage figures. Are you doing a lot of short trips? That has an impact on fuel consumption as well. How about your tire inflation?

Several factors influence the overall consumption of gas. So it may not be just one thing that we can point to, and say, this is the culprit. You will need to do an assessment of several factors, then formulate a theory, from there.


Dom
 

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Welcome, Joshingyou.

Let us know when you have calculated your miles per gallon. "Miles per tank" is hopeless. As one member put it, "Using the gas guage to calculate mileage is about as accurate as calculating wind speed by holding up a wet finger."

miles/kilometers per tank fallacy
 

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Winter driving temps really do lower mpg's. I just filled up and have the lowest ever since new. 198.4 miles 13.22 gallons=15.0

That tank was all short trips. 3 miles to work each way last time I filled up was 3 weeks ago.

Do you have a remote start or warm it up before driving, those will scew the mpgs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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Thanks for weighing in everyone! I do keep a log of gas purchases and I will compute my MPG and post it soon. I will also fill in my profile immediately after sending this reply. To answer some of your concerns:

-I never let the car warm up before driving and I don't have a remote starter
-For the tank in question, it has been all short trips, sometimes with the defrost on
-The spark plugs are original to the best of my knowledge. I bought the vehicle certified pre-owned with 60,000 miles (98,000 now).
-I am pretty easy on the gas pedal, and I will be extremely easy on it with the newest full tank of fuel in order to get the best numbers.

Is there a way to diagnose any potential problems with the transmission and/or brakes that could be causing excess drag? As I noted in my original post, the auto-hypochondriac in me senses a minor engine drag effect coming from the transmission when I lift off the gas pedal -- like in a manual transmission if you gently remove your foot from the gas and cruise without putting down the clutch? Does anyone ever feel this slight sensation in their Element? Am I far too sensitive?



Josh
 

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To answer some of your concerns:

-I never let the car warm up before driving
Ouch, I'm having sympathy pains for your engine, Josh. No engine warm up in zero degree weather? I hope you are at least running synthetic in her.

If it really checks out to be a sudden, drastic change in fuel mileage, I might suggest going back to any recent service procedures, like the transmission fluid change. Is the fluid of proper kind and is your level really correct? Good luck.
 

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NJ miles

I have an 04 that I bought used with 70k a year ago, January 2, from a dealer. My first E. I too got crazed when I realized 16 to 18 mpg's my first few gas refills. I used Slick 50 High Mileage Formula in the fuel, changed tire pressure to 32 in front, 34 in rear and that got better mileage. In March I took a trip to VT and got 29 mpg hwy. As spring came on with warmer temps, I got steady, high mpg's, city and hwy. Same with summer. Now that it's real cold, I'm finding my gas going fast again!
Footnote: I had my mechanic change the differential fluid while I had him do an oil change. I've wanted to do this since I read somewhere in this forum that it improves performance. Not sure if it affects mpg but the whirring noise in rear is gone!
 

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One time when I got about 150 miles to tank, I was driving back roads in 1st and 2nd most of the time. Cold weather, short trips, and possibly a lot of slow speed driving through snow could well be cutting your mileage.

My suggestion is to wait till it gets a bit warmer and you have a chance to take a day trip on highways. Using the tank at a steady 55mph is the best way of getting the target highway mileage.
 

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try some good fuel system cleaner,BG, or lucas. see if the exhaust is pluged up,see if the intake is pluged up ( dirty filter).is someone stealing your gass???:roll::shock::evil::-(
 

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Ouch, I'm having sympathy pains for your engine, Josh. No engine warm up in zero degree weather? I hope you are at least running synthetic in her.

If it really checks out to be a sudden, drastic change in fuel mileage, I might suggest going back to any recent service procedures, like the transmission fluid change. Is the fluid of proper kind and is your level really correct? Good luck.
There's a whole slew of sources and studies out there showing that warming up your car adds unnecessary engine wear and wastes gas. In temps below freezing, the common consensus is to start the engine and let it run for a short time, maybe 30 seconds, to ensure engine oil has had an opportunity to fully circulate, then to drive the car gently until it is fully warmed up. Just google "Warming up your car myths" and you'll get a slew of results.
 

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There's a whole slew of sources and studies out there showing that warming up your car adds unnecessary engine wear and wastes gas. In temps below freezing, the common consensus is to start the engine and let it run for a short time, maybe 30 seconds, to ensure engine oil has had an opportunity to fully circulate, then to drive the car gently until it is fully warmed up. Just google "Warming up your car myths" and you'll get a slew of results.
With low viscosity, synthetic oil, that may be somewhat true. But, with an automatic trans, I just can't help thinking of all those little pieces and parts that don't get into their proper designed clearances until the metal is at designed operating temperature. Metal likes to expand and contract a lot. Also, if your engine doesn't reach operating temperature before you arrive at your destination, your engine will certainly have an opportunity to produce condensation----that's a whole other damage causing menace.

I like your attention to this. This would be a good discussion topic.
 

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every thing has addEquite clearance when cold,no need to sit and warm it up , just start and go!!! think about it if you let it sit there and warm up some parts arnt loaded so they arnt "heating up with the rest of the parts.The more uniformaly they heat up the better. just dont make it a habbit to start it up and make mario andredii proud. that can do harm. such as pistons geting hoter than the block to fast (pistons swell before block has a chance to) but if you have a knief welding zombie or some other reason for a hasty getaway then by all means STABIT!!!!
 

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Debate over warmups aside, lots of short trips, especially in the cold, kill fuel economy.
Ditto that - and some manufactures actually put "Do Not Idle/Warm Up" in their Owner Manual. My '04 MINI Cooper had this in the manual:

"Do not allow the engine to warm up with the vehicle at a standstill. Move off immediately at a moderate engine speed."
 

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Sorry

Sorry Man, I've been driving to buffallo ny, twice a weak to siphon your gas, I can see it is starting to wear on you so I will stop, this should drastically improve your mpg!

Also moght try a fuel supplement called HEAT, great for short runs and cold weather!
 

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Also moght try a fuel supplement called HEAT, great for short runs and cold weather!
I bet Buffalo kids grew up adding HEAT to their dads' fuel tanks. It is alcohol that is used to absorb water and prevent blockage in the fuel line. New cars with fuel tank emissions controls don't have as much a problem with water in the gas. These days I just use it in my camping stove.
 

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So joshingyou did you ever figure out how many gallons it took to replace the 140 miles to a fillup? 12 gallons? 13 gallons? That's like 11 mpg. I would have it checked out for sure.
 

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Well, here in AZ, yes it is winter here, I just filled my tank up and my calculation from top off to top off is I just got 29 miles per gallon on my 2004 E. This is the highest I have achieved so far and should be breaking 30 mpg shortly (in about another 750 miles which is in another two or three weeks with my driving). My driving conditions: you name it, I do it (outside of racing), rush hour highway with parking lot conditions or just turtle speeds, regular city traffic with lights, fast highway up to 70 or 75 miles per hour, highway traffic at 55 to 60 miles per hour, and back country driving at 45 to 50 miles per hour, and normal city traffic at 35 or 40 and some at 25. I am not pulling anyone's leg here. I did get this mileage. In case someone wants to know the math: Topped off Tuesday, drove 232.6 miles in three days (yes it sucks to drive to work). Topped off again Friday after returning from home and put in 8.024 gallons. So, 232.6 mies/8.024 gallons = 28.98 miles per gallon which at this rate should give me just under 390 miles per tank when I put in 13 gallons, have put in this and more plenty of times. The secret to such success... I will just have to tell you later once I have finished testing my project idea and confirm all results and let the VTEC finish adjusting to my new parameters. However, I will mention my E now has ram air induction. More information later. I have complete two of three phases and the third phase, the most costly one that will be done later, should be my Element at about 35 mpg. This really simple to do and really there is no reason in the world why Honda just couldn't do this. Let's get real here. How does a four cylinder engine get the same gas consumption as their larger V6 model found in their Ridgeline? Hmmmm..... I wonder. I understand the vehicle is big, heavy, and square (giving it lousy aerodynamics) but a few easy mods (which are not expensive at all) can make such a difference. I now laugh at those stupid Chevy Cobalts getting 33 mpg. Umm, let's wake up here. Volkswagon produces a TDI that gets over 50 mpg and of course we can't have it here in the USA (some political crap about emissions which is utter bull**** since that car is cleaner than most of our American makes). Anyway, I will post more about this later as I finalize everything and get more numbers to share.

Joe Nichols
2004 Element 2WD EX (or should I now say EXRAI)
 
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