How to get Better gas mileage with a RV
RV's or recreational vehicles are notorious for getting incredibly poor gas mileage. With their sheer size, weight, a non-aerodynamic features, often the gas mileage is reduced to single digits. Most people use their RV's for traveling distances and sometimes the entire continent. Often the miles can be heavily racked up on even a single trip. Getting the most miles per gallon (MPG) will certainly save money for the traveler. It is important to note that an RV will certainly never be able to compare to a large passenger vehicle's MPG, but there are some ways to greatly improve the RV's gas mileage. Please consider that even a single mile per gallon is often an increase of 15%. By using the following methods, it is possible to increase the mileage by several miles per gallon.
Get rid of extra weight! Many people over pack while traveling in their RV. They do not understand that every single ounce that they place in the RV itself will reduce the overall gas mileage. An RV owner should always go through everything and really consider how much they are packing on their trip. Consider if you really need to pack 20 forks, full socket sets, large bottles of shampoo, a lot of loose tools rather than a multi-tool, too many blankets, too many articles of clothing, full boxes of band aids rather than just a few, etc. The idea is to reduce the weight as much as you possibly can. Some items that will be removed may seem redundant and light, but an RV owner really needs to consider that every small object adds to the overall weight. A refrigerator magnet on an RV refrigerator will add one once of weight that the gasoline must be spent on. Be creative and reduce the weight as much as possible. Be sure not to go overboard though, and keep safety items such as spare tires and a fire extinguisher. This is a common sense reduction of weight, with removing over packed and unneeded items.
Tune up the engine. Whether you pull a RV travel trailer or drive a Class A, C, or B RV, be sure to have the engine in excellent mechanical condition. The oil should be fresh & clean, have clean and correctly gapped spark plugs, and a clean air filter at all times. This will ensure that the function of the engine combustion will be at peak performance. Also it is a great practice to help the reliability of the RV. This also applies to a tow vehicle that would be towing a travel trailer.
Keep the tires inflated. Inflate all of the tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire. Some people even over inflate the tires by 5 psi. This will cause the tires to have a slightly less amount of surface contact with the road. This will cause a reduction in tire friction, thus translating into more miles per gallon in the RV. It is up to an individual to decide for themselves if they wish to over inflate their tires, but we all can accept the maximum pressure suggested by the tire manufacturer.
Good aerodynamics reduces wind resistance. Wind resistance is a major contributor to poor gas mileage in RV's. Obviously due to the size of the vehicle, there is going to be a great amount of wind resistance. The goal here is to reduce the amount of wind resistance as much as possible. Consider aerodynamic mud flaps to reduce the wind resistance near the ground. Mud flaps are merely like sails that are several square feet. To use mud flaps with venting, will reduce the overall weight and wind resistance. Cover anything from television antennas to exterior plug outlets with aerodynamic plastic to help reduce the wind resistance. Many items on an RV will "drag" in the wind and it is important to cover these items up. Also if you are towing a travel trailer, consider getting a wind deflector on the tow vehicle. A wind deflector will push the air above your travel trailer rather than allowing the wind to hit the front of it while towing. These wind deflectors need to reach within 4 feet to the front of the RV. It is not suggested to use a wing type deflector.
Slow down! If you can drive your RV at 55 miles per hour it will help your overall fuel economy. This is because there will be a much less amount of wind drag at this speed. When coupled with better aerodynamics of the RV itself, driving slower can greatly improve the gas mileage.
Get a Bluetooth OBD 2 scanner. Using a smartphone you can read your real-time RV data with this scanner. You will be able to see the miles per gallon that you are getting in real time, and learn to drive your specific RV to attain the best possible gas mileage. It will communicate with your smartphone app, and allow you to not only see the functions of your engine, but will allow you to train your driving habits to achieve the gas mileage you want. These work with standard vehicles as well.
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