How to Improve Fuel Efficiency with Specialized Springs
When people are looking to improve fuel economy they don’t usually look at a vehicle’s springs. Maybe they should, as springs can make a difference. Using a good specialized spring can bring a fairly dramatic improvement in fuel economy. The springs that come in the car won’t do the job. You need to use aftermarket springs in order to improve fuel economy. Even then you need to have high performance springs, which create other problems.
Tools and Materials
- High performance springs
- Socket wrenches
- Car jack
- Jack stands
- Spring compressor
Step 1 - Types Of Springs
High performance springs are aftermarket parts generally aimed at those who want a better performance from their vehicle in terms of speed and handling. To improve fuel economy is far down the list of desires, so this is really an accidental benefit. However, a trial in California did show that switching to aftermarket high performance springs increased the mileage by over 3 miles per gallon, without any other changes involved.
Step 2 - How They Work
When you change to high performance springs, which would generally be at a scheduled maintenance, you’ll notice that the new springs are shorter. That means the body sits lower on the springs. In turn, this has the effect of lowering the vehicle’s front area. When that’s multiplied by the drag coefficient, the result is that the drag for the vehicle is much lower, so it uses less fuel. With some manufacturers the springs can be 1 inch shorter than regular springs, which can lead to a substantial difference in the drag coefficient.
Step 3 - The Downside
As with all high performance springs, putting these on a car is going to lead to a much harder ride. That’s far less comfortable, so for most people this way to improve fuel economy is only going to work if the driving is on good roads. The other things that will put off most people is the cost of the springs. Good high performance springs aren’t cheap. Expect to pay in the region of $300 for a set, without installation.
Step 4 - Installation
The installation of high performance springs to improve fuel economy isn’t difficult. You will need to have the vehicle raised on jack stands, and you’ll have to remove both front wheels. From there you’ll need to use the socket wrench to loosen the nuts at the bottom of the old spring, and then the nut at the top. Apply the spring compressor and then loosen the nut at the top to remove the spring.
Use the compressor on the new spring and then put the top of the spring in place. Then, use the socket wrench to put the lower end of the new spring in place before loosening the compressor. Fastening the lower end will be trickier, as the spring is shorter. The trick is not to tighten the compressor as much. You only need it tight enough to reach the hole.