5 Cheap Performance Tips For Your Truck

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Do you enjoy tweaking your truck to squeeze out every little bit of power? Who doesn’t. When Henry Ford built the first Model T with a pickup bed in 1925, somewhere someone was trying to figure out a way to make it a little faster.

Of course for truck owners, it’s not really about speedit’s about power. Power to tow, haul, pass on the freeway, head up to the mountains, or show that snob in the Range Rover who thinks his wittle SUV is fast who really has the big motor.

Cheap truck performance tips - 5 ways to go faster for less than $50

Cheap truck performance tips – 5 ways to go faster for less than $50

The most common truck performance accessories are air intakes and exhaust systems. However, if you’re short on cash, or if you don’t feel like spending half your truck payment (or more) on an aFe air intake, here are some ideas for making your truck more powerful without spending more than $50.

1. Clear out all the crap. Do you roll down the road with a bunch of “stuff” in your pickup? Hauling around that old roll of carpet, that box of clothes you’re supposed to drop off at Goodwill, or that extra 50 pounds worth of “who knows” that just seems to accumulate is wasting power (and fuel). Get rid of just a few pounds of extra weight, and your truck is faster (and your fuel economy might be better too). Cost: Free

2. Check your tire pressure. Here’s another fuel economy tip that also has a performance advantage. Low tire pressure isn’t hurting you “off the line”, but on the highway under-inflated tires can add significant resistance. Properly inflated tires improve high-speed passing performance, reduce tire wear, and improve gas mileage…it’s a win-win-win. Cost: Free

We tested a K&N air filter and noted a significant fuel economy improvement

We tested a K&N air filter and noted a significant fuel economy improvement

3. Replace your air filter. A dirty air filter is a power killer. Depending on your local climate, where you drive, etc., your air filter can get dirty…quick. After as little as 20k miles, your air filter could be clogged. You can replace your filter with another plain old paper air filter for $20-$30, but your best bet is to go with a K&N truck air filter. They add power AND they boost fuel economy. Cost: About $50

4. Clean your fuel injectors. Fuel injectors can become clogged with gunk over time, hurting performance. A bottle of fuel injector cleaner isn’t going to add a second to your next quarter mile time, but it will help make sure your injectors are running as clean as possible. A single bottle of NOS fuel system cleaner should last at least 20k miles. Cost: About $12.

5. Change the oil. When it comes to cheap performance, fresh oil is king – especially if your motor is older. Brand new oil lubricates best, and after a few hundred miles of use (especially during stop-start city driving), regular oil loses some of it’s premier lubricating abilities. Unless you’re running pure synthetic oil, changing the oil earlier than necessary will give you a little performance boost. Cost: The price of an oil change.

That’s the big list – anything we’re missing?

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips


RSSComments (17)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. TXTee says:

    Do it all except the fuel injectors. May try that one just to see what happens but lately I’m getting way more out of the tank even thought the MPG readings are about the same. Maybe the camper is helping??

  2. I’m not real big on the injectors, but it’s one of those “can’t hurt” things that might fix a power loss problem. There was a post a while back about tonneau covers and aerodynamics, and a aerodynamic engineering student discussed testing that showed a camper shell adds more drag than any other bed accessory…but I don’t know. It’s hard to say.

  3. Mickey says:

    As of today my avg is 23mpg just doing good old 55. I get over 450 miles to the tank. I do what you have up there except I don’t use NOS. I use STP. I get one tank of premium a month and I use synthetic oil. I change my oil every 5,000 miles and rotate my tires then. I also do a front end alignment every 15,000 miles whether I need it or not. I rebalance my tires after 20,000 miles. I check my tire pressure every saturday when I clean both vehicles. This is just what I do. It doesn’t fall under the recommendations for service. I try to be pro-active on the truck and car. I have over 66,000 miles now and like the energizer rabbit I still keep going and going.

  4. Mickey says:

    Jason I just follow mythbusters on the bed cover in what they came up with.

  5. TXTee says:

    Sounds great, Mickey. I just hate doing 55 and in TX you’re bound to get creamed. You top the charts with your MPG out in FL so it’s good to know when I want to be slow I can get way more out of the tank. What did you find on bed covers? It just seems strange I’m starting to get more out of the tank but my driving habits haven’t changed.

  6. I ran my own little analysis and talked to some different people, we did some math, and we found that IF a tonneau makes a fuel economy difference, it’s only noticeable on the highway. So, unless you’re on the road all the time (and both of you fall in that category), a tonneau won’t add much MPGs. The camper shell is supposed to hurt fuel economy according to the aerodynamics engineering student, but again I’m not convinced it’s significant either way. Maybe the engine is just breaking in?

  7. Jeremy the iconic says:

    You forgot the best performance upgrade you can do. a TURBO sticker. This adds about 100 Hp to the stock Tundra. Cost you about $5. If you add a little boy peeing that is another 25 hp ($10) and if you have offensive exhaust pipes and a stick on hood scoop ($150) it is good for about 200 hp. So all in all you could add 325 hp for less than $200.

  8. Mickey says:

    I understand TXTee about the 55 on the hwy. Since I do it alot in the mornings worst of all. I follow my wife in a prius for about 12 miles and she takes her exit and I keep chugging along at 55. On Monday I did a fillup and reset my mpg indicator and going just to work that thing registered 24.9mpg at the end of my travel of 28 miles to work. So I couldn’t resist to break it up and did a whopping 60mph back home and it dropped to 23.4mpg. Now I’m down to 21mpg. Couldn’t do 60 coming home wasn’t in the mood so 75 it was. I make sure I get great mpg’s at least till wednesday and then do different things and as usual it drops below 22mpg by Friday. As for the tonneau cover mythbusters used a Dodge Dakota on the hwy. They didn’t show anything in any direction so it’s just a cover for me when ever I put something back there. Jeremy those are great ideas. But sorry I’m not intrested in those. I only allowed two stickers on my back glass and in the middle I have “Jesus for Life” and the top right I have Tundratalk.net with the Tundra symbol.

  9. Jeremy – Dude I wanted to put “stickers” as number 5, I really did, but then I decided fresh oil was better. However, in honor of your suggestion, I’m going to write an article 10 things you add to your car that don’t make it go faster…and I’m going to steal all three of your suggestions.

  10. Don emailed me the following comment: “Yep–you missed a good one–I was a non-believer–but Z-MAX (available at pep-boys) (costs about 20 bucks a bottle at pep-boys–if bought directly from z-max website-can get a kit of 4 bottles for about 25) – – now–it comes in different bottles and is different colors–i heard from z-max folks that this is marketing–its all the same stuff–just in CORRECT size bottles for engine-trans-small engines-etc. so–if you wanna be thrifty–just put it in the engine–no matter what the bottle says–just the oz. count.
    It does NOT come out with the oil change–I change about every 3000 miles just because oil is cheaper than motors. I z-max every other change. On a engine that has never had z-max – you can put it in when running and listen to the change–the idle will try to speed up–of course the computer cant allow this–and grabs it back–this happens a couple of times. My old tired f-150 supercab with a baby 302 could NOT pull off a pass starting at say 65-70–like where you have been following the guy for 40 miles on 395 and NOW you have the passing lane–nope–no guts–put in the z-max and got the giggles–i could START a pass up to about 75-and still get a real lunge out of the now free spinning engine. With the new crap calif gas my mileage was in the l5-16 range on the road–with the k & N and the z-max- it nicked 20 a few times like the OLD gas used to be able to do. Allegedly-this is the only additive that is F.A.A. approved for addition to aircraft oil. Now–i did put this stuff in the tranny–rear end–power steering–and was still looking for places to put it. Thass my tip–cost ya about 25 and shipping for 4 bottle kit if they still running that offer. Don Johnson (no not that one).”

  11. Jeremy the iconic says:

    You can get Z-max at O’reilys Autoparts Stores sometimes.

    I had a guy call me about to cry, his daughter had left her car running and went to bed. It overheated and cooked the oil. COOKED the oil. He pulled the drain plug and nothing came out. I told him the only thing he could do, short of pulling the engine apart, was to try one of the miracle bottle fluids. HE refilled the radiator with antifreeze and added some oil, not a lot, and a bottle of motor up. He got it to turn over a few times and after a few minutes of trying to start it he got it to run, sort of. I sounded like a drunk drummer with busted drums on Meth. the whole car shook and then the sound changed and it started running better. After a few more minutes it ran smooth. I had him dump the oil and motor up he had used and do a oil change with new oil. He did this 3 times in one week with cheap oil treatment and at the end of the week I had him do the final change and add a bottle of motor up. Unbelieveable. He had no other problems after that.

    I used Motor Up in my newer vehicles and saw no noticeable change but the above story proves that it can do something to crappy engines.

  12. TXTee says:

    I think my engine was broken in after Month 1. I’m just happy to see a slight increase in the fuel consumption. Mickey, I’m still jealous of those readings but I’m going to try testing it on my way to San Antonio next week since I’ll have the time to coast.

  13. mk says:

    Another good additive to use is seafoam bought just about anywhere I think. You add the proper oz. to the gas tank (or more than recommended like I did won’t hurt) and it helps, especially on my Honda Valkyrie with 6 carburators, not fuel injected. It almost diminished my knocking noise upon deceleration and ran smoother all around. It is much better than stabilizer and actually cleans the engine of deposits, etc. and helps winterize (take water out of gas) engines over the winter. Probably won’t see much gain or improvement on the tundra engine since the engine is darn near bulletproof, or I hope it is.

  14. Sykes1493 says:

    Might wanna read this
    Apparently zmax causes serious bearing corrosion.
    it also mentions Dura Lube, Motor Up, Prolong, Valvoline, Slick 50, and STP.

    • Sykes1493 – Very interesting link, thanks for sharing.

      Fuel system/injector cleaner is proven stuff, only it’s probably not going to make much difference on an engine that’s new or that only uses premium unleaded (most premium unleaded gasolines already contain fuel system detergents).

  15. Margaret says:

    Hola, buenos días me ha hechizado tu articulo, llevaba mucho tiempo buscando asesoría sobre el tema y no la he encontraba por ninguna web,
    te doy mi más sincera agasajo porque sé el análisis que lleva hacerlo y te has ganado un seguidor mas de tu blog.

    Un saludo

  16. Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work. Thanks!

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×