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Ask a TA Tech

By on July 1, 2008
RoadKing Mag

TA Shop Tech Trainer Dave Kutzer has worked for TA since 1998, training shop techs in air conditioning, air brakes, electrical systems and more. He is certified by Freightliner to teach advanced electrical systems and electrical engine interface. Send him your maintenance questions at

Q. How can I plan my trips better this summer to maximize my fuel efficiency?

A. It seems counterintuitive, but the faster you drive, the more fuel you use. So when you’re scheduling your time, build in enough hours to get where you need to go driving 62 miles an hour instead of 70.

You may also increase your fuel efficiency if you plan to do the bulk of your driving in the early morning or the evening. The air is more dense at those times, which gives you a boost.

Last but not least, busy highways are the hardest on your fuel tank, so avoid them as much as possible. If you plan ahead, you can incorporate more rural routes, which will maximize your fuel savings.

Q. How specifically can a good PM program increase my fuel efficiency?

A. One of the most important things a PM program does for your truck is monitor its cooling system. If your cooling system isn’t working right, everything else on your truck is working harder. If the engine is overheating, your air conditioning works harder. If the fan kicks on, that’s taking 70-75 hp from your engine. All of that consumes fuel.

Even though it costs you, be diligent about changing your oil. Engine oil cleans, cools, seals, lubricates and absorbs shock. So if it gets low, things wear down and the efficiency starts to decrease.

Finally, keep your tires at the proper inflation. If your air pressure reduces, so does your rolling resistance, and that affects fuel mileage.

Do your PM program every 15-20,000 miles to keep your truck running smoothly and efficiently!


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