1999 Dodge Caravan Fuel Economy

Tiny
RAZORFACE
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 18,000 MILES
My vehicle currently is getting no better than 14 mpg/city. What can I do to regain my 20 mpg/city?
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Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 AT 1:32 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
JALOPYPAPA
  • MEMBER
In order of ease and/or likelihood to improve fuel economy, and assuming you're already taking it easy on the accelerator when possible:

1. Inflate tires while cold to pressure on door jamb sticker.
2. Replace spark plugs and check spark plug wires.
3. Check for any OBD trouble codes and perform any indicated repairs. Sometimes the ECM will store codes that don't activate the check engine light.
4. Check upstream oxygen sensor.
5. Check EGR valve.
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Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 AT 3:52 PM
Tiny
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I'll check all of those. It probably, in hindsight, would have been more helpful if I gave a little extra info. For instance, I'm the original owner, a quadriplegic and have near zero car maintenance knowledge.

Would it be advisable to consult with a mechanic about item's 3 thru 5? Perhaps a "tune up" is in order. If so, what should be included in a tune up?

Thnx,

Mykyl
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Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 AT 1:58 PM
Tiny
JALOPYPAPA
  • MEMBER
In these days of electronic ignition and fuel injection, there's little to do in a tune-up besides changing the spark plugs and maybe the spark plug wires. I would just explain to the mechanic that fuel economy is low and ask him to see if any diagnostic check pinpoints a cause. He might suggest plugging in a code reader, which depending on your state might be a regular part of the vehicle inspection emissions test anyway.

The oxygen sensor recommended maintenance replacement interval is 30,000 or 40,000 miles. It can go several times that and not show any obvious trouble, but if yours has never been replaced, you might try that. By upstream, I mean the one in the exhaust system before the catalytic converter. There's another one past the converter to monitor its performance. A failing O2 sensor is said to sometimes be a culprit in low fuel economy, since it monitors and fine-tunes the fuel-air mixture.
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Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 AT 8:17 PM
Tiny
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Ok, thnx for your help!
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Friday, July 4th, 2008 AT 11:59 AM

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