'04 V8 Ford Explorer...8 MPG?! what am I missing?

Hi all -

I have an '04 Ford Explorer V8 (yes, yes, I thought I would be driving up to the mountains more often than city driving, well I was wrong) that is getting about 8 mpg per the digital reading for primarily city driving. Is this normal? It is almost paid off so I don’t want to trade in for a new car…Are there things I should do to improve the gas mileage on this or could there be something wrong? We do have the extended warranty from Ford and can take it in for repairs pretty easily. I have heard spark plugs, air filter, tires, etc. but I am not sure if it really needs all this and 8 mpg is the best I will ever get. I’d really love to hear if other Ford owners are getting better gas mileage and if so, what should I do to improve mine.

Thanks in advance!

Mom in Denver

First, check on the digital reading. Fill the gasoline tank until the pump clicks off, reset the trip odometer to zero, and drive until you need to refill the tank. Note the number of gallons that you put in the tank until it is full, and divide the number of gallons into the distance indicated on the trip odometer. This will give you a more accurate measure of the miles per gallon. Also, check the trip odometer against a known distance to be sure it is measuring distance accurately. I had a Ford Aerostar that had a trip computer. This computer, I discovered, would sometimes take a break and not record or compute things accurately.

One check that will cost you next to nothing: buy an accurate tire gauge and keep the tires inflated to the recommended pressure.

You have a V-8 Ford Explorer. If you expected better than 8 MPG, your expectations need adjusted.

Thanks I will check the mileage manually this week…

As for expectations, I did expect it to stink. However, this is much less than the posted Ford MPG estimates of around 15 mpg. I really have just not worried, but with gas prices moving up and up I felt it was time to check everything out.

Thanks for any ideas that are posted.

You should be getting about 17 or 18 mpg with it not 8.

The first thing to do is check the mileage manually as suggested and find out exactly what you are getting.

The next thing to check is the oil. Is there fuel in the oil? If so, there may be a leaking injector dropping fuel.

Also check where you park it to see if it’s leaking fuel from the tank or a filter.

Check the tire pressure. Try running about 35 psi in them, see if that helps.

Check the air filter. Is it dirty or clogged up?

How many miles is on it? Over 40,000 and you probably need a fuel filter.

Is it full time 4wd or part time? Are the hubs somehow sticking in 4wd causing you to drag the other axle when you don’t need to.

Slow down to under 70, drive it like there’s an egg between your foot and the accelerator pedal.


First thing to check is tire pressure! People, and I’m guilty of this too, ignore their tires and the pressures get low and it has a big effect on fuel mileage. After that, pretty much everything skipper said . . .

the thing about that pressure is that Ford might suggest more PSI depending on what options are on the vehicle. To get the correct pressure, look at the plate that sits in the driver’s side door jab(mine is on the back of it). try running 2 to 5 PSI over the recommended pressure, if the tire will allow it. Most passenger tires allow for 44 PSI to be the max cold pressure in the tire, some will go up to 51P SI, but not many. I’m not sure how truck tires fare, but I’m sure they allow more than that in them.

Well “Mom from Denver” this is Beefy Norm from Colorado Springs. Whatever you do do not trade the Explorer in. I have 225000 miles on my 1993 Explorer and it still runs great. This summer I will be replaceing the clutch for the second time since 1993 that and brakes have been the only major thing done to it. If you do routine maintenance on a Ford product the car will last indefinetly - I know that is a big statement but I also had a 1976 F-150 which I bought from my Dad and I put an additional 250000 miles on it. I know that is hard to believe but it is true.I get 13 -15 with my old Explorer. You MPG is drastic so I would consider a fuel leak or the vapor canister needs to be replaced (That accumulates vapor and minute particles of fuel not used by the injectors and sends it back to the tank in bulk). Air filters, fuel filters, plugs, etc wont make a drastic change in MPG. And, you would have to make a drastic change in tire size for tires to be the reason - not even under inflated tires will give that drastic change. If the warranty allows it, stop by Grays tire and auto here in the Springs on Nevada, a couple of blocks west of I-25. The local dealships come to him when they are baffled.
Ironically I was going to post this message today anyway: there is a big scandle going on in the south/east part of the country. Many gas stations have been caught adjusting their fuel-cost ratio at the pumps. Basically that means that they are selling gas at the listed prices but the pumps are purposely set to give you 1/10 to 9/10 less fuel. Some stations have even been going as far as installing switchs which they can turn off and on at peak hours. I checked the gas station this morning, a gas station I have used for years, and sure enough I was ripped off. The way you can find out if your gas station is ripping you off just do the simple math. Say for instance if the postde price is $3.89, than at 10 gallons the pump should have registered $38.90. Well, my posted price was $3.89 and with 10 gallons my price wasalmost $43. I stopped pumping immediately and wrote down the address of the station (The clerk was really nervous when he saw me stop pumping at 10 gallons), after this email I am notifying El Paso County DA. There is no excuse for this: it can not be explained away as evaporation - gas pumps do not register vapor they only register liquid fuel, in fact, the pumps are adjusted to automatically click off when vapor is going through the hose. This is a scam that even Clinton Liberals would envy.

I’m fairly certain the pressure in an Explorer tire doesn’t need to be 40 lbs. The vehicle isn’t heavy enough to warrant that much air.


It looks to me like a scam liberals could have prevented with regulation and enforcement. Conservatives are the ones who claim they want to deregulate industries so that we can all trust the oil companies to regulate themselves. You can thank the Bush administration’s energy policy for our current situation. Make no mistake about that.

I think you should check the coolant level and temperature.If the level is low the thermostate and sensors will not work correctly,and if the engine never gets up to the cerrect tempurature,the fuel injection will keep the mixture rich thinking the engine is cold. coolant should be 185 to 195 degrees.