Bad mileage out of fairly new car

Hey guys!

We recently received a nice gift in the way of a fairly new (2005) Mercury Sable. However, on freeway road trips which I do for work, it gets pretty patheic mileage (22MPG). I live in Minnesota and have been told that this is common because of the cold. Our 2003 Dodge Caravan gets better mileage, and has a larger engine 3.6l versus 3.0l. I had the car in recently and had the mechanic give it the once-over. They changed the oil, and blew out the mass-airflow sensor, but this had no affect. I have also run some injector cleaner through a full tank of gas a few tanks back. No luck. Mileage is pretty low (39,000).

Am I looking at having the injectors cleaned/replaced? Or are there other thoughts?

Comparing gasoline mileage between different vehicles is difficult because there are many factors. I owned a 1971 Ford Maverick with a 250 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine. I could never get the gasoline mileage from the Maverick than I did from its replacement–a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass with a 260 cubic inch V-8. Both vehicles had auutomatic transmissions and the Oldsmobile was a heavier car. However, the final rear end ration on the Oldsmobile was 2.41:1. The Ford Maverick had a considerably higher ratio (lower gearing).

If you have checked the obvious things such as tire inflation, whether or not the engine is warming up fully, and the transmision is shifting into overdrive, you might check the odometer on both your Mercury Sable and Dodge Caravan. The odometer may be under-registering the miles traveled on the Mercury Sable and over-registering the miles on the Dodge Caravan.

If everything checks out and the Mercury is running well, I would say not to worry. The mileage may improve in warmer weather (it does get warmer in the summer in Minnesota, does’nt it?). Some cars just get better mileage than others. In addition to the Oldsmobile Cutlass getting better mileage than the Ford Maverick that I mentioned earlier, I had a Ford Aerostar extended minivan with the 4.0 V-6 engine. Its mileage was better than the Ford Windstar minivan with the 3.8 V-6 that replaced it. If your Mercury is running well, you can buy a lot of gasoline for the cost of cleaning or replacing the fuel injectors, which may or may not raise the mileage at best 2 or 3 mpg.

If the injectors were having a problem you’d be experiencing bad engine performance. Since you didn’t say the engine was running poorly I can only assume that the engine is running correctly.

First off…what’s the EPA rating for this vehicle. I suspect it’s greater then 22mpg. If it’s within 3-5 mpg of 22 then it’s within the ball park.

Second…The best way to increase gas mileage is to drive a lot less aggressively. The Sable is a lot sportier then your Caravan. Are you driving it different then the Caravan.

Third…Winter gas. The winter gas formula usually gives you less gas mileage then the summer formula. I usually see a 2-4mpg drop in mileage.

Good advice. I think I should send my son up to Minnesota to take the OP for a ride in the OP’s Mercury Sable. I bet the mileage would go up. However the OP would probably say, “Do I have to drive this way all the time to get good mileage?” When my son was a teen-ager, I almost banned him from driving the Ford Aerostar we had–he could always pull 2 or 3 mpg better than I could. Even today, in his mid 30’s, he gets good mileage with conservative driving habits and he gets to his destination as quickly as others who appear to be going much faster.

Your Caravan can have a 3.3 liter engine or a 3.,8 but they didn’t make a 3.6. My 2002 Town and Country gets better highway mileage than my 2004 PT Cruiser. The van is geared much higher and I think the pushrod V6 has less internal friction than the double overhead cam , double balance shaft , 4 cylinder.

EPA estimates are 20 city 27 highway.

And when those estimates came out, much less fuel was blended with alcohol, which at typical blending ratios reduces fuel economy by 10%, which would become:

18 city 24 highway. And that’s for a new car. For it’s age, and if you live in a region where they sell gasohol, I’d say you’re getting exactly what you should expect.

Yesterday, someone posted about poor gasoline mileage. They discovered that they ran the WINDOWSHIELD DEFROST excessively, and this was using more fuel. In defrost, the a/c compressor runs to blend cool dry air with warm air to the windshield. So, after the windshield is defrosted, turn defrost off.

The Sable is due for a new thermostat IMHO. Trans fluid too.
Set the tire pressure 2-4 pounds over the door sticker.
Get wheel alignment checked.
Check wheel temperatures after a cruise to spot a dragging brake.
I assume the mechanic checked the air filter.

The EPA estimates are 18 City and 25 Highway (these are the revised estimates) 22 MPG is exactly what the car should be getting in mixed driving. Maybe even better than average when you take into account winter gas. Also your Caravan has the 3.8L or 3.3L engine. A 3.6L engine, nor a 3.0L engine were ever produced for that model.

Anyway, there’s likely nothing wrong with your car.

Actually, for a car rated 18 & 25 you’re doing pretty good considering that in Minnesota this time of year you could squirt water in the air and ice would come down.

Since you’ve checked everything out and it’s running fine, I say just keep it maintained and enjoy the new ride.

EPA mileage is 18 city and 25 highway. With winter gasoline, mileage drops a little. How fast do you drive? That could be part of it, too, if you speed.

BTW, if you are using E85, your mileage is fantastic.

Good story, triedaq, thanks for sharing with us. Sounds like neat son.