Hyper Miling? Does it damage a car?

I’ve seen a lot of hype regarding hyper-miling. My question is, does this do long term damage to a car vs. short term fuel saving cost?

I seriously doubt there will be a significant savings in gas mileage. It will however make short life of the starting system…thus negating any savings you might see in gas savings.

Some of the techniques I’ve seen could shorten the life of the car. Shutting off the engine and steering around corners without power steering, drafting behind truckers, trying to avoid using the brakes in stop and go traffic or when coasting down mountain passes…all of these can shorten the life of the vehicle when it plows into some unfortunate soul or flies off the road. AND, it could shorten the life of the driver and the hapless victim he runs into. Is it worth it?

Some weight saving techniques are also suspect: Removing the spare tire and jack is fine until you may have to actually use it.

I think that less drastic measures such as a tune up and correct tire pressure can help (but not as much as certain politicians may try to tell you) along with avoiding jackrabbit starts and speeding up to the next red light.

Steve has summed it up fairly well. I am all for saving gas, but when I read about recommendations such as taking 35 mph exit ramps at 55-60 mph and not using the brake, simply to save a fraction of a teaspoonful of gas, I realized that the super-adherents of “hyper-miling” have some ideas that are, ultimately, likely to cost more than gasoline would cost.

Many of the hypermiling techniques are foolhardy, to say the least, and the potential loss of life (and resulting lawsuits) are far more expensive–in many ways–than just maintaining your car properly and driving as if there was a raw egg between your foot and the gas pedal.

Hyper-milling is not a very well defined action. It includes many variations. Most will not harm your car and most will add some mileage. Some can damage your car directly or can cause unsafe conditions that could result in an accident or other problems.

I suggest watching out for three kind of problems.

Remember you are not the only car on the road. You are unsafe and foolish to allow your driving to interfere with the other drivers on the road.

Don’t lug the engine. That would be going into too high a gear for the situation.

Don’t fall into one of the many SCAMS like the water HHO SCAM or any of the devices or additives that are sold to improve mileage. They don’t and some can harm it.

How you drive can make a big difference on your mileage. You can get most of the gain without interfering with the flow of traffic or becoming a safety hazard.

I saved the last one (#4) for last. Pulse driving, that is accelerating to a higher speed, then gliding back down to a lower speed, may or may not improve your mileage. If you are driving right and not driving an over powered car to begin with, you will not gain much and may actually loose mileage, while you are driving the drivers around you mad and frankly you don’t want to be driving around a lot of mad drivers. It also can be hard on the car. I suggest you glide right past this idea.

Some of the hypermiling ideas will damage the car. Overinflating the tires above the side wall pressure will save you gas but it puts the tire case under a lot of stress, passes a lot of shock and vibration to the suspension, and risks road damage to the tire. Driving at the most optimumal economy vehicle speed, i.e. 40-50 on a freeway is a good way to get rear ended. Try that some time on I-15 in Calif. and you will garner a lot of honks and fingers. If you find driving a spectator sport, watch in the rear view mirror as a rice rocket swings into the far right lane at 85; spots you; and dodges or lays on the binders to avoid hitting you.

If driving to get the best possible gas mileage shortens the life of the car, my personal cars have sure had a funny way of showing it.
Actually, the fuel savings you can achieve by not accelerating towards each and every red light is compounded by brakes that go 150,000 miles or so before they are worn out. Gentle driving makes even tiny engines last over a quarter million miles.

To those who think that the fuel you save is trivial, my last tank got 45 mpg, 25% higher than the EPA’s highway gas mileage rating. If I only got the EPA mileage, I would be going through about $10,000 worth of gas by the time I drove 100,000 miles. Getting 45 mpg means I use about $2000 less fuel for the same distance. Think that will pay for a starter that I would supposedly wear out sooner?

BTW, my old Geo Metro went 288,000 miles and still has the original starter.

That is NOT what the OP was asking about…The hypermilling techniques as outlined state to Turn your car off when you stop (Do you do that). Taking off-ramps at 50 without using brakes (Do you do that). Drafting behind big trucks (Do you do that).

I get about 15-20% better gas mileage then what the EPA states…and I DON’T turn my vehicle off when stopped…never tailgate (i.e draft behind larger vehicles)…take off-ramps at 45 without braking.

It destroys car when a driver over concerned about mileage runs into another vehicle following too closely or is without braking power since they would rather save penny’s of fuel vs have the engine running.

Turn your car off when you stop (Do you do that).

Not always, but if I know it’s going to be a long red light or waiting for a train to go by, yes.

Taking off-ramps at 50 without using brakes (Do you do that).

No, usually I’m going quite a bit faster than that, 60, sometimes 70. So does nearly everybody else. If I slow down to 35 on the off ramp, I risk getting rear ended. I’m talking about off ramps here, not clover leaf interchanges.

Drafting behind big trucks (Do you do that).

No more than everyone elso on the freeway does. Really, I like to keep a big space in front of me so that I have the freedom to coast should a coasting opertunity come by and also so I don’t have to nail the brakes just because the car in front is slowing down to make an exit.

Also, I get around 25% better than the EPA tank after tank after tank. This is not something I only managed to do once in a row.

Let me know what roads you drive on so I can stay off…You are a DANGER to yourself and anyone else on the road with you.

What danger?..I don’t understand your logic. Those who drive conservatively and gently have much more respect for other drivers and are more conscious of safety than those reckless speed-demon idiots out there…I drive like B.L.E. It’s not my fault that these people cannot plan and leave earlier…there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for excessive speeding.

Since you have the power to divine that I am a menace to everyone on the road based on the scant information I gave about my driving, there should be no need to tell you what roads I drive on, you can probably divine that too.

Let me jump to a conclusion about exactly who you are base on the fact that everything I say is wrong.

It’s obvious, you must be my wife!