Low mpg On recently bought used car

Good morning,

I have recently bought my first car. A 2011 Lincoln MKZ hybrid with 50000. The advertised mpg I think is 41/36, 38 combined. I currently have it in the Ford Service center. I informed the technician that the car usually shows 18-20 mpg. I asked him what is the problem, he recommended a tune up at $500. What do you guys recommend?

If you are only going by the computer read out then you really don’t know what mileage you are getting. Also driving patterns determine MPG. This is the vehicle you had stalling problems with so until those are solved and you check the fuel usage the proper way no answers can be had.


I have the same car. I typically get 35-37, but in the current cold snap I’m at 30. 18/20 would seem to indicate the hybrid system isn’t working, or that you have a lead foot.

But like Volvo said, the first thing is to check real mpgs over a couple of tanks (actual miles/fillup gallons).

If you’re having other problems, those must be solved first.


I think the dealer (or rather Service Writer) is clueless. A “tune up” these days is an air filter and spark plugs and spark plugs last 100,000 miles. There is no way that accounts for a 50% mileage drop. He is guessing, and badly.

This car needs a diagnostic to find out why its mileage isn’t even close to advertised. And that will cost you some labor before any further work is done. Start there.

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trip computers are fun little toys. they may even reflect close to actual mileage. i used to reset mine on the hwy because i like to see 50mpg for 3 miles and than it would slowly fall to 45 mpg or so. its a '15 civic so it really does ok on the hwy. its gets about 30mpg at 75mph. you could have reset the computer on the vehicle during the test drive and drove 25 miles and probably gotten a fairly valid number. if the advertised mileage is 40+ and you got 20 i would have said something to salesman. he would have blown you off for sure but it would have been something to talk about before you bought the vehicle

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Yea as a new car buyer I did not know better. It’s a real shame that now I am learning all these problems. I did some research before buying my car, but I guess I should have done more and been more critical of the salesman. I could not get a good test drive because I did not have insurance at the time, because most companies would quote me a crazy deductible. It took me a while to find cheap insurance. It is surprising since I am not in the risk pool. Although I did get my license late.

Your car’s hybrid components are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles. How many miles are on your car? Here’s what’s covered, according to Ford:
“The following parts are covered during this extended coverage period:
high-voltage battery, high-voltage battery connector, DC/DC converter,
battery pack fan assembly, thermister probe, hybrid battery pack sensor
module (HBPSM), battery energy control module (BECM), and
continuously variable transmission.”

Google “2011 MKZ Hybrid warranty” for more information

Does the coverage automatically extend beyond the first owner?

Yes it does, according to Ford.

Excellent. Is that required by federal law? I know lots of emissions parts are required by law to be covered for a rather extended period. Are those also automatically transferred to subsequent owners? In other words: is the car covered, or the owner?

For this hybrid component warranty, it’s the car. In comparison, the 100k warranty that Hyundai/Kia gives is for the initial owner, I think, with subsequent owners getting something less (but still like what most carmakers give, 36 months/36k miles, something like that).

Prius cars are also covered by some kind of 100k mile warranty, for all owners, I believe.

our prius was all about mileage. the information screen displayed the mileage info ALL the time. when you shut off the car the display would give you a readout on trip length and mileage. maybe the lincoln didnt really care to advertise or display this info? if i drove 20 miles and it said you got 20mpg than i might say WHAT?

The MKZ hybrid has several options for displaying mpgs, very informative.

They replaced my battery. I will see if that helps.

Wow. That’s service! And after an adequate diagnosis, far beyond “needs tune-up!”

I’m assuming that’s the 12V battery you’re talking about. Even though it’s not used to start the car, if it’s weak it causes lots of issues. Good they replaced it.

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I’ll post here what I posted in the other thread for reference in response to a member who said I am having buyers remorse: “Quite the contrary, I really like all the car features, and I enjoy driving it. I just want the car to work as advertised. Is that too much to ask? Since owning the car I have had to replace the door locks, battery and now I am learning I might need a tune up or maybe something else to improve the gas mileage. I don’t think it is too much to ask to have the car working well. I paid for a working car. Dealer sweared up and down that the car passed all inspections. I even had it inspected twice at two state inspection stations both as a state check and a comprehensive check and everything came up clean. I just had the car for a month not two years, it is too many problems to have right off the bat. I understand things come up when owning a car but this is too much.”

What part of the country do you live in? What’s the temperature? That has some effect.

I agree with what Volvo and texases said early in this conversation. You won’t know the actual MPG without some extensive driving and two or more fillups. If it is actually as low as the readout says, that’s a pretty strong indication that it’s being propelled by the gas-burning engine all the time; the big battery pack and electric motor hardly at all. When you said they replaced the battery, I was thinking the big one, but no?

A Ford dealer should be able to diagnose this. But there are not many vehicles with this particular drive train out there, so maybe not much experience at the repair shop level. You may need to kick this problem up to a higher level in Ford. See your owners manual for how.

Great topic. I test a lot of cars and I understand the value of an MPG display. However, since you mention the car is new you, I suggest before you spend any money (more on that in a minute) you should fill the tank to the first click of the nozzle, then reset the trip odometer. Then drive a half tank or so in “normal conditions.” In other words not a blizzard or some other unusual situation. Then, fill up again to the first click of the nozzle and divide the miles traveled, by the fuel consumed. If it is less than 35 MPG, I think you have a problem.

  • I do not mean any disrespect with regard to your reading of the MPG display, but they can be confusing. Often, one shows you the “average” which can be reset either when you refill the tank, or manually with a button push. That one should be telling you your MPG within about 10% over a half tank. The ones that display your “current” MPG are not helpful. Also, your MPG over the first ten miles or so may not reflect an accurate look at the picture. I have kept track of the displayed vs. actual MPG on many test vehicles and I have found that most are optimistic, meaning they show you an MPG higher than you actually got. I have never seen one be wrong by displaying too low of an MPG.
  • “Tune up” is an expression I dislike as many above also do. If that vehicle was serviced by a Lincoln dealer the info should be available to you. Or, if you asked about the maintenance during your purchase, you may have gotten some info from the seller. Good luck with the new battery! After seven years or so, no harm in that.