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Frugal Maniac

Bemidji MN, 56601

This what MPG is and how to figure out how to find your MPGs


Topoff MPG the home of going to the station topping off your fuel tank and leaving while you still have money in your pocket!


Hello and welcome to Topoff MPG the home of increased gas mileage. The Frugal Maniac was raised in the automotive industry working in the family garage since I could walk. My grandpa was an auto/diesel and big rig mechanic and the rest of the family followed suit. From working in automotive parts stores when younger to mechanic shops while getting older to finally become a certified automotive paint technician. This department will go through the steps it takes to accomplish better  

Be frugal Save fuel Save Money Better MPG!

gas mileage for the vehicles you drive. Starting with basic modifications and finishing with a highly advanced MPG machine. We will start with items that you can do that do not cost anything but a little bit of your time, and cover the general maintenance that you need to do anyway. As we progress through this article by way of numeric order we will explore the different ways that you can improve your MPG's. These are ideas and tricks that increased MPG's on our personal vehicles (grandpa's truck got 7 MPG more, I got around 4. I like the gas pedal he drove like a grandpa). These all save you money when you visit your local gas station.

Step One:

The first and the most important and inexpensive item to complete in the search to obtain better MPG's is to check the air pressure in your tires. When your tires air pressure is low it creates greater resistance, this extra resistance equals fewer MPG's because the vehicle is working harder so it uses more fuel. The next thing to do is remove any unneeded weight from your vehicle (If it is not needed it should not be there). The lighter your vehicle the less the engine works to move down the road.

When you have completed the two mentioned inexpensive modifications to your vehicle then it is time to do a standard tune up. A tuned up vehicle runs at its highest efficiency this equals higher MPG's.

Air Pressure:keeping the max air pressure in your tires equals less resistance against the road that you are driving on. Less resistance is the key to better MPG's.

Tune up: To keep your engine running like a top it is always a good idea to keep the engine tuned up, good air filter, oil and oil filter, fuel filter, fluids, spark plugs and spark plug wires, cap and rotor are all things that improve your engine making it run like a fine tuned watch. This equals better MPG's which equals cash in your pocket.

Air Pressure:

Air Gauge:Always keep the air in your tires at max pressure this makes so that you have less resistance when traveling down the road this equals higher MPG's. A good air gauge helps to monitor the air pressure, there are even valve stem caps that will let you know if your tire loses air.

Portable Air Compressor:

A portable 12 volt air compressor is an inexpensive option to have in your vehicle that can save you in times of need. It will also help so that you can keep the air in your tires at the perfect pressure at all times no matter were you are at.

Tune up:

Air Filter:

Increasing the air flow through the fuel system equals better MPG's. Your engine is a big air pump the increased air flow equals better MPG and an added bonus is Horsepower. 

Ignition Tune Up:

The ignition of your vehicle is one of the most important part of your engine. This ignites the fuel in the piston cylinder which causes the explosion that makes your piston go down. If your ignition is not working to its highest efficiency it will not get the proper amount of spark to ignite the fuel. The best way that I can explain it is if you have a lighter and you are trying to light a fire. If your lighter is set on the low setting the flame is low and not very hot now turn the lighter up to the high setting you have a larger hotter flame that ignites what you are trying to start on fire your ignition is the same way. If it is not in proper working order it is like having a lighter set on low trying to ignite all of the fuel coming into your engine.


Synthetic oils help engine parts to move freely compared to standard oil, the easier it is for your engine internals to move the less fuel it takes to move.

Synthetic Oils: reduce friction in your engine, transmission and Drivetrain. Less friction means better MPG's.

Oxygen Sensor:

If you drive a vehicle that has over 100000 miles it is time to change the oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor controls the air fuel mixture, if it is running rich you are dumping liquid gold out your exhaust. If it is running to lean you could burn up your engine, that gets more costly than extra MPG's.


A good PCV is cheap and just one link in a perfect running engine.

Step Two:

The second step to getting better MPG's when searching for higher fuel economy, involves how much you drive. When you estimate the miles you drive VS the money that you are going to spend directly effects how many of the upgrades that you really want to perform. The next step generally starts costing you money; some of the upgrades have small results in improved MPG's and take longer to reclaim the money that was spent. While other upgrades pay off fairly quick. We will discuss this with each improvem-ent that you will make and give you an estimate of what you should expect. Not all of the upgrades work on ever single vehicle. There are a lot of claims out there that say they will give you amazing amounts of MPG's, as a rule always figure low so you will not be surprised if it does not do what it claims. The most we have ever seen was a 10 MPG increase while a different make and model with the same upgrades got only 2 MPG's. So beware!!!!!!!!!!!

Let it Breathe!

Air Intake System:

From cold air intake to throttle body spacers there is a lot of modifications that can be done to improve the air intake system. The great thing is that it improves MPG's

P.S. The bonus is that you get more Horsepower!

Cooling Improvements:

On the older vehicles that still use a mechanical fan/ clutch fan, these fans can be replaced with an electric fan this frees up a lot of extra load on the engine that can be taken care of fairly easy. One thing that you can do here is search a automotive recycling yard, this helps to soften the impact on your pocket book. You will need to locate a fan, a wiring kit and the thermostat control. With the extra load on the engine freed up you can increase the MPG's and gain a little bit of horsepower.


A free flowing exhaust improves the exit of all of that extra air that you now have flowing through your engine. With out a good exhaust you will not be able to take full advantage of the new air intake that you now have. The easier that you make it for your engine to exhale all of the bad gases in the cylinder out the tailpipe, the easier time it will have the next time it fires, it will have clean air in the cylinder for a more efficient burn rate. All of this once again equals better MPG's.


An improved ignition can increase the spark intensity, how many times that Spark plug sparks per time that it is that spark plugs turn to fire and can increase the intensity of your spark for a hotter spark that ignites the fuel better. With these added features you can improve your MPG's


You can use some of the chips, programmers and modules in a way that will promote better MPG's. Some of these get expensive and some of them will sometimes make claims that are unrealistic, so beware and do your research.

Xtra MPG's:

The Last thing I will go over are a few more areas that could give you better MPG's. I have done them and they worked so I figured I would pass them on. AC Delete Pulley, Magnetic Fuel Saver and Underdrive Pullies.

Air Intake System:

Cold Air Intake:

The cold air intake system takes a little more work and a few more tools. Another thing to think about, the high flow replacement is less expensive then a cold air intake. However the cold air intake will give you greater MPG's and increased performance because it help you deliver a colder denser fuel charge. I have in the past made my own cold air induction (see picture on right) system with a piece of 3” to 4” o.d. pipe (PVC, Solid Aluminum, etc), silicone couplers, some hose clamps and purchased a cone filter that is the size of the pipe. Make the pipe as straight of a pathway as possible to your throttle body or carburetor. Straight equals a clear path to the fuel system and does not slow down the air velocity. The above design is one that is of my own opinion some claim that this does not work and that it is a waste of time. I however have had good results and the proof is in extra MPGs. Click the links above to get the parts that you need to create your cold air intake.

Throttle body Spacers:

A throttle body spacer increases the cfm of the intake. The increased air equals better torque, horsepower and MPG's.

You can buy on of these here or you can follow the directions on the left and make your own. It will save you money!

Air Intake Gas mileage Improver:

These devices claim that they displace the air in the intake air stream and will help atomize the fuel for better combustion. In theory the better the gas is atomized the easier it is to ignite causing a better burn rate which in turn gives you better horsepower and MPG's. I have used these devices before and have had mixed results one vehicle had an awesome improvement while another had no improvement. This is one for you to weigh out for a possible improvement or possible non improvement.

Cat Back Exhaust:

A Catback exhaust will help the air that is trying to escape from your engine leave quicker and easier. The quicker you can get the exhaust to leave, the engine will run better. HOWEVER if you get to big of an exhaust you will lose torque. And if you do not have enough back pressure you will start burning valves which would be catastrophic. A free flowing exhaust equals better MPG's and more Horsepower.

Dual Exhaust:

The quicker you can get the exhaust to leave, the engine will run better. HOWEVER if you get to big of an exhaust you will lose torque. And if you do not have enough back pressure you will start burning valves which would be catastrophic.

Exhaust Wrap:

This help keep the engine compartment cool helping you to have a denser and colder squirt of fuel.


The quicker you can get the exhaust to leave, the engine will run better. A longer tubed header will give you increased torque. HOWEVER if you get to big of an exhaust you will lose torque. And if you do not have enough back pressure you will start burning valves which would be catastrophic.

High Flow Catalytic Converter:

The quicker you can get the exhaust to leave the engine, the better the engine will run better. HOWEVER if you get to big of an exhaust you will lose torque. And if you do not have enough back pressure you will start burning valves which would be catastrophic.

Large Single Pipe Exhaust:

The quicker you can get the exhaust to leave, the engine, the better the engine will run better. HOWEVER if you get to big of an exhaust you will lose torque. And if you do not have enough back pressure you will start burning valves which would be catastrophic.

High flow cat will give you extra MPGs

Exhaust wrap keeps more heat in your exhaust and less in the engine compartment

As you can see it is important do the modifications but if you do not research and do what is right for your automobile you could reap great rewards or you could suffer catastrophe.

Capacitive Discharge Ignition (MSD):

These units make so that instead of only having your spark plug fire once it will fire multiple times, this increases the combustion. This will make your vehicle start better no matter what time of year, increase power and increase MPG'S.

Ignition Coil:

Increased voltage makes the intensity of the spark hotter for a more complete fuel combustion.

Ignition Module:

These units will help charge the ignition coil for the highest output of voltage that the coil can produce.

Sparkplug Wires:

A good set of sparkplug wires insulate the core of the wire making so the wire has no loss of spark due to being grounded out. A good set of plug wires improve the efficiency of the ignition which generates better MPG's.

Air Intake Chip

This is a 3300 ohm resistor that make you computer think that it needs to adjust the fuel. This works on the two wire intake air Temp sensor. Instead of plugging your IAT in to the sensor bend the resistor so that each end will go into one wire of the plug, wrap with electric tape so that it does not get we or fall out. Always unhook the battery and start afterwards to make sure it works on your car. It does not work on all makes.


These little chips make your computer think that it needs to regulate your fuel in more efficient manner.


These modules make the computer think that it needs to regulate your fuel in more efficient manner.


These programmer adjust the settings in the computer for more horsepower and MPGs.

Xtra MPG's

AC Delete Pulley:

If you have an A\C that does not work or you do not use you can replace the A\C pump with an A\C bypass pulley. This will free up some unnecessary engine load which in turn equals better MPGs. However keep in mind that once the A\C system gets air in it you are on a small time table to repair it or it will turn into an expensive fix. If you take out the A\C this could also affect the resale value of your vehicle. Always think of your future plans for the vehicle when you do a modification like this.

Magnetic Fuel Saver:

These claim that through magnetism it can help distribute the fuel molecules more evenly by increasing the distance between them. This can put more oxygen between the particles, increase their ability to burn and result in greater MPGs and lower emissions. I have personally used these and they have worked on some vehicles and not worked on others. They use rare earth magnets to do this. You can purchase these magnets and make one of these yourself if you are a DIYer.

Underdrive Pulleys

Underdrive pulleys decrease the load on the engine which in turn increases the MPGs and gives you a few extra horsepower.

Third Step:

When some of these have been completed they will help improve the MPG's that you get helping improve that next visit to the gas station. Some of these tips do not help on everything, example the magnets worked great on the old Dodge pickup when I used them on my Buick did not gain anything. So some of this is trial to see what works on what you drive. Speaking from personal experience it helps, it is just one more notch in your frugal living belt. 





Thanks for looking and I hope you found some useful information.

Here at the Frugal Maniac we strive to save you money on everything you do in your daily life. We provide options to cloth you with the best looking clothes. When you are getting ready for work slip on a comfortable pair of shoes, but before you do jump on the treadmill and take a walk with the best walking shoes. When walking out the door Frugal Maniac gives the opportunity to drive the nicest looking car or even the fastest on the strip, street or track. When you return from work and enter your home Frugal Maniac will help you be able to afford the luxuries and the comfort that you have always dreamed of. Providing the best frugal alternatives to secure your property; Frugal Maniac has some of the best electronics that are available Apple, Samsung, iPad, Motorola just to name a few. We have many DIY informational options that will help save money by giving you the information needed to repair or build it yourself. Check out the Frugal blog to find tips, DIY’s, and recipes that will help improve the quality of your life. There are avenues to acquire beauty supplies, baby items, travel, sports attire, toys and even information and help for school and college. After running around frantically trying to get everything done the opportunity to go spend some time outdoors has never looked better. Get an R.V. do a little camping try some fishing, it never gets old after all a little fresh air never hurt anyone. You have the possibility in most cases to receive free shipping which tops of all of the bittersweet deals that you have found. After all what can be better than getting more for the money that you have put so much time into attaining.