If you have any questions that have not been answered or you would like to know something that is not on this page, please contact us. No question is a dumb question! There may be someone out there wanting to know the same thing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Contacting Wester's Garage

What is the best way to contact you to get answers fast? The best way to contact us, as on out Contact Us page, is through EMAIL! We check our email periodically throughout the day between other jobs and reply as soon as we can. When phoning, you may be put on hold for a period of time and we could end up taking your name and number to call you back when we're available and depending on how busy the day is, it may not be until the following day. EMAILING will cut down the time required to answer phone messages and get a faster and almost immediate response. Email is fast and efficient!!. What should I include in my emails to you? Please include all prior correspondence as there are many emails we go through in a day. Also, please try to be as detailed and thorough as possible with your information and questions. We appreciate the time you put into being prepared.

Ordering From Wester's Garage

How do I place an order? The BEST way to order from us is to use our order forms found on the CUSTOM ORDER page. We have two choices: a form for gasoline vehicles and a form for diesel vehicles. After you have chosen a form, you can email it directly to us using the "Submit By Email" button found on the top of the form. If you prefer to not send personal information through email, you can fill out the form, print it out and fax it to us at 1-403-377-2270 (24 hours). I can't open the order form If you are unable to open the order forms, it is most likely because your computer does not have Adobe Reader installed. Adobe Reader is a program that allows you to read files in .pdf format. A link can be found on the order form page to download a free version of Adobe Reader. If the order form still will not open for you or you have a slower internet connection, please contact us and we can fax or email a form to you. I can't submit the order form, there is an email error This may occur if you do not have email set up through a program such as Outlook. You can fix this by either setting up your email through this or a similar program on your computer OR you can simply fill our the form, save it, and then attach it to your email to us from your Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. email account. Email the form to programmer@platinum.ca. You can also try another internet browser. The order form says I need a CODE or VIN. What is my CODE or VIN, and where do I find it? Performance CHIP and COMPUTER calibrations are CODE or VIN specific! To order a 1982-1995 GM or 1987-2003 Ford calibration, you will need to provide us the following: 3-4 letter GM code or 3-4 alphanumeric Ford code on a white label located on the outside of your vehicle computer. (Can't find your computer? See the INFO tab above) To order a 1994-2007 Flash-style GM computer: To order GM Performance Computers (under hood PCM 1994-2007) you require the vehicle identification number (all 17 digits/letters read directly from the vehicle) AND computer service number. (Example Service Number: 12588335) To order a flash handheld unit for your GM or Ford, we just need to know what year your vehicle is and what engine you want tuning for. Complete list of Early Flash Computers which will require VIN -- we do not program all of them at this time: 1990-1991 Model Year R-Car 1.6L SOHC Manual/Auto R-Car 1.6L DOHC Manual/Auto 1992 Model Year R-Car 1.6L SOHC Manual/Auto R-Car 1.8L DOHC Manual/Auto J-Car 2.2L LN2 Manual/Auto L-Car 2.2L LN2 Manual/Auto 1993 Model Year R-Car 1.6L SOHC Manual/Auto R-Car 1.8L DOHC Manual/Auto A-Car 2.2L LN2 Auto W-Car 2.2L LN2 Auto W-Car 3.1L LH0 Auto 4-speed W-Car 3.1L L82 Auto 4-speed F-Car 3.4L L32 Manual/Auto J-Car 2.2L LN2 Manual/Auto L-Car 2.2L LN2 Manual/Auto S/T Pickup 4.3L LB4 (Z) 1994 Model Year *B-Car 4.3L L99 Auto *B-Car 5.7L LT1 Auto *D-Car 5.7L LT1 Auto W-Car 3.1L L82 Auto 4-speed *F-Car 3.4L L32 Manual/Auto *F-Car 5.7L LT1 Manual/Auto L-Car 3.1L L82 Auto N-Car 3.1L L82 Auto *S/T Pickup 4.3L LB4 (Z) *Y-Car 5.7L LT1 1995 Model Year *B-Car 4.3L L99 Auto *B-Car 5.7L LT1 Auto *D-Car 5.7L LT1 Auto W-Car 3.1L L82 Auto 4-speed *F-Car 3.4L L32 Manual/Auto *F-Car 3.8L L36 Auto *F-Car 5.7L LT1 Manual/Auto -Car 2.3L LD2 Auto L-Car 3.1L L82 Auto N-Car 3.1L L82 Auto *S/T Pickup 4.3L LB4 (Z) *S/T Pickup 4.3L L35 (W) *Y-Car 5.7L LT1 Flash Prom vehicles are unique in that their ECM is specific depending on the VIN number. The name "Flash" comes from the fact that the entire memory chip is erased and reprogrammed without removing it from the ECM. It's less expensive, more reliable and has increased memory capacity. *Flash PROM vehicles are the current OBD1 models we reflash and modify for performance applications. Others listed can be upgraded to the latest GM calibration at a modest cost at our shop.

Where Can I Find My Computer?

Please visit the COMPUTERS page for help on finding your computer and for illustrations of locations.

Shipping Questions

How do I ship my computer to get tuned at Wester's Garage? When you are wanting a custom tune by Wester's Garage and we require your computer, you must follow shipping instructions carefully! This will help get your computer here the best way and by the fastest means possible! Please click HERE to read our shipping instructions for a computer that is going to be tuned and then sent back! Why am I being charged extra for a "Core"? When you purchase a custom tune from Wester's Garage and we send you a computer for your vehicle, you are required to send your vehicle's original computer back to us. If you have not returned a core PCM, and our records indicate you haven't, you no longer get free updates. If your core is not returned after 30 days, you cannot receive it for credit -- you've paid for it. When you've paid for your core (non-return or wish to own your stock calibration), you must return the performance PCM when a reburn or update is desired. If your core is shipped and received damaged, we'll take a photo of it and email it to you. It will be returned. We do not accept damaged cores. Damaged cores are considered to be in the following condition(s): -- Physical Pin Damage
-- Connector damage or crushed to where the connectors can no longer provide a weather seal
-- Non-communicating (not able to reprogram) If the core you send us did not come from your vehicle, it will be tagged with your name on it, arrival date, and checked to determine functionality. We do not accept damaged cores (whether internal or external). It is in your best interest to ensure the returned core comes from your truck to avoid core charges. Presently, we have a couple hundred non-functioning computers from prior clients. I don't know how to send back my "Core" Please see our Shipping Instructions page for Return Shipping Information.

How Do I Install My Wester's Custom Tune

Please visit the INSTRUCTIONS page for help on installing your custom tune. If you need help finding your computer's location, you can visit the COMPUTERS page for a list and location photos.


How do I become a dealer? Contact us by emailing our Programmer, Lyndon, at programmer@platinum.ca. He'll be able to help you through the process. Where can I find a dealer close to me? Please visit Our Dealers page and you can scroll to find the location closest to you.

Will This Affect My Warranty?

If you are unsure about warranty issues you may be faced with, please read this TSB that GM produced in 2007 here.

What Is Torque Management?

Torque Management is a function of the PCM that reduces engine power under certain conditions. Torque Management is performed for three reasons;
1) To prevent overstress of powertrain components,
2) To limit engine power when brakes are applied, and
3) To prevent damage to the vehicle during certain abusive maneuvers.
The PCM uses manifold vacuum, intake air temperature, spark retard, engine speed, engine coolant temperature, A/C clutch status, and EGR valve position to calculate engine output torque. It then looks at torque converter status, transaxle gear ratio, and brake switch inputs and determines if any torque reduction is required, the PCM retards spark as appropriate to reduce engine torque output. In the case of abusive maneuvers, the PCM may also shut off fuel to certain cylinders to reduce engine power. DESCRIPTION:
There are five instances when engine power reduction is likely to be experienced:
• During transaxle upshifts and downshifts
• Heavy acceleration from a standing start
• If brakes are applied with moderate to heavy throttle
• If brakes are applied and brake booster vacuum is low
• When the driver is performing stress-inducing (abusive) maneuvers such as shifting into gear at high throttle angles. In the first two instances, the driver is unlikely to even notice the Torque Management actions. In the other three cases, engine power output will be moderate at full throttle. When the PCM determines that engine power reduction is required, it calculates the amount of spark retard necessary to reduce power by the desired amount. This spark retard is then subtracted from the current spark advance. In the case of abusive maneuvers, the fuel injectors for cylinders 1, 4, 6, and 7 will also be disabled for a period of time.

What Is Horsepower?

Just about every car advertisement on TV mentions it, people are talking about their cars always seem to have more than the other guy... But what is horsepower and what does it mean? The Definition: The term horsepower was invented by James Watt, who lived way back between 1736 and 1819. The story goes that Watt was working with strong draft horses carrying coal and he wanted a way to talk about the power available from one of these horses. Probably wanted to brag to his fellows about how he improved his horses' performance, right? He found that, on average, a horse could do 22,000 foot-pounds of work in a minute. For some odd reason, he then multiplied that number by 50% and pegged the measurement of horsepower at 33,000 foot-pounds of work in one minute. It is that strange, arbitrary unit of measure that has made its way down through the centuries and now appears on your car, your lawn mower, your chain saw, and even your vacuum cleaner and household blender. What horsepower means is this... In Watt's judgment, one horse at the coal mind can do 33,000 foot-pounds of work every minute (apparently those horses he observed doing 22,000 foot-pounds of work every minute were slackers and were sent out to LePages). A horse exerting one horsepower can raise 330 pounds of coal 100 feet in a minute, or 33 pounds of coal 1000 feed in one minute, or 1,000 pounds 33 feet in one minute, etc. You can make up whatever combination of feet and pounds you like - as long as the product is 33,000 in one minute and you have one horsepower. You can probably imagine that you would not want to load 33,000 pounds of coal in the bucket and ask the horse to move it one foot in a minute because the horse couldn't budge that big a load. You can probably also imagine that you would not want to put one pound of coal in the bucket and ask the horse to run 33,000 feet in one minute, since that translates into 375 miles per hour and most horses can't run that fast. If you have a block and tackle, you can easily trade "perceived weight" for distance using an arrangement of pulleys. So you could create a block and tackle system that puts a comfortable amount of weight on the horse at a comfortable speed no matter how much weight is actually in the bucket. Horsepower can be converted into other units. For example, one horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts or 2,545 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. So if you took a one-horsepower horse and put it on a treadmill, it could operate a generator producing a continuous 746 watts. If you took that 746 watts and ran it through an electric heater, it would produce 2,545 BTUs in an hour (where a BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree F). One BTU is equal to 1,055 joules, or 252 gram-calories, or 0.252 food Calories. Presumably the horse would burn 641 Calories in one hour doing its work if it were 100% efficient. Measuring Horsepower: If you want to know the horsepower of an engine, you hook the engine up to a dynamometer. Horsepower is pure theory--it's an arbitrary number. A dynamometer places a load on the engine and measures the amount of TORQUE that the engine can produce against the load. Some dynamometers measure the acceleration rate of a known mass at a given rate of speed--like a DynoJet. The basic formula used is: Force (ft/lbs) = MASS (lbs) X ACCELERATION (ft/second) Since the MASS of the roller is known, and the ACCELERATION rate can be measured with simple sensors, the resultant force exerted on the roller in "ft/lbs" is then calculated from the known values (mass x acceleration) although not physically measured. With in input from the engine such as RPM--we then input the data and make up "horsepower". There are other correction inputs like atmospheric pressure, humidity, etc...but we won't go into that here. The formula most widely accepted becomes: HP = Torque x RPM / 5252 To further the initial formula-if you can measure the acceleration rate, you can use a product like a G-Tech ( www.gtech.com) to accurately calculate HP and Torque, without ever going to a dyno. "G-Tech" data and track times are normally within a fraction of each other, making this tuning/measuring method very accurate. But let's first talk a bit more about torque, since it's a tangible measurable force, and we'll explain dyno theory a little bit more. Torque Imagine that you have a big socket wrench with a 2-foot long handle on it and you it to apply 50 pounds of force to that 2-foot long handle. What you are doing is applying a torque, or turning force, of 100 foot-pounds (50 pounds to a 2 foot long handle) to the bolt. You could get the same 100 foot-pounds of torque by applying one pound of force to the end of a 100 foot handle or 100 pounds of force to a one foot long handle.

Similarly, if you attach a shaft to an engine, the engine can apply torque to the shaft.

A dynamometer measures this torque. Our MAHA dyno is computer controlled. The computer applies an "eddy current", controlling load to the rollers and actually "holds" the vehicle at a fixed wheel speed, no matter how hard you put your foot into it -- the vehicle axle speed is held there. You can vary the output with the amount of engine load applied at that speed by varying throttle angle. The output to the dyno screen is actual, real world, measured force (torque) delivered from the rear tires to the rollers. It's a pretty cool machine -- I can load the rollers to simulate pulling a load, or driving down the road, driving up an 8% grade, or just hold the vehicle at one speed (really nice for tuning). I've had a low 10 second 1996 Mustang on it which had been engine dyno'd on a Superflow Engine dyno at over 750 hp on alcohol -- tuned with pyrometers instead of air fuel ratios. Although the MAHA software has 500 HP limitations at this point, the MAHA dyno performed flawlessly--holding the Mustang at any speed we chose to maximize the state of tune. Here's a shot of Mike Williams (a car we previously built parts for and sponsored) '70.5 Camaro from a 2003 run at Mission, B.C. and ran a best 9.42 @ 142 MPH with a BBchevy and Turbo 400 transmission with Ford 9". Needless to say, he usually emptied the pits when he was up to run. I've personally programmed a different spark map on an engine with a SUPERCHIPS Race ICON, tried the best possible combination on a '99 Nissan Pathfinder Stillen model, and only gained 7 ft/lbs torque at the wheels. That wouldn't even be a tangible, "feelable" gain at the seat of your pants--but this dyno measured it--time after time. Before you think that the ICON doesn't work, I installed one on a 1995 S10 4.3 CPI with a 700R4 transmission and gained 95 ft/lbs of torque by retuning the spark map above 1800 RPM through 5500 rpm. If you plot the horsepower versus the RPM values for the engine, what you end up with is a horsepower curve for the engine. What a graph like this points out to you is that any engine has a peak horsepower - an RPM value at which the power available from the engine is at its maximum. An engine also has a peak torque at a specific RPM. You will often see this expressed in a brochure or a review in a magazine as "320 HP @ 6500 RPM, 290 ft-lb torque @ 5000 RPM" (the figures for the 1999 Shelby Series 1). When someone says an engine has "lots of low-end torque" what they mean is that the peak torque, like in a diesel application, occurs at a fairly low RPM value.

Fuel Mileage Gains From Wester's Tune

MILEAGE GAINS are one of the main reasons for consideration of getting a programmed ECU. The main reasons you and your car will get poor mileage is because of the following: 1. Driving faster than the speed limit. The drag co-efficient of the larger passenger car or truck of today still isn't fantastic. Therefore it requires more horsepower (and fuel) to displace air as you drive down the highway. It has been said that the difference between 55 MPH and 70 MPH can be 20% of your fuel costs. Frontal area is a very key factor in mileage and performance--just ask your NASCAR crew chief... yes, you will get better mileage if you follow that semi-trailer too closely, but that's not exactly a smart thing to do. MYTHBUSTERS YOUTUBE VIDEO 2. Tire inflation pressures incorrect. Although the manufacturer often recommends inflation pressures of a lower value, it requires more horsepower to roll a lower inflated tire down the road. You'll find that increasing inflation pressures so you get a more even tread wear pattern on your tire will also indicate the best 'tire contact' to the ground. Tires that wear more on the inside AND outside of the tread pattern indicate under inflation. A wear pattern in the centre of the tire indicates over inflation --but the mileage gains may offset tire replacement cost. You want good tire contact across the tread, without increasing TOTAL tire contact patch to the ground. The greater the contact patch -- the more friction -- the more heat -- the more total energy lost. 3. Engine state of tune. If you can't remember when you replaced your spark plugs or air filter--you may want to give them your attention. Stay away from 'fancy' plugs...all a spark plug does is provide a gap for the spark. Improper "spark plug reach" can inhibit mileage as much as 30%...so make sure the spark plug you buy was intended for the specific application. If there are any doubts--consult an application guide for your specific engine. The 8th digit in your VIN number identifies the engine family. A plugged air filter hurts performance...and if your vehicle has a MAF sensor, when you make it flow better--it'll actually use more fuel. So be conscious of your choices with FIPK retrofit kits or other inlet modifications. 4. Wheel Alignment. An alignment problem can be the equivalent of dragging your car sideways down the highway a couple of feet for every couple miles of driving. A real good indicator of alignment problems are the front tires. Here's a quick and simple test. Get a tire crayon and 'color' a 1" wide strip across the front of your tire from inside to outside. Do the same on the other front tire. Drive in a straight line for 100 feet (pavement or concrete) without turning your steering wheel . If the crayon is already scrubbed off the tire--you may want to consider a wheel alignment. This little test in no way indicates a proper alignment--but would indicate improper 'toe' alignment, which is the #1 tire wearing angle. This Toe check indicates if your tires are |// --- \\| toe in or |\\ --- //| toe out in relation to each other. Because of the complexity of today's automotive suspensions--take the vehicle to the experts. Do not attempt to adjust anything yourself. Insist on a 4-wheel alignment for a FWD car -- and a thrust align, or two wheel alignment for a rear wheel drive solid rear axle vehicle. 5. Cold driving -- Warm up. There is no 'real' advantage to fully warming up your engine before driving, other than using more fuel. This also applies to extended idling, etc...it's all wasted fuel. Try to consolidate trips to the store, school, work, errands....careful planning and execution of a route can safe fuel (and a lot of unnecessary mileage). Driving like you stole the vehicle will never help mileage--drive your vehicle like you've got an egg between your foot and the gas pedal...accelerate slowly. 6. Incorrect tire size. When you install a larger tire than what was original to the vehicle, you are actually requiring the engine to develop even MORE torque to maintain rolling resistance down the highway. Although we can correct the speedometer and odometer--don't expect mileage gains. 7. Decrease AIR!! This flies in the face of what is sold out there today, but if you can decrease the amount of air entering the engine (due to the fact that this is a closed loop system as of 1996 OBD2) you will use less fuel, too. Ideally, you want to maintain the same horsepower required to combat air friction, rolling mass losses, etc...but do it with LESS AIR!! Let me illustrate. A closed loop system maintains the air fuel ratio at 14.7 lbs air to 1 lb of fuel. This is maintained for idle, cruise and in some cases, even at wide open throttle. If you have 60 grams/sec air entering the engine at cruise, you're using 4.08 grams of fuel per second. If the cylinder pressures are increased without creating harmful exhaust by-products, or if these by-products are controlled by the catalytic converter, we can gain mileage by decreasing airflow through the engine while enhancing the spark curve to maintain the same rear wheel HP. On the chassis dyno, we can get vehicles down to 45-50 grams air/sec maintaining the same air fuel ratio, and same wheel HP as stock--and the overall result is less fuel consumed ! 45 g/secs works out to 3.06 g/fuel used in the same time period--or an almost 25% saving. We can't gain this in all vehicles of course--this example was resultant data from a 2007 6.0L HD 3500 GM truck. This flies in the face of every aftermarket product out there claiming that it saves fuel--you will never gain mileage by increasing airflow through a gasoline engine in a mass airflow type system. Because we carefully remap the spark curve with a remapped ECU, we in effect are increasing cylinder pressure without adding fuel. Increased cylinder pressure translates into more useable torque and power to maintain the power required for 'rolling resistance' of the vehicle down the road. The increase in horsepower often results in better fuel economy--although we do not guarantee mileage gains--as we cannot determine how YOU drive, and what your driving habits are. Diesels are a different story...we need to stuff as much air in the cylinder as possible--and create maximum cylinder pressure at diesel injection point, use all the heat energy created to maximize pressure while keeping the total combustion event in the cylinder prior to exhaust valve opening. Smoke is wasted energy...in reality, diesels can actually run as low as 100lbs of air to 1 lb of fuel--although there's not enough heat energy created at that ratio. There's no magic air fuel ratio for diesel--leaner operation does not create damage, it just won't make power. Therefore, you need a balance of fuel, best boost and proper timing to make the diesel efficient. Lyndon Wester, Owner, Wester's Garage
Check www.epa.gov for fuel mileage hoaxes. Here's a good read from the Federal Trade Commission: "Gas-Saving" Products: Fact or Fuelishness? Gas prices are up, and so is the volume of advertising for "gas-saving" products. When gasoline prices rise, consumers often look for ways to improve fuel efficiency. Although there are practical steps you can take to increase gas mileage, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns you to be wary of any gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives. Even for the few gas-saving products that have been found to work, the savings have been small. "Gas-Saving" Advertising Claims. Be sceptical of the following kinds of advertising claims.

  • "This gas-saving product improves fuel economy by 20 percent."
    • Claims usually tout savings ranging from 12 to 25 percent. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices and has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, some "gas-saving" products may damage a car's engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions.

      The gas-saving products on the market fall into clearly defined categories. Although the EPA has not tested or evaluated every product, it has tried to examine at least one product in each category. See "Devices Tested by EPA" at the end of this brochure for category descriptions and product names.
  • "After installing your product on my car, I got an extra 4 miles [6.4 kilometres] per gallon [3.8 litres]."
    • Many ads feature glowing testimonials by satisfied customers. Yet, few consumers have the ability or the equipment to test for precise changes in gas mileage after installing a gas-saving product. Many variables affect fuel consumption, including traffic, road and weather conditions, and the car's condition.

      For example, one consumer sent a letter to a company praising its "gas-saving" product. At the time the product was installed, however, the consumer also had received a complete engine tune-up - a fact not mentioned in the letter. The entire increase in gas mileage attributed to the "gas-saving" product may well have been the result of the tune-up alone. But from the ad, other consumers could not have known that.
  • "This gas-saving device is approved by the Federal government."
    • No government agency endorses gas-saving products for cars. The most that can be claimed in advertising is that the EPA has reached certain conclusions about possible gas savings by testing the product or by evaluating the manufacturer's own test data. If the seller claims that its product has been evaluated by the EPA, ask for a copy of the EPA report, or check www.epa.gov for information. In some instances, false claims of EPA testing or approval have been made.
Product Complaints and Refunds If you're dissatisfied with a gas-saving product, contact the manufacturer and ask for a refund. Most companies offer money-back guarantees. Contact the company, even if the guarantee period has expired. If you're not satisfied with the company's response, contact your local or state consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau. Shifting Gears: Real Money-Saving Steps There are numerous no- or low-cost steps you can take to combat rising gas prices. The most important place to start is at the gas pump; buy only the octane level gas you need. All gas pumps must post the octane rating of the gas under the FTC's Fuel Rating Rule. Remember, the higher the octane, the higher the price. Check your owner's manual to determine the right octane level for your car. Here are some additional tips from the EPA to help you get better gas mileage. Drive more efficiently
  • Stay within posted speed limits. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. For example, driving at 65 miles per hour (mph), rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent. Driving at 75 mph, rather than 65 mph, increases fuel consumption by another 25 percent.
  • Use overdrive gears. Overdrive gears improve the fuel economy of your car during highway driving. Your car's engine speed decreases when you use overdrive. This reduces both fuel consumption and engine wear.
  • Use cruise control. Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, reduce your fuel consumption.
  • Anticipate driving situations. If you anticipate traffic conditions and don't tailgate, you can avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, and improve your fuel economy by 5 to 10 percent. In city driving, nearly 50 percent of the energy needed to power your car goes to acceleration. Go easy on the gas pedal and brakes. "Jack-rabbit" starts and sudden stops are wasteful.
  • Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a lengthy wait. No matter how efficient your car is, unnecessary idling wastes fuel, costs you money and pollutes the air.
  • Combine errands. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
  • Remove excess weight from the trunk. Avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces a typical car's fuel economy by one to two percent.
Maintain Your Car
  • Keep your engine tuned. Studies have shown that a poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 to 20 percent depending on a car's condition. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner's manual; you'll save fuel and your car will run better and last longer.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned. Car manufacturers must place a label in the car stating the correct tire pressure. The label usually is on the edge of the door or door jamb, in the glove box, or on the inside of the gas cap cover. If the label lists a psi (pounds per square inch) range, use the higher number to maximize your fuel efficiency. Under inflated tires cause fuel consumption to increase by six percent.
  • Change your oil. Clean oil reduces wear caused by friction between moving parts and removes harmful substances from the engine. Change your oil as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Check and replace air filters regularly. Your car's air filter keeps impurities in the air from damaging internal engine components. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter improve your fuel economy, it also will protect your engine. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10 percent increase in fuel consumption.
Consider buying a fuel efficient vehicle
  • Deciding which vehicle to buy may be the most important fuel economy decision you make. The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG (miles per gallon) and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $1,500 over 5 years, assuming gas costs $1.50 per gallon and you drive 15,000 miles a year.
Visit www.fueleconomy.gov for more information. You'll find gas mileage estimates and other data from EPA for 1985-2003 model year cars. EPA Evaluation Efforts The EPA evaluates or tests products to determine whether their use will result in any significant improvement or detriment to fuel economy. However, the EPA cannot say what effect gas-saving products will have on a vehicle over time because it hasn't conducted any durability tests. It's possible that some products may harm the car or may otherwise adversely affect its performance. In fact, today's vehicles' emission control systems are very sophisticated and complex. They have On Board Diagnostic features that alert the driver to problems associated with the emission control and fuel delivery systems. Retrofit products may have an adverse effect on these systems. Devices Tested by EPA The following list categorizes various types of "gas-saving" products, explains how they're used and gives product names. Those with asterisks may save measurable, but small, amounts of gas. All others have been found not to increase fuel economy.
  • Air Bleed Devices. These devices bleed air into the carburetor. They usually are installed in the Positive Crankcase Ventilation line or as a replacement for idle-mixture screws.
    • The EPA has evaluated the following products: ADAKS Vacuum Breaker Air Bleed; Air-Jet Air Bleed; Aquablast Wyman Valve Air Bleed; Auto-Miser; Ball-Matic Air Bleed; Berg Air Bleed; Brisko PCV; Cyclone-Z; Econo Needle Air Bleed; Econo-Jet Air Bleed Idle Screws; Fuel Max*; Gas Saving Device; Grancor Air Computer; Hot Tip; Landrum Mini-Carb; Landrum Retrofit Air Bleed; Mini Turbocharger Air Bleed; Monocar HC Control Air Bleed; Peterman Air Bleed; Pollution Master Air Bleed; Ram-Jet; Turbo-Dyne G.R. Valve.
  • Vapour Bleed Devices. These devices are similar to the air bleed devices, except that induced air is bubbled through a container of a water and anti-freeze mixture, usually located in the engine compartment.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Atomized Vapour Injector; Frantz Vapour Injection System; Hydro-Vac: POWERFUeL; Mark II Vapour Injection System; Platinum Gasaver; V-70 Vapour Injector; SCATPAC Vacuum Vapour Induction System: Econo-Mist Vacuum Vapour Injection System; Turbo Vapour Injection System.
  • Liquid Injection. These products add liquid into the fuel/air intake system and not directly into the combustion chamber.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Goodman Engine System-Model 1800; Waag-Injection System*.
  • Ignition Devices. These devices are attached to the ignition system or are used to replace original equipment or parts.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Autosaver; Baur Condenser; BIAP Electronic Ignition Unit; Fuel Economizer; Magna Flash Ignition Control System; Paser Magnum/Paser 500/Paser 500 HEI; Special Formula Ignition Advance Springs.
  • Fuel Line Devices (heaters or coolers). These devices heat the fuel before it enters the carburetor. Usually, the fuel is heated by the engine coolant or by the exhaust or electrical system.
    • The EPA has evaluated: FuelXpander; Gas Meiser I; Greer Fuel Preheater; Jacona Fuel System; Optimizer; Russell Fuelmiser.
  • Fuel Line Devices (magnets). These magnetic devices, clamped to the outside of the fuel line or installed in the fuel line, claim to change the molecular structure of gasoline.
    • The EPA has evaluated: PETRO-MIZER; POLARION-X; Super-Mag Fuel Extender; Wickliff Polarizer [fuel line magnet/intake air magnet].
  • Fuel Line Devices (metallic). Typically, these devices contain several dissimilar metals that are installed in the fuel line, supposedly causing ionization of the fuel.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Malpassi Filter King [fuel pressure regulator]; Moleculetor.
  • Mixture Enhancers (under the carburetor). These devices are mounted between the carburetor and intake manifold and supposedly enhance the mixing or vaporization of the air/fuel mixture.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Energy Gas Saver; Environmental Fuel Saver; Gas Saving and Emission Control Improvement Device; Glynn-50; Hydro-Catalyst Pre-Combustion Catalyst System; PETROMIZER SYSTEM; Sav-A-Mile; Spritzer; Turbo-Carb; Turbocarb.
  • Mixture Enhancers (others). These devices make some general modifications to the vehicle intake system.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Basko Enginecoat; Dresser Economizer; Electro-Dyne Superchoke; Filtron Urethane Foam Filter; Lamkin Fuel Metering Device; Smith Power and Deceleration Governor.
  • Internal Engine Modifications. These devices make physical or mechanical function changes to the engine.
    • The EPA has evaluated: ACDS Automotive Cylinder Deactivation System*; Dresser Economizer; MSU Cylinder Deactivation*.
  • Accessory Drive Modifiers. These devices reduce power to specific auto accessories.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Morse Constant Speed Accessory Drive **; P.A.S.S. Kit**; PASS Master Vehicle Air Conditioner**.
  • Fuels and Fuel Additives. These materials are added to the gas tank.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Bycosin; EI-5 Fuel Additive; Fuelon Power; Johnson Fuel Additive; NRG #1 Fuel Additive; QEI 400 Fuel Additive; Rolfite Upgrade Fuel Additive; Sta-Power Fuel Additive; Stargas Fuel Additive; SYNeRGy-1; Technol G Fuel Additive; ULX-15/ULX-15D; Vareb 10 Fuel Additive; XRG #1 Fuel Additive.
  • Oils and Oil Additives. Usually these materials are poured into the crankcase.
    • The EPA has evaluated: Analube Synthetic Lubricant; Tephguard.
  • Driving Habit Modifiers. These are lights or sound devices to tell the driver to reduce acceleration or to shift gears.
    • The EPA has evaluated: AUTOTHERM**; Fuel Conservation Device; Gastell; IDALERT**.
  • Miscellaneous.
    • The EPA has evaluated: BRAKE-EZ; Dynamix; Fuel Maximiser; Gyroscopic Wheel Cover; Kamei Spoilers**; Kat's Engine Heater; Lee Exhaust and Fuel Gasification EGR; Mesco Moisture Extraction System; P.S.C.U. 01 Device; Treis Emulsifier.
* Indicated a very small improvement in fuel economy but with an increase in exhaust emissions. According to Federal regulations, installation of this device could be considered illegal tampering. ** Indicated a very small improvement in fuel economy without an increase in exhaust emissions. However, cost-effectiveness must be determined by the consumer for a particular application. For More Information. For information about EPA test procedures and test results, visit www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer.htm or write: Verification and Compliance Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, 2000 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; or call: 734-214-4925. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. Watch for current additive 'scams' -- they become more prevalent in the spring of the year. As the weather warms up, you'll always get better mileage!!