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Old 05-29-2008, 10:52 AM   #1
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2006 Or Thereabout Matrix Owners?

My Matrix is a 2006 Xr, 5 speed manual. Fun ride and everything, however, I'm finding that I'm only getting "sticker" mpg on it with a combo of city/interstate driving (I drive, ugh, 78 miles a day in the work commute, hoping to change that in the next month though to something in the 6 mile range). Anywho, my maximum mileage thus far is 36.8 mpg, with a running weekly average of 34 to 35 mpg. I'm using some hypermiling techniques that I kind of noodled out on my own (coasting, taking it out of gear, P&G in city, engine off at lengthy stoplights, etc).

My daily drive is 20% city and 80% interstate, each way, approximately. I understand that reliably getting 35-ish mpg with this combo is pretty good all things considered, but...

The car has no modifications whatsoever. None. The mileage I'm getting is coming strictly from habit changes. Ok, great. Most Matrix owners I know in my area get like 24 to 28 mpg with their "normal driver" driving habits, so I'm ahead of the pack. However, looking on a Matrix owners forum I see routine claims of 40mpg to 46mpg from people who rarely if ever indicate any kind of modifications or driving habit changes and are driving similar age Matrix automobiles. Am I missing something here?

If I'm not missing something and they have some kind of secret for better mileage, would anybody have any clue what that might be? Air dam comes to mind, the bottom of the 2006 Matrix looks like it is grinning from ear to ear. Other than extreme modifications that my wife would totally balk on, is there anything really "big" that I'm missing (and are there ways to hide "extreme" modifications from a spouse that kind of only tolerates one's eccentricities)?

My tire pressure is set to 44psi, btw, which is the max listed on the tires. Thinking of popping it up to 50psi, assuming this is still a safe range psi for an auto that potentially carries my kids from time to time.

Any suggestions or observations?
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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what speeds are you running on the highway? speed is one thing that will kill you.

if the speed limit is 55, do 55. if it is 65, then do 63. (I try to stay away from 65 or higher)

just a thought.

also isn't the matrix the same as the pontiac vibe?
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BEEF View Post
what speeds are you running on the highway? speed is one thing that will kill you.

if the speed limit is 55, do 55. if it is 65, then do 63. (I try to stay away from 65 or higher)

just a thought.

also isn't the matrix the same as the pontiac vibe?

Highway speeds are 65. I run at 65. Will try 63 this evening and for the rest of the tank. Will a 2mph reduction make a noticeable impact I wonder? I've considered doing 55 mph and running behind semi trucks, since their max is pegged at 55mph in Ohio, however, most of them go as fast as they can in between smokey the bear sightings, so it's kind of hit and miss for sitting behind them at 55.

I think the Vibe and the Matrix are more or less the same. The Matrix has been around for quite a few years (2003 or prior I think, not certain) and is essentially a Corolla with a different body, probably on the same frame (guessing on the frame of course). Same year Corollas get 40mpg-ish I hear, so some aerodynamic tweaking might be required on my part (or blocking that damn dam, lol).

On 44 psi rated tires, a 50psi fill shouldn't be much of a strain I would think?
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiddleMike View Post
However, looking on a Matrix owners forum I see routine claims of 40mpg to 46mpg from people who rarely if ever indicate any kind of modifications or driving habit changes and are driving similar age Matrix automobiles. Am I missing something here?
They may have different driving conditions, inaccuracies in their measurements, and inaccuracies in their reporting. You may have inaccurate measurements too.

Quote:
My tire pressure is set to 44psi, btw, which is the max listed on the tires. Thinking of popping it up to 50psi, assuming this is still a safe range psi for an auto that potentially carries my kids from time to time.
I ran 50 in 44psi tires for a decent length of time with no detrimental consequences. I don't recommend it to others but it didn't cause me any problem.

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Will a 2mph reduction make a noticeable impact I wonder?
It sounds about as worthwhile as it does difficult -- not very much on either end.

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I've considered doing 55 mph and running behind semi trucks, since their max is pegged at 55mph in Ohio, however, most of them go as fast as they can in between smokey the bear sightings, so it's kind of hit and miss for sitting behind them at 55.
You will most likely gain by keeping up with them and drafting with a 2 to 3 second following distance. There was a thread titled something like "To draft or to slow down?" where that very question was explored quite thoroughly.
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:47 AM   #5
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personally, I get my best mileage at 50mph but on a highway that the speed limit is 65, that is all but impossible. the slower the better because aero will kill your mileage. I just suggested 63 because it is less than the speed limit. if you can stand to do 60 then I would try that. as far as drafting trucks, I wouldn't do it. the last thing you want is a ticked off trucker.

as far as aero goes, you might want to look into a grill block. there is a guy here with a vibe and a lady here with a matrix (same thing, different color) they have huge grills. I would block that off first. this helps with engine warm up times and aero as well. you can use plexi-glass (well fake plexi) and it doesn't look that bad. check my garage if you want to see mine to get an idea.

as far as the tire pressure thing goes. just one simple coment "blowouts suck"
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BEEF View Post
personally, I get my best mileage at 50mph but on a highway that the speed limit is 65, that is all but impossible. the slower the better because aero will kill your mileage. I just suggested 63 because it is less than the speed limit. if you can stand to do 60 then I would try that. as far as drafting trucks, I wouldn't do it. the last thing you want is a ticked off trucker.
True. I do have a CB in the car (and radar detector). Kind of from the days when I didn't care about MPG, lol. They do tend to get pretty ticked and exact revenge from time to time.

Quote:
as far as aero goes, you might want to look into a grill block. there is a guy here with a vibe and a lady here with a matrix (same thing, different color) they have huge grills. I would block that off first. this helps with engine warm up times and aero as well. you can use plexi-glass (well fake plexi) and it doesn't look that bad. check my garage if you want to see mine to get an idea.
Will do, thx.

Quote:
as far as the tire pressure thing goes. just one simple coment "blowouts suck"
Sure. If it were a low to mid 30's tire I wouldn't even consider it. As it is, it would be 6 psi over the printed max. That's why I'm considering it.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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You can use your CB to ask permission to draft. There is at least one person on the forum who does that. However, a 2 or 3 second following distance is further than most people use on the highway anyway. Try it, you'll be surprised just how far 3 seconds is at 65mph.

Blowouts happen from excessively high temperature, which results from underinflation. Overinflation will not cause a blowout unless it's really extreme -- I'm guessing you'd need 150psi in a 44psi tire to cause anything resembling a blowout, at which point you'd actually have the bead come unseated and the air come out around the rim. Maybe 100psi could do it if you hit a sharp pothole hard.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
They may have different driving conditions, inaccuracies in their measurements, and inaccuracies in their reporting. You may have inaccurate measurements too.
True. Using the Trip ODO and Fillup math method. Know it's not perfect or anything, but it gives a reasonably close estimate. Probably need to get me one of those do-dads you folks talk about for getting on the fly measurements.


Quote:
I ran 50 in 44psi tires for a decent length of time with no detrimental consequences. I don't recommend it to others but it didn't cause me any problem.
Cool. The oil place I went to had it already up to 40psi (they fill the tires each visit). Just a quick nip up to 44psi. Probably as quick to 50 on the way home tonight. If it doesn't work out I can always let air out of the tires.



Quote:
It sounds about as worthwhile as it does difficult -- not very much on either end.
With P&G you may be right. With cruise control, probably easier. Ohio is pretty flat in the central part so it's not like there's a lot of lost opportunity for long glides on the roads.

Also considering my next oil. I think a 0W-30 synthetic would work. Are there recommendations anywhere on what kind of spark plugs/wires to put in a little putter like this one to be found?

Sorry for doing so many noob questions, this kind of thing fascinates me. You should see how energy efficient our home has become the last 5 years from my inability to not be fascinated with stuff like this, lol.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
You can use your CB to ask permission to draft. There is at least one person on the forum who does that. However, a 2 or 3 second following distance is further than most people use on the highway anyway. Try it, you'll be surprised just how far 3 seconds is at 65mph.
Good idea on the ask persmission.

I do a 2 second+ lead on my motorcycle for ALL vehicles in front of me, because I have this peculiar aversion to death or serious dismemberment. Yeah, it's kind of stunning how big a gap that leaves.

Quote:
Blowouts happen from excessively high temperature, which results from underinflation. Overinflation will not cause a blowout unless it's really extreme -- I'm guessing you'd need 150psi in a 44psi tire to cause anything resembling a blowout, at which point you'd actually have the bead come unseated and the air come out around the rim. Maybe 100psi could do it if you hit a sharp pothole hard.
I'm thinking that 50psi would work fine in that case. Thx.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiddleMike View Post
True. Using the Trip ODO and Fillup math method. Know it's not perfect or anything, but it gives a reasonably close estimate. Probably need to get me one of those do-dads you folks talk about for getting on the fly measurements.
Are you filling at the same pump, stopping at the first click, and doing it at the same time of day at the same temperature? That's about as accurate as is reasonable, and I believe it's the way most people here measure (myself included).

Quote:
Also considering my next oil. I think a 0W-30 synthetic would work. Are there recommendations anywhere on what kind of spark plugs/wires to put in a little putter like this one to be found?
The oil is probably a good idea, just don't be disappointed when the improvement is tiny. It's generally agreed that changing plugs and wires early will never pay off, though switching brands when doing a scheduled change might net a miniscule improvement.

Take a look at mods others are doing. Most have to be free or nearly free to pay for themselves. Grill blocking and warm air intake are two popular mods.
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