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raybliu 03-30-2015 02:55 PM

Hello, new guy here
 
Hello, just joined. Hope to learn from you all!
I recently bought a preowned 2012 Toyota Highlander with a V6 engine. It had leas than 22,000 miles and I've only driven 1000 miles in 45 days. The car's MPG is performing well below manufacturer's and other owners MPG average which is 17 to 22. My car is averaging between 10 to 13 mpg. It went as low as below 9 in snow while never even above 14 on highway. My average seems the lowest I have seen from what's published. I see many of you publish your MPG records. How do you access this info which I presume comes from your car's PC?
I'm obviously concerned with the low MPG performance but more importantly I'm more concerned with there are other issues that produce such poor performance. I would like to take care of it while it's still under warranty.
Any advice is most appreciated. Thanks.

Draigflag 04-01-2015 10:59 PM

His welcome. A lot of people have the same problem this time of year. The cold weather combined with short city trips uses huge amounts of Fuel. I'm assuming you've checked tyre pressures and all engine fluids?

trollbait 04-02-2015 04:51 AM

The MPG in the records is simply calculated from the fuel added to fill the tank and the distance traveled.

raybliu 04-02-2015 06:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trollbait (Post 182653)
The MPG in the records is simply calculated from the fuel added to fill the tank and the distance traveled.

Thanks. I was looking for some form of record to show the dealer of the car's performance.
The car display screen actually shows a chart of the 5 previous fuel up average. It ranges from below 9 to barely above 12 mpg, abysmal averages! I took a pict and will show them in my next visit. I presume the dealer should be able to download the info from the computer if he chooses to. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Draigflag 04-02-2015 08:58 AM

There is a chance there could be a fault, but it's far more probable that it's the weather, type of driving you do, trip distance and driving style that affect your fuel consumption over anything else.

trollbait 04-02-2015 12:00 PM

If you are in the North East, the cold can really drag down your fuel economy. So can short trips. Low tire pressure will hurt it.

Has there been any improvement with the warmer weather?

trollbait 04-02-2015 01:39 PM

Also, are the tires the OEM ones installed at the factory? An aggressive, off road tread will lower your fuel efficiency.

raybliu 04-02-2015 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trollbait (Post 182660)
Also, are the tires the OEM ones installed at the factory? An aggressive, off road tread will lower your fuel efficiency.

These are the original tires. They had some sidewall damage which I'm having dispute with the dealer.
The warmer weather has improved from 11 to around 12. I just checked the average from the car's graph image, the last 3 fill ups had been around 12, none reached 13. The current average is still less than 12 even though the weather has reached 60 today. I've had the car for just about 1000 miles in 50 days so the readings pretty much are all mine.
I can accept just a couple mpg below average but my readings are off the chart low.

OliverGT 04-03-2015 07:43 AM

ok, in order to try and help we need some further information.

Average trip distance? Short trip impact MPG, especailly for Petrol.
Average temperature? As mentioned low temperatures affect MPG.
Tyre Pressures? Low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance, which will reduce MPG.
Average speed? Schumacher was never praised for his MPG figures.
Altitude? This one might sound strange, but the higher you are the worse your MPG will be.

General MPG tips:
Dont use more than 2500 RPM in each gear.
Get into the highest gear as soon as possible, for petrol you want to be accelerating around 3/4 throttle, so quite quickly. But changing up quickly as well.
Keep the speed down.

Does the car have an instantaneous MPG guage as well as the average guage? You need to be monitoring the instantaneous guage most of the time, this will help you understand what works well for your car.

Hope this helps.

Oliver.

raybliu 04-03-2015 08:07 AM

MPG issues
 
1 Attachment(s)
Yes the car does have instant feed back from the computer. Here is a picture of the display of the averages from my car. As you can see the car ranges from 8 to a little above 12 for the last 5 fill ups.
In this Highlander, so far no check lights indicate any of the problems you mentioned.
I have been driving over 40 years so while I can't claim to be a great driver, I'm aware of the impact of driving habit could cause mpg averages. My last car was a 2000 4 runner and the milage was no where near to the ones I'm getting! In that car I even use it off road, on sandy beaches etc. I consistently get mid to high teens average.
As this is a certified preowned car, which under the Toyota Certified program is supposed to be delivered in top running and physical conditions. Judging from the gas milage performance, I'm afraid it's anything but that. Any insight and advice in how to handle this is most appreciated. Thanks.

RobertV 04-03-2015 09:15 AM

Are you logging your fill-ups anywhere?
It'd be great to see them here on Fuelly so we can compare to other users with similar make/model.

You're asking for advice on diagnosing a lower-than-average MPG vehicle, but not really giving us a whole lot to go off of.

raybliu 04-03-2015 10:31 AM

I've owned the car for less than 2 months and about 1000miles. I did not log on anywhere. The image shown came from my car's display panel. The info is recorded in my car's computer. I don't know how to download it. I presume a Toyota mechanic with his diagnostic machine should be able to extract the info.
I don't drive much as you can see from my milage. I drive 2 round trips daily for about 3 miles each, mostly city driving with occasional highway trip of 10 to 20 miles.
I get that the stop and go will kill the average but didn't expect such low showing. That's why I'm asking for advice to see how to fix it.
As you can see from other Highlander owner's experience, my MPG is off the chart low.
https://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/highlander
I'm getting zero help from Toyota and certainly not from the dealer.

trollbait 04-03-2015 11:32 AM

What are the actual tire pressures?
The TPMS light won't come on until the pressures are at least 5psi below the placard values, and modern tires won't look low until they have lost more air than that. The placard value is the minimum for good fuel economy and safety. If the tires are damaged, there could be a slow leak.

Does the alignment seem alright?

raybliu 04-03-2015 02:31 PM

The alignment seems ok as the tires seem fairly evenly worn. That said, two of the rear tires have crack on them. One of the two has a deep gouge from bad curb rash. I tried to point out to the dealers but those sleazy xxx unmentionables don't even return call.
Good points about the tire pressure. I'll have to check tomorrow.
The car is an all wheel drive those it's listed as a 4WD. No doubt the full time 4 wheeling is sucking the gas out of the tank but it seems no other Highlanders are experiencing the same MPG issues I have.

trollbait 04-03-2015 03:45 PM

Toyota's AWD is asymmetrical; it's a FWD most of the time. Unless it is stuck in AWD all the time it shouldn't be the cause of your low fuel economy.

You should start tracking miles and fuel economy here. I wouldn't put too much reliance into the factory monitor, or even a third party one. Yesterday, the scangauge said my morning commute was around 38mpg, and the evening one around 39, but the average for the day was 36.

RobertV 04-03-2015 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raybliu (Post 182667)
I don't drive much as you can see from my milage. I drive 2 round trips daily for about 3 miles each, mostly city driving with occasional highway trip of 10 to 20 miles.

That's the problem right there.
Not enough time for the engine to reach optimal operating temp. Colder engine means it's running rich (more fuel).
When I was traveling less than 5 miles a day I saw my fuel economy drop as well. Went from 23 to 17MPG and even as low as 14MPG.
Now I work from home and try to plan my commutes to be longer.

raybliu 04-03-2015 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trollbait (Post 182674)
Toyota's AWD is asymmetrical; it's a FWD most of the time. Unless it is stuck in AWD all the time it shouldn't be the cause of your low fuel economy.

You should start tracking miles and fuel economy here. I wouldn't put too much reliance into the factory monitor, or even a third party one. Yesterday, the scangauge said my morning commute was around 38mpg, and the evening one around 39, but the average for the day was 36.

The only average I read is the one from the summary after fill up as shown on my photo image of the display. 5 fill ups in 1000 miles averaging 9 to 12 gallon each comes out to be about 11 to 12 mpg.


My car is labeled as a 4WD and not AWD maybe semantic but it has no means to turn off the 4Ws. Since my dealer is not responding to my calls, I have no way to know what the car is doing.

raybliu 04-03-2015 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RobertV (Post 182675)
That's the problem right there.
Not enough time for the engine to reach optimal operating temp. Colder engine means it's running rich (more fuel).
When I was traveling less than 5 miles a day I saw my fuel economy drop as well. Went from 23 to 17MPG and even as low as 14MPG.
Now I work from home and try to plan my commutes to be longer.

I understand the short trips would lower milage but such was never a problem with my 15 year old 4 Runners which took the same trips. Also my trips were mingled with highway rides as well. Bottom line, 9 to 12 MPG are just shockingly low. BTW, I do warm up before running the car, again I just find the low MPG shocking.

BDC 04-03-2015 08:44 PM

Robert is right on the money. I'm willing to bet that you had just overlooked the mileage in the runner and that you were actually getting worse mileage in that car.

Warming up will actually reduce your mileage because you're burning gas to warm up the car and getting no useful work out of that gas. Probably also contributing to your problem.

SUV + short trips + lots of idling = shockingly low MPG indeed. It's a familiar story.

RobertV 04-03-2015 09:08 PM

Yeah... running the car and not moving (warming up the engine) is wasting fuel. 0 MPG isn't helping your fuel economy at all.
Vehicles nowadays don't need to be 'warmed up'. Computer operated vehicles have sensors and can adjust to outside and internal temp variations. Doesn't mean you'll get the best MPG on a cold start, but sitting in your driveway waiting for it to warm up isn't the way to go about doing it.

I challenge you to skip the long idles/warm up, and try and take longer trips. Regardless if they are city or highway driving. I'm willing to bet your mileage shows drastic improvement.

trollbait 04-03-2015 09:27 PM

Yep, short trips like that will kill fuel economy. A short trip to the store in the Sonic will be lucky to hit the mid 20's mpg. While I get the mid 30's in winter on my mile 30 mile commute.

If your trips remain so short in the future, I'd recommend an electric for your next car. They don't have such an issue with warm up times and short trips.

raybliu 04-04-2015 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RobertV (Post 182679)
Yeah... running the car and not moving (warming up the engine) is wasting fuel. 0 MPG isn't helping your fuel economy at all.
Vehicles nowadays don't need to be 'warmed up'. Computer operated vehicles have sensors and can adjust to outside and internal temp variations. Doesn't mean you'll get the best MPG on a cold start, but sitting in your driveway waiting for it to warm up isn't the way to go about doing it.

I challenge you to skip the long idles/warm up, and try and take longer trips. Regardless if they are city or highway driving. I'm willing to bet your mileage shows drastic improvement.

OK, the NY weather is warming up so I'll see if it improves in coming weeks. Today I took a 20 mile trip and the average went up to 14, which is the best it has performed. Nevertheless it is still an atrociously low number. Thanks for your input. Really appreciate it.

Charon 04-04-2015 08:20 AM

When I drive the school buses in cool/cold weather I usually let them idle for a while, a half-hour or so. That isn't because the engine needs it, but it helps get a little warmth into the bus. Until the engine coolant warms up, the passenger compartment heaters do not work. Being diesels, they are quite slow to get warm unless under some load, even when prewarmed by their block heaters.

OliverGT 04-09-2015 11:26 PM

Hi,

Short trips and warming the car up before driving will make a big impact on MPG.

As others have mentioned, start tracking your fuel usage here on Fuelly, It's one thing to keep looking at the guage in the car, but they are not always accurate. All you need to track is the miles traveled and the fuel used.

The image you posted is for average fuel usage, does the car have an instantaneious readout, to show you what you are using as you dirve? This is the best way to understand what works for your car.

On what you have said so far, to improve your MPG I would:

1. Stop warming up the car, this is not necessary, just start and drive gently till the engine is warm.
2. Start trackng your fuel used using Fuelly, or any other app, piece of paper, or whatever works for you. You just need to get a baseline, rather than the display in the car. So next time you fill up, note the Mileage and how many litres/gallons you put in and then on the next fill up you can start working out your true MPG.
3. Have a read of my previous questions and post the answers, the more information we have the more we can help.
4. Please ask more questions. We are here to help....

Oliver.

raybliu 04-10-2015 05:37 AM

I have stopped warming the car but too soon to tell the difference,

I'm not much with tech stuff. I'll try to download the fuelly app. Will definitely start tracking my milage with next fill up.

I believe my car has instant fuel average reading as the number changes constantly with driving condition. Last Sunday I took a 50 mile trip and the average for the entire mile actually went to near mid 20's but it has since dropped back to low teens the last few days with city traffic.

Also while I have not tracked the exact amount each trip, in the 1200 miles I have had with this car, I've filled up 6 times, each between 12 to 15 gallons. This means the average is closer to 15 to 16 than my car's reading. So it seems as you all have been saying, the computer reading is inaccurate and my car is actually performing better than I may have thought,

I have also replaced both of rear tires as one of them had a bad gouge which has developed a slow leak, Hopefully this will help a little as well. I'll keep a closer look at this the next couple of months and see how this goes. Thank you all for sharing your experience.

muslis 05-22-2015 01:55 AM

I had 2.0 petrol Opel omega.. in winter (snow -15*c to -24*c) my average fuel consumption was about 16-18 L/100km (13.8mpg). i was traveling 2 - 4 km/day, so i imagine v6 having 10mpg is prefectly normal..

raybliu 06-10-2015 10:40 AM

Update from my previous posts.
I have been tracking fuel usage on my 2012 Toyota Highlander for the last two months. Here are some observations
- The car's computer readings seem fairly accurate, pretty much correspond with the averages I have been tracking.
- Idling clearly lowers gas milage .
- Current warmer season does not appear to drastically improve gas mailage.
- As most of my driving is in city traffic, it's been averaging less than 14 mpg with some short highway.
- It's averaging below 12 when it's all city driving.
- The car clearly has duel personality. In between fill up recently when I was able to open up the engine on highway, it was averaging just below 18mpg. The computer read out was 25mpg for the entire time I was on highway.
Very disappointed with my car's mpg performance. It seems from reading other users' experiences that is how it is with stop and go traffic. This average also seems not too far off my previous 4-Runner's performance level.
Fortunately I don't need to drive long distance so I can live with this for now.
Thank you for everyone's input.

Draigflag 06-10-2015 11:48 AM

This might seem an obvious choice, but is there a reason you need such a large vehicle with a massive engine that seems to have a thirst for fuel? If you don't drive that far, and do mostly city driving, perhaps a smaller more efficient compact car would make sense, save fuel and money too?

trollbait 06-10-2015 12:43 PM

Considering it is such a short commute, and if it can be done on roads with speed limits of 35mph or less, I'd look into a neighborhood electric vehicle(NEV) like the GEM. GEM Car Official Website - Electric cars | Polaris

Yes, it is souped up golf cart, and the doors are extra, but it doesn't need gas. Other cheap to run options are scooters(electric or gas) and electric bikes. If you must have AC, got a little bit of cash, and are willing to have it shipped from California, used Leafs are cheap there; in the $10k to $11k range. It's because residents can get a new one for nearly that price with the federal, state, and local incentives.

That said, the fuel economy isn't that bad for a Highlander. https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/31994.shtml Less than 12mpg is a noticable step below the 17mpg city, but the city test cycle is easier on the car. The test's acceleration rates are slower than what is seen in normal traffic, and the length is 11 miles. That is long enough for the engine to warm up. A 3 mile commute is just long enough for the engine and coolant to get up to operating temp. A hybrid and small block diesel would also be returning lower than rated numbers under such conditions.

So, considering the daily drive, the fuel use isn't horrible. Total fuel and cost will be low with the low miles. If the size and AWD are needed, just keep it. Be sure to take the Highlander out on some longer trips that let it fully warm up to boil off any water that has worked its way into the oil. I would also recommend hooking to battery up to a charger every two to four weeks. It likely isn't getting fully charged on the short trips. Perodic charging should extend its life, but isn't necessary.

raybliu 06-10-2015 07:03 PM

I've been driving SUVs for the past 25 years so I'm quite used to low MPG. Since I have not planned on moving any time soon, I will be stuck with the short commute for the time being.


I suppose my disappointment came more from over expectation than the car's under performance. Also as I noted, in retrospect its performance is probably not any worse than my last car 4 Runner. When on highway, it is definitely way better than the 4 R ever did. I like driving at the higher speed on highways. It's almost fun! So I think I might actually be warming up to this car(no pun intended!)


Now that I know what to expect, I'll have to get used to it. I don't really drive enough to cause serious hurt in my wallet. Thanks for everyone's input.

Draigflag 06-10-2015 11:05 PM

I guess it's fortunate you have cheap fuel and do limited mileage, I just worked out if I was running your car here, my fuel bill would be $8500 a year! ;)

raybliu 06-11-2015 08:51 AM

Gas is not exactly cheap around NYC area by US standards. It's been averaging around $3 to 3.35 for 87 test. I'm fortunately to not have to drive much so I can keep my fuel expense low. I do use my car off road occasionally which makes the 4WD a necessity.. It's one of the reasons I drive SUV. I had thought about buying a small car and keeping my 4 Runner but again with only 5000 to 6000 miles a year it was hard to justify keeping two cars!


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