Summer heat is a blessing and a curse. The heat allows our Prius a fast warm-up time and peak fuel econ, to a point. What if there is too much heat? What does that cause, and how would someone know it?
I want to give you three tips for summer driving and how you can maximize your MPG. They may seem like common sense things, but sometimes we all need that help.
Tip 1: Park In The Shade
One of the ways we drain energy from our Prius is by using the A/C on full. Getting into a hot car and maxing out the cold will help drain the hybrid battery quicker. The faster it gets low, the sooner the engine kicks on, which means gasoline is burning.
Shade parking has more benefits than that, though. Keeping blinding light off your paint and will be less subject to fading. Plastics loathe direct sunlight and if you care, keep them covered up as much as possible.
Tip 2: Plan Your Day
Sometimes we cannot avoid driving in the heat, but if you can, you should. Driving in excess heat adds more warmth to an already hot engine and drivetrain.
Early morning or evening drives where the sun is not barreling down on your car will help you have a more pleasant drive and keep unnecessary heat out of the engine and the cabin. More heat means more cooling is required to keep it in optimal operating condition.
Tip 3: Tire Inflation
This tip goes without saying, keep your tires properly inflated. Trusting your MPG to a tire light is not a good idea. When your tire light comes on (usually when the colder weather hits), your Prius is dragging the tires around.
I always keep a digital tire pressure gauge in my car and check them at least once a month. My preferred inflation is 40psi cold (but I recommend you be very aware of how this will change the car’s handling).
I know how my car handles and drives with 40 psi, no offense, but most people do not. Tire pressure is a massive help to those who check it often, and it will help yield a couple more miles on that MPG average.
Keep your car as cool as you can, make sure you travel at the most excellent parts of the day (opposite in the winter, of course), and keep your tires inflated properly.
Those tips are part of your best summer MPG. I hope you can beat the heat for the next couple of months. Remember Today’s Adventure is Tomorrow’s Story.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter’s stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.