5 tips for improving your fuel economy!

Fedex truck on Dyno

Tips for Improving Fuel Economy:

1. Tires. Monitor your tire pressure every chance you get, otherwise you’re throwing money out the window. Look for low rolling resistance tires next time you shop for tires. The fuel savings over the life of the low rolling resistance tires can completely pay for your next set of tires!

2. Engine. Instead of running your AC, pack a change of clothes to be able to stay comfortable or use the AC in intervals. A small 12V fan can keep you cool and won’t affect your fuel economy as much as turning on the AC system. Got a lead foot? Accelerate slowly to your desired speed and over time you will notice the savings.

3. Oil. Make the switch to synthetic oil, while synthetic oil might add to the cost of your oil change, it can offer extended oil change intervals when paired with a quality oil filter. Not to mention improved wear reduction over conventional oil, which will extend engine life and improve fuel economy. FR3 friction reducer can be used with synthetic and conventional oil, and will help maximize your fuel economy.

4. Fuel. When looking for fuel, busy or newly built fuel stations are your best bet. Stations that move fuel quickly will typically offer better quality fuel that has not been sitting long as well as storing the fuel in a cleaner underground fuel tank. Most chains of fuel stations offer fleet or customer rewards to help save a few cents per gallon. Another option is using a phone application such as GasBuddy, where users report fuel prices; check your route ahead of time and aim for the good prices. Trucks older than the EPA’s ULSD mandate (made before 2007) will greatly appreciate our EDT since it provides the lubricity that their fuel system was designed to run on. A quick dose of Diesel Extreme once every 6k miles/6 months will help keep your fuel system and engine running smoothly for thousands of miles!

5. Aerodynamics. Jodi Presswood, Vice President and General Manager of Navistar, told Fleet Equipment magazine that “at 55 MPH, aerodynamic drag accounts for about 50% of fuel consumed”. While the big brush guards, hood deflectors and taller exhaust stacks might look cool, you are still paying for them every time you drive your truck. Body-integrated antennas, elliptical shaped mirrors, lower front air dams, and trailer skirts can pay for themselves faster than you think!

Ford Tech Makuloco

Ford Tech Makuloco Talks Powerstroke Engines

Ford Tech
We asked Ford Tech Makuloco about Powerstrokes, here’s what he said. He is the go to source for all Ford questions and problems, make sure to check out his YouTube channel and subscribe for new videos!

When I started working with Ford in 2005 I came at a prime time when the 7.3L Powerstroke was still coming in for warranty work and the problematic 6.0L was just getting started. I was with Ford all the way through to the current 6.7L Scorpion engine. Each version of the Powerstroke through the years has had their fair share of problems. This was multiplied as the fuel injection system tolerances and injection process became much more precise in order to meet strict new emission standards.

Let’s start off with the 7.3L Powerstroke, Ford’s most reliable diesel. There were only a few common issues with this engine and it almost always had to do with the engine oil or the glow plug system. I knew if a truck was coming in for a driveability or a cold starting concern it was likely due to injector stiction issues. Stiction is where the poppet valve inside the Hydraulically Actuated Electronic Unit Injector (HEUI) sticks. This valve must move from an open to closed position very fast to match the fuel timing. When it sticks in the bore, the Injector Driver Module has a hard time controlling exactly when fuel is injected. This sticking can cause a no start or hard starting issue. The reason is that diesel fuel is compression ignited at the top of the compression stroke when the cylinder pressure and heat are the highest, causing the fuel to ignite and start the power stroke. If the fuel is not injected at this precise moment a misfire and power loss will occur. The 6.0L suffered from this power loss and having a HEUI injected engine compounded the issue. Normally to fix this issue a new injector was installed costing between $400-600 per cylinder. By using Hot Shot’s Secret Stiction Eliminator this can be resolved for the mere cost of the bottle. I have used this product throughout the years and I am amazed at the results every time. It is truly an amazing product that customers and fleet owners couldn’t be happier with.

When the 6.4L was introduced for the 2008 model year it came with a slew of new problems, brought on by all the components required to meet the strict new emissions requirements. These engines required the use of 15ppm Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and a special API CJ-4 engine oil to be compatible with the on-board Diesel Particulate Filter. The 6.4L now incorporated a common rail fuel system that was used for both Injection Control Pressure (ICP) and the fuel supply being injected into each cylinder. With this design lubrication of the High Pressure Pump was done solely by the fuel. This made lubricity a key factor which the new required ULSD fuel just didn’t provide. A small amount of water in these complex fuel injection systems could now destroy it, resulting in unbelievably large repair bills, requiring the replacement of the entire high pressure fuel system must be replaced. This failure happened so often Ford started producing a kit, with all the components needed to help expedite the repair process and that kit alone cost $4,100 plus labor. The high pressure fuel pumps also incorporated volume control valves and pressure control valves that were extremely sensitive to any debris in the fuel system. The fuel injectors are of a piezo actuated design which is a very precise fast acting design but is also extremely sensitive to fuel quality.

The 6.7L Scorpion engine was an all-new in-house Ford design in 2011, which has proven to be very reliable compared to previous generation Powerstroke engines. The fuel system components are even more precise, allowing for extremely high pressures and multiple injections per cycle making them quieter, more efficient and able to produce more power, all while reducing emissions levels to meet even tougher standards. Both the 6.4L and 6.7L stand to benefit the most from diesel lubricity additives and cleaners, which keep them in tip top condition for the best fuel economy and power. I recommend a combination cetane and lubricity additive be used at every fill up such as, Hot Shot’s Secret Everyday Diesel Treatment (EDT), it will compensate for the poor diesel fuel quality at the fuel pumps. EDT will help with more power, fewer emissions and less frequent regeneration of the Diesel Particulate Filter, and will lead to longer life and improved fuel economy. Diesel engines are the only powertrain I have ever seen Ford promote the use of additives for the fuel system, and I agree 100%, the alternative is just way too costly and not worth the risk. For more help with your Ford Powerstroke problems check out my YouTube channel where I have playlists made for each of the Powerstroke engines detailing common problems and how to fix them.

How to Get Out of Letting People Borrow your Truck

key tug of war
We’ve all probably been in this situation: a friend, family member, stranger (or worse; a coworker) is moving something and asks to borrow your truck. You’ll feel bad for not helping them out, but is it worth it? And what’s the best way to get out of handing the keys to the freeloader? We asked truck owners in the building and customers how they go about it.

For starters, most auto insurance policy applies to all drivers in your house: spouse, partner, roommates and relatives; people who might regularly borrow your truck. Say your buddy takes your truck and gets in an accident. Your liability insurance would pay to repair the other vehicle and any medical bills, up to your policy limits. The incident goes down as a liability claim against you and will, in most cases, cause your rate to go up. If your friend doesn’t have auto insurance then you might have to sue them for what your policy won’t cover, and the person your friend hit could come after you as well. Now you have a crashed truck and need to decide how you’ll pay to repair or replace it. Parking tickets and red light cameras will go to the owner of the vehicle and you’d have to ask them to pay for it.

If you trust the person, there’s a small checklist you can do to protect yourself before handing the keys over. Check your policy for the terms, conditions, and if they would be covered. Make sure your friend has a valid driver’s license and ask if they have car insurance. Check to make sure your registration and insurance information are in your glove box before they take off with it.

Saying no when someone asks to borrow your truck does not make you a bad person. You’re protecting yourself essentially. An eye opening experience is Ryan Holle. He was sentenced for life behind bars without a chance of parole because he lent his car to his friends. Then his friends drove down the road, robbed and killed someone. At the time of the murder, Ryan was home, sleeping. Luckily the Governor dropped his sentence to only 25 years back in 2015.

Here’s a list of ways to get out of lending your truck out:

  • “My truck’s too old, I don’t think it’s up for hauling anything right now”
  • “I already promised it to someone else, but here’s another guy who might have an available truck”
  • “You can rent a much larger, enclosed box truck for about $40. Home Depot has some $20 options”
  • “Last time I was carrying a lot it was making some strange noises, I need to get it looked at first”
  • “No.”
  • “It’s my only transportation, I can’t lend it out, sorry”
  • “Sure if I can use your car Saturday night”
  • “I’ll help haul but I don’t loan it out”
  • “My insurance doesn’t cover others driving it”

And for those of you reading this that might need to ask to borrow someone’s truck, remember these few key things: always wash the truck (gently, by hand to not cause damage), hose the bed out, top off the gas tank and clean out the interior to the way you got it. If the owner of the truck will let you use it but wants to drive it or tag along, you are responsible for his meals on the trip, gas and maybe a few bucks for his time, more than a few bucks if he’s lifting or moving stuff. Ask what to do in case of a flat, break down or accident beforehand. If you’re borrowing a trailer than cash is still welcome, the owner’s bearings and tires are being used, and they paid for the tags.

And if you leave a scratch, ding or it’s making a new noise, let the owner know.

Are You Killing Your Truck: Protect Your Investment

truck driving in storm
In life there are few things more expensive than buying a vehicle. Especially when we are talking about diesel trucks. Whether you want to hit 1 million miles or want to enjoy your pride and joy for years to come, here’s a few truck maintenance and protection pointers on how to get the most out of your moving investment:

Starting off on an easy one: let’s talk tires. Over inflated tires wear suspension components, don’t have maximum traction and wear quickly. Under inflated tires hurt MPG, require longer stopping distances from the brakes and also wear faster than properly inflated tires. Keep tires properly inflated and rotate them every time you get the oil changed. Proper rotation will keep you buying tires in a full set, rather than in pairs which can be discontinued over time as well as the fast that two pairs of tires bought at different times will have different tread depth than each other.

Here’s where a little work can protect your truck investment big time, without even turning a wrench. Park on a level surface and with a rag in hand and the engine cool, open the hood and remove the oil dipstick. Wipe it clean, put it back in and then pull it out again to check the level. Glance over the radiator overflow reservoir level and the brake cylinder reservoir. Check the power steering fluid level, look at hoses and belts for any signs of wear or cracking. Check the air filter while you’re in there. Start the car and after it warms up, check the transmission fluid level. That might take a minute or two and only needs to be done once a month depending on the age of the vehicle. A $4 fix you might spot could save you thousands down the road.

Getting started. Your truck has been sitting for a few hours, all the oil has drained down into the oil pan. When you start the truck the oil will start trying to flow to all the parts again, but you should keep engine rpm down to a minimum to prevent excessive wear. Start the car and find a station with a song you like, check your phone before moving, it’s up to you; let the engine run for about 30 seconds (or more depending on your truck and the temperature) before dropping it in gear and driving away. This is especially important when you factor in our heavy weight oil, and those of us with turbos especially need this added precaution.

Pay attention to how much weight you’re towing and familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual to ensure you are towing safely and efficiently. While the occasional hard acceleration won’t necessarily damage a maintained truck, last time we checked there weren’t any spots open in the Indy 500 for a truck so there’s no reason to do it every time you drive. A common occurrence that you can see in any parking lot is when an impatient driver reverses and with the car still rolling backwards, drops it into gear. Come to a complete stop when switching between gears and reverse, there are plenty of expensive, moving parts you could damage from this constant abuse.

Maintenance time. If you have a new truck, odds are you’ll need to stop by the dealership and have them complete some of the maintenance so your warranty stays valid. Diesels typically have a warranty longer than gasoline powered cars, but if you don’t stay ahead of the game at the beginning, after the warranty ends you could get stuck with some pricey bills. Stick to the owner’s manual, get recall work done promptly, and keep in mind that products and services that are less expensive than other products and services are that way for a reason.

The fun part. Nothing beats driving on a sunny day with the windows down, a goofy grin on your face and a shiny truck. An occasional wash and wax will ensure that your truck does not rust apart from the reliable drive train that you worked so hard to maintain over the years. Wash the exterior, in the wheel wells and underneath, even in winter; especially if your area salts the roads. A clean, shiny truck will up resale value should you ever want to part with your truck. Half the fun of hitting those high miles is knowing your truck looks like it has half of what is on its odometer.

trucker

Survival Guide for New Truck Drivers

truck driving
Congratulations on becoming a truck driver. It can be a rewarding career and with approximately 3.5 million truck drivers on the road in the US alone, trucking fits the bill for tons of people. Here’s a few tips from some of our truck drivers:

1. Stay on your dispatcher’s good side: Dispatchers control where and when you transport, being polite and patient with them will directly affect your miles and time, which is what goes into your paycheck. You wouldn’t be rude to your paycheck; would you? Get them to count on you, and you’ll count more miles.

2. Pack some food with you: Keeping some healthy snacks in the semi truck can offer quite a few perks. You won’t have to stop when you’re on the road and getting hungry, it can be less expensive and healthier than snagging fast food. Pack some sunflower seeds, fruit, veggies, water, a sandwich, granola bars or whatever else you like to snack on at home.

3. It never hurts to get out and look: Being thirty seconds late is much easier than telling your boss that you damaged his truck or trailer by damaging a client’s property. Believe it or not, the high schooler making minimum wage that’s trying to direct you probably shouldn’t be trusted. Getting out and checking before you back up will save you time, you can even hand the high schooler your paper work to give to a manager.

4. Know it’ll get better: As with any job, the more experience you have, the better the job will be. You’ll find ways to avoid getting stuck in traffic, learn better time management, find better parking spots, and hopefully keep generating more income. Practice parking earlier in the evening to get a spot, learn the busy hours of certain roadways and know when to avoid them, stay ahead of schedule and you’ll find yourself less stressed, happier and wealthier.

Honorable mention tips for new truck drivers:

  • Never tailgate another driver
  • Never 100% rely on a GPS
  • Watch closely for “no truck” signs when nearing your destination
  • If you can wait to pullover aim for an offramp where people will drive slower and be more alert
  • Don’t drive drowsy, intoxicated or distracted
  • Gloves; from loading, unloading and nice to have if your truck breaks down
  • Try not to rev up the motor before letting out the clutch to take off
  • Try to make visual inspections a habit; tires, leaks, damage etc.

4 Do’s and Don’ts for Long and Late Driving

night driving
We asked some professionals in the trucking industry for tips on how they stay awake on those long and late transports. Here’s what they said:

Do: Stop for a quick nap. Whether you sneak in a quick twenty minute snooze before hitting the road or pull over for an hour to count sheep, quick naps can give you enough rest to power through the next few hours.

Don’t: Fight the fatigue. The NTSB reports 20% of accidents are caused by fatigue. What you lose in time from napping you’ll make up for in safety.

Do: Have some caffeine. Go ahead and stop for a coffee or energy drink. Not only will the caffeine help boost you, but getting out of the truck to walk around the fuel station to shop and the increase in restroom stops will help keep you awake. Sip your drink slow to keep your energy constant.

Don’t: Have too much caffeine. Multiple coffees and energy drinks, especially when mixed with each other, will make you crash hard and fast. Don’t walk out of the station looking like you’re sponsored by Red Bull®.

Do: Pack some healthy snacks. The Vitamin C boost and citrus taste of an orange or tangerine is perfect. Peeling the skin off doubles as a little mental stimulation to keep your mind working. Sunflower seeds, berries, bananas, water and granola bars are easy to pack and will work too.

Don’t: Stop for junk food and fast food. Munching on candy might work short time, but it makes you a ticking, drowsy time bomb. Greasy, salty fast food and sugary sodas won’t help you stay awake while driving either. Stick to the healthy food, then when you safely reach your destination you can reward yourself with a nice burger.

Do: Crack a window or crank the AC. As you’ve probably figured out by now, the colder it is, the harder it is to fall asleep. Point the AC at your face or lower the driver’s window, the air on your face also helps keep you awake.

Don’t: Get comfy. Turn off cruise control, play with seat settings, put the radio on scan and try guessing the songs. Listening to music you can’t stand, or singing along with the music you love is a well-known trick. Tune in to a late night show, listen to an audio book, or call a friend on a hands free device if you know they’re up as well. The trick is to keep your mind working and alert.

At the end of the day, know your limits when driving long hours. No amount of time or money saved from over driving yourself is worth crashing or injuring yourself or others.

7 Tips for Hitting the (Off) Road

Offroad
Want to get off the pavement and see what your truck can do? Here’s 7 off road driving tips to get you off the road (and back on):

1) Plan on getting stuck: If you are going with some buddies and other trucks bring along a heavy duty tow strap, preferably with nylon loops, not hooks; although hooks will work in a bind. Be careful when towing to not wrap it around a suspension arm, axle or bumper. If going alone bring a winch rated for 1.5 times your trucks weight.

Don’t have a winch? No problem! Auto Fella has an in-depth article to help you decide on the best winch for your needs, check out the article at: Autofella.com

2) What to bring: Invest in some walkie talkies and help spot for your buddies for when you go off road. Having friends go is more fun and much more safe. We don’t want to sound like your mother but bring food, water, tools and blankets. Getting stuck or broken down can make you stay out much longer than you anticipated, especially if a tow truck can’t get out to you. Make sure your spare tire is ready to go, your phone is charged, and grab the shovel out of the garage.

3) Tire pressure: Lower tire pressure will increase traction in almost every off-road situation. It allows the tread to flex and mold around rocks and obstacles. Most guys will recommend 8psi lower than your usual setting. Just be careful not to lower it too much and top it off at a gas station or an in car compressor afterwards for the street.

4) Do your homework: Read your owner’s manual, most will have the fording depth of your 4WD vehicle. No shame in turning back if you can’t safely determine the depth of a stream or other body of water. Nobody wants a hydrolocked engine and no one wants to see a friend get hurt. Get familiar with warning lights, your 4WD system and other features you might need to know before going off road.

5) Know your limits: Know the underside of your truck. Just because your bumper is two feet off the ground, your differential might only be a foot off the ground. Get a mental image of these heights, eventually you’ll get a good sense of which ruts and rocks you can go over and which ones to avoid.

6) Position: Stay relaxed and in an upright position. Keep a loose grip on the steering wheel and keep your thumbs out of the center of the steering wheel to avoid injuring your thumb from kickback. Power steering can help against kick back when off-roading, but it’s a good method to use on the road in case of an accident as well. Remember to constantly look ahead and that braking off the road is nothing like it is on the road.

7) Watch your gas foot: The difference between getting stuck and smooth off-roading is determined by your right foot. Don’t rev the engine, don’t immediately try to power out if you get stuck, most people find that around 3k rpm allows a good amount of grip and power. If you get stuck don’t get frustrated. Break out that shovel, throw a floor mat under the tire, or have your spotting buddy yell directions. Go slow, and picture the line you will take to get over each obstacle.

scary fuel station

The scary truth about fuel stations

Scary fuel station

When you think of a fuel treatment from Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme probably comes to mind first. Diesel Extreme provides the deepest clean of the fuel system an additive can provide. It’s so concentrated in fact, that it’s recommended you only use it twice a year, or every 6 months. So what do you use in-between to combat Ultra-Low Sulfur Fuel and inconsistencies in diesel fuel? At Hot Shot’s Secret we saw the problem and used it to create Everyday Diesel Treatment or EDT. EDT is designed to be used each time you fill your tank.

Ultra-Low Sulfur Fuel is extremely dry with hardly any lubricating agents, which can damage your engine. EDT provides the lubricating agents to make dry ULSF safe for your engine. Another problem EDT combats with today’s fuels are the inconsistencies in fuel quality from fuel station to fuel station, the reason for the inconsistencies is that the specs for diesel fuel are far wider than the specs for gasoline. Bacteria, water, dirt and even algae can be waiting in gas station tanks, and you won’t know until you drive away with it in your truck. EDT has chemical agents to balance out the inconsistencies in today’s fuel to make every fill-up a premium fill-up!

Last year in Texas, a fuel station sold diesel fuel that contained excessive moisture. Two of the unlucky customers were left with repair bills and costs between $4,500 and $6,800. Even after contacting the company, the owners were left to pay for the repairs out of pocket, according to ABC News. A 16oz bottle of EDT can protect 400 gallons of fuel, and thanks to the increase in fuel economy it completely pays for itself. Now that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Add to Cart 16oz EDT – $15.95