I’ve always been bad at tracking maintenance for my vehicles. Also never had a really clear picture of fuel efficiency on a regular basis. But when I got my 4Runner 3 years ago I was determined to change my ways. The method I set on eventually is the Fuelly Mileage Tracking mobile app for iOS.
Fuelly has an online community with a forum and data where you can compare your vehicle’s fuel efficiency to others. Honestly, I haven’t really explored the website at all. But I do use the app to track MPGs and maintenance.
Why Track Fuel Efficiency
So every time I fill up the tank on the 4Runner I log the odometer, volume, price and location. It takes less than a minute, and I always have my iPhone so it’s not really a burden. Sure it takes time and there have been instances where someone honked at me to GTF out of the gas lane, but that doesn’t bother me much.
My reasoning for doing this is to know if/when something goes wrong and mileage tanks. And to validate any maintenance I may do. For example, I started using LucasOil fuel additive and recorded a quantitative improvement in mileage, while qualitatively noticing performance improvements. So there you go.
I also have a good sense for how far I can go on one tank of fuel and how my mileage changes when overlanding on dirt roads in 4×4 at lower speeds. For example, on our Death Valley trip, I got 19 MPG going down there on pavement, and then 13 MPG on the trail. So I can fairly confidently calculate how far I can get without having to fill up in an overlanding situation.
Maintenance and Reminders
So you need to change your oil on regular intervals, but many other things need to be done regularly for best safety, performance and longevity. I track any maintenance I do on the 4Runner. Additionally for certain things like oil and filters, tire rotation, timing belt change, brake inspections, tires, and suspension components (lower ball joints…) I also use the reminders.
In Fuelly, the reminders will alert you when you hit the mileage for certain services. This is really good because certain things, like timing belts, brakes and lower ball joints, you just don’t want to fail.