Last post on Aug 10, 2009 at 4:17 PM
You are in the Honda Element
What is this discussion about?
Honda Element, Fuel Efficiency (MPG), SUV
#68 of 117 New Element EX AWD
Jul 24, 2008 (10:46 am)
I've been reading through all the posts here, I have to say I am cautiously optimistic about the fuel economy on my Element. Just made the deal today, picking it tomorrow.
I will be tracking my fuel from the first tank, and I will post here frequently. My plans:
Immediately: K&N air filter; drive with "slow & steady wins the race" style; use Sunoco fuel, 87 octane; minimal AC usage.
Future: Switch to Castrol Syntec oil.
I've heard that the combination of using synthetic oil and the K&N filter will consistently yield about 10% better mileage. Remains to be seen, but that is my plan.
The only catch is, Honda recommends NOT using synthetic oil until the car hits 10K miles, at the earliest. I will hit that mark in about 5 months (I drive a lot..).
Any other thoughts or recommendations on when to begin using synthetic oil?
#69 of 117 Re: New Element EX AWD [ccirelli]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Jul 24, 2008 (10:55 am)
I bet the aftermarket filter won't help any either, but you'll never know unless you run an OEM one for a while and switch them back and forth over a few thousand miles test period each. Ditto on synthetic; probably not a measurable difference on mpg.
Edmunds didn't find any measurable difference in mpg testing AC vs no AC. They didn't test driving with no AC and the windows up though. More here:
We Test the Tips
We Test the Tips Part II
Aggressive driving seems to be the real gas mileage killer.
#70 of 117 Re: New Element EX AWD [steve_]
Jul 24, 2008 (7:46 pm)
Thanks for the info & links, makes sense. I will take your suggestion and run the oem air filter through the first 10K miles, and switch to synthetic oil and the k&n together. I'm not approaching it very scientifically, but I will have a good base to compare against as you suggest.
One thing I have noticed in my Civic is a solid 10% increase in mpg when I use Sunoco fuel. I've compared it against Sheetz, Citgo, and a few others. Again nothing scientific - but it happens consistently enough to keep me going back Sunoco.
#71 of 117 Re: New Element EX AWD [ccirelli]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Jul 24, 2008 (9:52 pm)
The gas stations that are hurting your mileage may be using an 5-10% ethanol blend. E10 is pretty common and is required in some states (if it's required where you are, then the Sunoco probably has ethanol too). I don't think most people experience that big a mpg hit though.
Is there a difference in mileage when using 10% ethanol vs. regular gasoline?
Sunoco is a Top Tier, but some say that's just a marketing designation.
Please report back as you enjoy your new ride!
#72 of 117 Re: New Element EX AWD [steve_]
Jul 25, 2008 (6:56 am)
Interesting - I learned years ago that Ethanol is added between October and April (at least in NJ / NY / PA, afaik). I always made the correlation between poorer mileage in winter to that - simply because there is a distinct and sharp decrease like clockwork, every October.
For example in my Civic, between April and October I would average 36mpg. Once October hits, I'm lucky if I get 32 or 33. And it's not a sharp drop in temperature, because literally one week it's high and the next week it drops... even if it's in the 50's... until mid-April again.
So whether my theory is accurate or not, I'm not sure. But I've always heard that Ethanol is widely known to cost us about 10% in fuel economy.
Picking up my Element TODAY.
Hey, should I pick up one of these Scan Guage devices? Thinking about it, wondering if it will pay for itself over time.
#73 of 117 Is there really a "break in" period cars today?...
Jul 27, 2008 (7:44 am)
I suspect not. Breaking in a car engine sounds so...'60s. The only caution I have seen about new car engines in the last ten or twenty years is not to make fast starts for the first several hundred miles of so. Engine tolerances have been improved, which supposedly nullify break in periods. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this.)
See the NY Times article of 26 Jul 08 page B1 "Ethanol Stirs Up A Mutiny" on the effect of mpg. I noticed on a recent drive through South Dakota that mpg dropped off on a clocked tank full of "corn pone." (My moniker for ethanol.)
#74 of 117 Re: Is there really a "break in" period cars today?... [0311vn]
Jul 28, 2008 (6:46 am)
My advice on this, based on what I've heard over the last two years (and also going through this with an 07 Civic, and now an 08 Element):
- Stay below 55 mph for the first 600 miles
- If you go on a long trip (two hours or more), try to vary your RPM's now and then (e.g., don't go 60 mph for an hours straight
- Do your first oil change between 1500 and 2000 miles
- Use common sense and drive it "slow & steady" for the first 1500 to 2000 miles
Again, this is what I do, not stating anything as fact - just my opinion(s).
#75 of 117 What does Honda recommended for new engines?...
Jul 28, 2008 (7:10 am)
Other than a early oil change does Honda list a so-called "break in" period for its cars?
#76 of 117 Re: What does Honda recommended for new engines?... [0311vn]
Jul 28, 2008 (7:24 am)
Depends who you talk to (not sure about "listing"), but most salespersons will tell you "naa, you're fine don't worry, just drive..", but most techs will reiterate what I mentioned in my previous post. I'll go with the techs, personally..
I should mention that my salesperson was also in agreement with his techs as well, but again others will tell you differently.
#77 of 117 Re: What does Honda recommended for new engines?... [ccirelli]
Jul 31, 2008 (10:08 am)
I think you have to be more careful breaking in a stick shift. You need to be careful not to lug the engine (let the rpm sink low then use a lot of throttle with resulting pinging) or keep it at high rpm for extended periods (like driving 2nd on city streets or forgetting to upshift to 5th on the freeway). With an automatic all you need to remember are (i) no lead foot until warmed up and (ii) limit your lead foot to 3/4 of the throttle for the first 1000 miles.