How to Make a Toyota RAV4 More Fuel Efficient With Less Drag

Written by arthur barnhouse
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Since its introduction, the Toyota RAV4 has consistently managed to achieve respectable fuel efficiency. In fact, since 1996, every RAV4 has produced highway MPGs in the mid-to-high 20s, with a few even breaking the 30 MPG mark. Even though your RAV4 gets better gas mileage than most SUVs, you shouldn't feel as if you need to settle. In fact, you can make it even more fuel efficient by increasing the RAV4's aerodynamics, thus decreasing its drag.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Stop using the roof rack. Piling anything on the exterior of the RAV4 will add weight and increase air resistance. This, in turn, could reduce the Toyota's fuel efficiency by as much as 5 per cent, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

  2. 2

    Turn on the RAV4's air conditioner on hot days and when travelling above 35mph. Driving at higher speeds with the windows rolled down will increase drag. However, try using the air conditioner sparingly, as splurging on the AC will also decrease gas mileage.

  3. 3

    Check with a local tire dealer and see if you purchase tires that are narrower than the tires that are currently installed on your RAV4. Wide tires increase air resistance/drag. Installing narrow tires should improve gas mileage, not only because they allow for less drag, but also because they tend to be lighter.

  4. 4

    Inspect the front grille area of your RAV4. If there is any damage to the air dam or the air dam is missing entirely, the vehicle's aerodynamics will be compromised. Have the air dam repaired or replaced to decrease drag and increase gas mileage.

  5. 5

    Purchase and install smooth wheels. These wheels will have a disclike appearance when installed and appear as if they are nearly flush with the tire. Open-style wheels, such as those with multiple spokes or holes in their design, will lead to greater drag at higher speeds.

  6. 6

    Lower your RAV4. This may prove an expensive option, though it will help reduce drag. Lowering kits can be purchased which, when installed, will drop the height of the RAV4 and thus reduce its drag. Unless you're mechanically inclined, you will need a professional mechanic to install the lowering kit.

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