12 MPG very poor mileage

Asked by Sep 04, 2010 at 01:18 PM about the 2006 Chrysler Town & Country LX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I am having a very poor gas mileage. On highway it goes to over 19 MPG, and in the city it drops to 12 MPG. Air filter, tires pressure and spark plugs are ok. I need to check the fuel filter, but the reading is to low and I am wondering what else could be. O2 sensor? Catalytic Converter? I dont have any code, can they be bad if you dont get a check engine light? What else can cause so poor gas mileage?

Thanks for the responses

32 Answers

735

I would definitely change the fuel filter. And it could be those other things you listed - O2 sensors or the cat. Dragging brakes can be a possible issue, as well as a bad reading throttle position sensor (can be tested with a multimeter easily). Do you have excessive weight in your van? That could explain the difference between highway mpg being good while the city mpg is not due to acceleration. A leaking fuel injector(s) could be a problem, or bad fuel pressure regulator. It could be a lot of things, but I wouldn't think you would need to worry about damage happening. If the O2 sensors or Cat converter gets really bad, you will get a check engine light, but they could still be 'bad' without it triggering the light as well. Wheel bearings can even reduce mpg by increasing roll resistance. You can test this a bit with a coast test, put the car in neutral and if it slows down quicker than you expect then it could be sticky calipers and/or bad wheel bearings.

13 people found this helpful.
50

I'm having the same problem with my 2010 T&C Touring. 13,5 MPG!!! Did you find out what was the problem? (No visual leak, no weight..)

5 people found this helpful.

Some o b d codes are whats called pending codes where the sensor is not having an all the time problem so it doesn't set the service or check engine light a restricted,or plugged catylist, o2 sensor can cause these issues. Scan twice fix once,

2 people found this helpful.
110

I'm having the same gas mileage issues with my 2012 Chrysler Town&Country i just bought, only get 12.9 MPG in town. I fill up and i'm well off of the full mark with in 30 miles of leaving the gas pump, i so have a severe foul smell of rotten eggs from the rear tail pipe. leads me to think the cat. is faulty. I've got no check engine lights, no roll resistence, i'm super upset here, my 07 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT w/ the 3.8L V-6 could go an easy 80 miles plus before it even thought about leaving the full mark after filling it up.

10 people found this helpful.

Check the fuel pressure regulator

6 people found this helpful.
110

I'm going to take it back to the Chrysler Dealer in the spring once weather breaks here, that is if the cost of gas don't break me first. It's under warranty.

1 people found this helpful.
735

Raymond, it sounds likely it is your catalytic converter. However, never overlook the fuel system (overfueling/running rich causes sulphur smell) or the air filter, if that is clogged it can also cause low power and sulphur/egg smell.

3 people found this helpful.
240

I just replaced the MAP sensor on mine and my gas mileage jumped back up to 18 in the city. The MAP sensor is very easy to replace and only costs $24.99 at autozone.

24 people found this helpful.
270

Kelley...how did you narrow the problem to MAP sensor? Thanks

27 people found this helpful.
110

I HAD the same problems, low MPG and wearing out brakes, tires etc. I turned off the ESP and guess what? Every problem solved. I get between 5 to 7 MPG more. I actually got up to 18 MPG in town and 27+ hwy (driving easy) but before about 10 to 12 city and a max of 18 hwy. It seems the junk keeps breaking wheels to keep you going straight etc and that is the problem. I do not want to pay for gas and have my 2008 T&C breaking nonstop.

6 people found this helpful.
735

SailingMD123, it sounds like the ESP is may not actually the problem here -- If the wheel speed sensors are reading different speeds (from different sized tires, or different brand tires since "sizing" is brand- specific and one 215/60/16 tire is slightly differently sized than the other brand of the same size spec) then the ESP will try to correct what it thinks is a lack of traction on any one wheel - usually by apply brakes.

3 people found this helpful.
110

Are you kidding? I said nothing about tires BUT I did buy new tires and yes, they are the right size all the way around. I also did the trans fluid and filters, syn oil change and the 100,000 mile new plugs, etc since we bought this about 6 months ago. It is in top notch order yet I only got about 10 MPG city and a max of 17 hwy UNTIL I simply turned off the stinking ESP. Poof, 27+ hwy and 17+ city. Saving brakes, tires and my engine too... and I live in Southern CA so no snow or even rain here. Sadly I have to turn it off every time I start the van but hey, look at the money I save now.

3 people found this helpful.
110

PS: But thanks for the information as that is important too but just not my problem. I find it very odd that over and over I read about people trying to defend ESP and everyone else saying the same thing, wearing out brakes, tires and gas money over and over. Hummm, somehting is up there.

1 people found this helpful.

i dont know if this post is still going but im totally confused about a few things. I have a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan and it is getting horrible gas mileage. i mean terrible bad. I only bought it 10 months ago and tried to tell the dealership about it but i dont think they really cared. since then I've gotten a fuel injection cleaning done and i've bought gas treatments. Nothing really works. im getting 9-12mpg city/15-17 hwy. I see all the posts about an ESP button but I dont know what that is or where it is. Im desperate to get better gas mileage.. if not im going to have to sell the van. Also someone mentioned synthetic oil but my 2013 takes a regular oil.. not synthetic. Any advice anyone?

735

wpalos498 Try bringing it to a local technical or community college with an Automotive Service program there. The labor is free, you usually pay a small shop fee and discounted prices on replacement parts you may need. They will hook up an ODB scanner to your car and look at your fuel pressure and fuel trims (long-term & short-term trims) as well as many other things like look for dragging brakes, bad wheel bearings, bad or underinflated tires, clogged fuel filter(s), clogged air filter, leaks in a fuel line or fuel tank hose. They will test your catalytic converter with a 5-gas analyzer to make sure it's working and do a backpressure test to ensure the exhaust is not being restricted. They will also do direct data reads of your oxygen sensors. Definitely try to get it into a school shop if you can.

4 people found this helpful.
30

wpalos498 The ESP button is on our T & C and perhaps not on your 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan or named something else if it is. You can Google the button and what it does but basically it seems to brake your tires 1, 2, 3 or all 4 at a time to keep you going in the direction your going like straight even when braking or cornering etc. That can wear out tires and brakes mostly whch seems to be a big complaint with our T & Cs. The bod ESP gas mileage is another factor too. I just turn mine off and poof, I get great millage (almost 10 MPG more in city and Hwy.)

3 people found this helpful.
20

I bought a 2013 T&C back in October. The dealer said to keep the ESP button for better gas milage and at the time we lived in a highway rich area, so we were getting 17.5 and thought that was great. We recently, last month, moved to a more rural area where there's no need to drive the highway and our mpg dropped big time to 9.5-12. I turned off the esp and it went up to 17.8. My advice is that if you have a esp button (or economy/econ as mine is called), turn it off. It supposedly "shortens your shift times, saving your gas and transmission" but all it did is make the can speed sluggish and cost me tons of gas money

2 people found this helpful.
10

I tried turning off my ESP and WOW , mileage went up, nothing magic about it, I travel the same roads at about the same speeds, generally with the cruise on! I also noticed the van is not down shifting nearly as much as it did prior to turning ESP off ! Been a mechanic for over 30 years and this really does help a lot ! Plus it costs NOTHING To try it !

1 people found this helpful.
110

Hey Skip. 1. I am happy you tried my advice and it increased your gas mileage A LOT but it also will save your brakes and tires because it breaks 1 or more tires at a time to keep the van running in whatever direction it is going in, straight or around a corner. That is why a lot of people complain that they go through tires and brakes a lot. 2. Since you have been a mechanic for over 30 years I am sure you will not mind reimbursing me some of the money they have gotten out of me over the years ie: $150 to diagnose a problem when I already knew what it was and then wanting to replace the wrong part (and that is just the dealership)... How about $135,000 and we call it even :-) Best of all, you will be able to use this information in your business and even write a book to sell to other mechanics and the general public and then there is the videos and radio interviews etc etc etc making the really big bucks! Best of luck to you and I am happy to help. I figured this all out via reading the manual cover to cover and everything else on the Internet before buying my great 2008 T&C (which has the highest safety record of all of them and that is why I bought it). We have a daughter and I wanted her to be safe and guess what, we have had 2 rear enders both while sitting with our brakes on (1 me and 1 my wife). The fore and aft cameras made them an open and shut case with ease and no one got hurt but hey, we have the safest T&C we could find!

1 people found this helpful.
10

Lololol.... Great post sailingmd123... Guess I will try turning my ESP off...also terrible mileage...will start with that, and then move onto other fixes... Thanks, guys!!!

1 people found this helpful.
30

You are welcome. Now save gas, brakes and tires. OH, we do leave ESP on when it is raining (or on snow where you live)... just in case...

10

Sadly...my van is a '97...don't see the ESP???

10

2010 Grand Caravan SE 19-20 mpg on the open road; dismal in town. Turned off the ESP and no change. Will have a go at the MAP sensor next. After that it is off to the local Tech. College. Thanks for reminding me of that option, Jesse. I have used it before, but forgot about it.

1 people found this helpful.
110

You are very welcome 101

10

Sad day in Dodge City. I called the local tech school, TCAT, and who ever answered the phone said they did not have the equipment to run a diagnostic. I think he was a student who answered the phone and felt lazy or the school is really bad? Sent an email to the teacher and got no response. Sigh. So today I went to the local "shop" who ran a diagnostic for me and said that the temperature sensor was OK, but had registered a "pre-code" and could be failing. Guess I'll throw money at that one. Spraying the MAP sensor with CRC did not help and it looked pretty clean any way. I am due for plugs and wires. Thought I would try ohming out the wires, rather than just throwing cash at them. I'm hoping I do not have to remove the engine, to get the back plugs out. One interesting observation: While climbing a 1-2% grade, with a steady throttle setting, I had several 1 second decreases in engine rpm, by maybe 50-80, with a noticeable decrease in velocity. We shall see.

110

101, My mech changed all of my plugs without pulling the engine. He used the right tool for the job. Find a mech like that. Just ask them if they can do it...

10

Sailingmd123, Sorry, I was just being a smar. ... On my 2000 Grand Caravan, I had to lift the car to get to the rear plugs from underneath. It was easy to change the plugs on this one. Have yet to drive it, but it did start! 8-) Had a passerby ask me if I was hugging my car, as I was leaned over the engine. Plugs were burned enough to change out, but all were clean. Impedance was around 4500 on all spark wires and it never misses anyway. In that the diagnostic was almost pointless, I am a little chagrined by "where to from here"? I am not so keen on throwing money at the problem, without a target. Will check the local high school automotive program.

110

On the other hand, if it ain't broke,,,

10

I tend to think of 19 mpg on the interstate as "broke". This thing should get at least 27 mpg and in my last one, a 2008 (same body) I could get 30 mpg without using cruise control. Both run 3.3L engines. At that rate it is costing me an additional $3.25/100 miles, at $2.50/gal. Figuring a 20,000 mile year, that looks a little like $650/yr. I guess this means that I can afford to spend up to $650 in a year, to break-even on my fuel cost? Hmmmmm. So much to ponder. Thank you for your interest.

110

101, That's kind of funny because if you read the first post it looks the same: "On highway it goes to over 19 MPG, and in the city it drops to 12 MPG." My answer was to turn off the ESP button (saves tires and brakes while increasing mileage): "I get between 5 to 7 MPG more. I actually got up to 18 MPG in town and 27+ hwy (driving easy) but before about 10 to 12 city and a max of 18 hwy." Leep working the problem. You will figure it out but make sure that others get better mileage (in your year T&C because electronics change)... Best of luck to you!

10

Hi Sailing, I think you may have confused my post with that of Miletius in 2010. No matter. I swapped out the O2 sensors and now get 23-25 mpg on the Interstate and about 20 in town. Worth the investment I suppose. I thought I might never get them out, but after warming up the exhaust system, I held ice cubes to the sensors and they came out rather easily. Total cost about $62 and free use of the socket from AutoZone.

110

Hey there 101, Great information for all of us. Thanks!

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