Improve Your Capri's Fuel Efficiency

While the costs at the pumps are low now they are predicted to go higher in the near future, you can get the best mileage possible from your Capri by keeping it in top shape and using some easy energy-saving ideas.

Sometimes the simplest things can make a difference. It's important for Capri's to be maintained properly so that they run efficiently, especially at times like now when the price of a gallon of gas is volatile.

Consider this eight-point checklist:

  • Tune ups: Probably the biggest waste of gas is an improperly tuned Capri engine. A rough running engine uses more gas quicker than a properly tuned engine. Check spark plugs for condition & check engine for proper timing.

  • Tire pressure: Under inflation or over inflation of tires can lead to decreased fuel mileage and improper wear, shortening the life of your tires. Capri's owner's manual recommends tire pressure of 29 psi for non turbo & 32 psi for turbos, and suggests checking your tires regularly with a good quality tire pressure gauge.

  • Air filters: Dirty air filters can also cause your Capri's engine to run at less than peak efficiency. Regular visual checks of the air filter will tell you if it needs replacing and your owner's manual recommends  replacement at 30,000 mile intervals.

  • Oil: Using the correct viscosity oil (5W-30) is important because higher viscosity oils have greater resistance to the moving parts of the engine, and therefore use more gas. (More on Conventional versus Synthetic Motor Oils in a future volume)

  • Unnecessary air conditioner use: Driving your Capri with the A/C on puts a big drain on your gas mileage. Keep it off until the summer heat sets in and you'll save fuel.

  • Power accessories: Items that plug into your Capri's cigarette lighter, can cause the alternator to work harder to provide enough electrical current. That adds a load to the engine, and added load increases fuel use, decreasing your gas mileage.

  • Driving style: Quick starts from a stoplight or stop sign use more fuel than smooth, steady acceleration. Adjust your driving style to save gas. If you have a 5 speed manual transmission, shifting into 5th gear as soon as you reach 45 MPH will greatly increase miles per gallon.

  • Extended idling time: Unnecessary idling of the engine will cause excessive fuel use. If you're going to be sitting in the car for a while, shut it off your Capri's engine.


How To Know If Your Capri Needs A/C Maintenance

A well-functioning Capri air conditioning system is a must during hot weather, times of high humidity (such as rainstorms), or during times of high-pollution levels. If you're experiencing any of the problems listed below, your Capri may be in need of air conditioning maintenance &/or repair.

Warning signs of air conditioning problems:

  • A/C system doesn't cool vehicle to set temperature (at low fan & max cooling settings, Capri must deliver 45 degrees maximum at center vent) a really good operating A/C will deliver 38 degrees at center vent
  • Fan/blower does not spin when A/C dash switch is depressed
  • When the fan/blower works, it is louder than usual
  • Some or all of the dash controls do not work when operated
  • Floor, top, side vents, or defroster do not work
  • A/C or engine makes loud noises when the heat or A/C is turned on
  • Capri stalls or idles roughly when A/C is turned on
  • Capri runs hot or overheats when A/C is on
  • There is evidence of water on the car's floor
  • Electric engine cooling fan quickly cycles on and off
  • Unusual odors come from interior vents
  • A/C unit has not been serviced in a long time
  • Windows fog when defroster is turned on
Keep your air conditioner operating correctly year round! Have regular A/C maintenance done by a qualified A/C technician or consult your Capri Shop Manual for testing & repair procedures.

A Well Tuned Capri Engine For Maximum Performance
"My Capri has gone over 45,000 miles without a tune-up and it's still running fine, except it idles a little rough and the gas mileage isn't what it used to be."

True, Capri engines are designed to travel farther without major maintenance. However, this assumes you carefully adhere to the manufacturer's routine maintenance schedule, no matter what your mileage. It also assumes you don't constantly use your vehicle under what car and truck makers describe as "special or harsh circumstances."

These include driving in dusty conditions, weather extremes, towing, and off-road operation. Another performance weakener is the trip to the bank or supermarket that's less than five miles away. Short trips, when an engine barely reaches optimum operating temperature before being shut off, play havoc with engine performance and components. Extensive idling and driving at low speeds for long distances is also detrimental to continued performance capability.

The "if it isn't broken don't fix it" attitude doesn't apply to the modern fuel injected, computer-controlled engines like the Capri DOHC 1.6 liter in-line four cylinder. ECM computers help and both hinder performance by making ongoing adjustments for minor malfunctions. These computerized adjustments may mask serious and costly problems.


  • Loss of power
  • Drop in gas mileage
  • Knocking or sputtering when your engine is accelerating
  • Stalling when engine is either hot or cold or when using air conditioning
  • Hard starting, although the battery easily turns the engine over
  • Dieseling (the engine continues to run even after ignition is turned off)
  • Noxious exhaust odor
  • Rough running at any speed
  • Backfiring
  • Engine dash warning lights stay on
The best way to ensure long engine life is to entrust the care of your Capri to only highly-qualified technicians.  Technicians who are nationally-certified (ASC) and trusted professionals who understand the complexities of modern Japanese engines. They can perform engine diagnostic service, routine maintenance, & major performance tune-ups, to help ensure your Capri performs at its absolute best.
It also a good practice to use genuine Ford Motorcraft replacement parts (filters, plugs, ignition wires, etc). This ensures that the service parts meets or exceeds the vehicle manufacturer's specified standards.
With Capri knowledgeable technicians in short supply, a Capri factory Shop manual, a EVTM manual, a wiring diagram & a connection to the Capri egroup may be the only way you can keep your Capri engine "Well Tuned For Maximum Performance!"

How to Wash and Wax Your Capri

Here are some tips for cleaning and protecting your Capri's exterior appearance:

Washing the Car: Try to avoid commercial car washes, over time the brushes & chemicals take a toll on your Capri's exterior paint. Use Ford Wash & Wax Concentrate part #D6AZ-19523-AA,  or any national name brand concentrated car cleaner, add two or three capfuls to a bucket of water to clean the entire car. NEVER use dishwashing liquid, as it strips all the wax off your car. Check the bottle for exact directions.

Wet down the entire car, then use a washing mitt or a large soft sponge, start cleaning the soft top/roof. Don't use old rags, because they often leave hairline scratches in your car's finish. Do the wheels last to avoid getting heavy grime &/or brake dust on the car's painted surface.

It is important to start from the top and work down so that dirty water won't run off onto the panels you just cleaned. Do one panel at a time and rinse it off so that soap doesn't dry onto the car. Also, use just enough water pressure to get the suds off. Repeat until the entire car is clean. NOTE: BE CAREFUL NOT TO DROP OR LAY MITT/SPONGE ON DRIVEWAY, AS SMALL CINDERS WILL BE PICKED UP & POSSIBLY SCRATCH THE PAINT.

Cleaning Wheels and Tires: When your wheels and tires are cool to the touch, start by thoroughly rinsing them down. Next, spray one tire and wheel with a good quality wheel cleaner and work it into the crevices with a soft bristled brush. Only clean one at a time to avoid drying of the cleaner. Last, thoroughly rinse the wheel. Repeat with the remaining wheels.

Cleaning Bugs and Tar: Bugs and tar tend to build up on the lower body sides, the leading edge and the windshield. Apply a little bug and tar cleaner to a sponge and rub it onto these areas to remove the marks.

Drying the Car: Use a damp chamois or soft terry cloth towel (preferably just out of the washer) and remove excess water from the entire car. Start at the roof and work down to the lower panels.

Waxing the Car: Remove the car from direct sunlight. Wait for the car to cool. A good quality car polish is FOMOCO Custom Silicone Gloss Polish, part #F3AZ-19530-WA, but your local auto parts center will have a good selection of waxes & polishes to choose from.

Start by lightly wetting (with water) the wax applicator, often included with the can of wax. Next, put the wax on the applicator and frame out the area where you want to apply it. Then, fill in the middle portion. This way, you can avoid getting wax into the seams and jambs. Wax one panel of the car at time. After a few minutes, the wax will have dried to a dull haze. Wiping in one direction, use a clean terrycloth to remove the film of wax. Use a polishing cloth (preferably a clean cloth diaper) buff in the opposite direction to a high shine. After you've done one panel, turn both towels to an unused section and start on the next panel. Repeat until you've completed the entire vehicle. Use a small detail brush to remove any excess wax from the body seams & around emblems & ornaments.

With knowledge, care and the proper cleaning products, you can keep your Capri looking like it just came from a professional detailer.

Caring For Your Capri's Interior

Taking care of your Capri's appearance is important. Many owners focus on just keeping the outside shiny, but forget to take care of the inside. Here are some tips for keeping your Capri's interior showroom new.

When it comes to upholstery cleaning, don't forget to always match the cleaning product to the surface on which it's going to be used. If your Capri has cloth upholstery, a foam cleaner can work very well. We use & recommend Turtle Wax "POWEROUT" professional strength, Upholstery Cleaner product #T-246, about $5.99 a spray can. You can also use it on your molded floor carpets and carpeted floor mats.

However, leather interiors require special care. Leather seats can crack and age quickly, like a pair of shoes. A solvent-based cleaner is the wrong type to use and will only speed up the aging process. That's why you must use only specifically-designed leather cleaners & then apply a leather conditioner on your Capri's leather seats.

Floor mats should also be cleaned & are very important to interior maintenance. They protect your vehicle's floor carpet from spills, stains, dirt and wear.

A good interior protectant like Ford Custom Vinyl Protectant part #E6AZ-19530-AA is especially useful for the many vinyl and hard plastic portions of the Capri's interior. Not only does it provide protection from dirt and grime, the sun's harmful rays, but they also offer an attractive shine.

Use a soft 1" flat paint brush or a detailer's 1"round brush, to clean in & around air vents & in hard to get at corners & recessed areas of the Capri's interior.

Clean out the console ash tray & check under the front seats for bottles, food or other misc. items. Don't forget to wipe the rubber weather strips on doors, hatches, windshield & soft top with silicone spray to keep them soft, resilient & water tight.

Finally, finish your interior cleaning job with glass cleaner on the glass windows and maybe a good air freshener. Take a trip to your local auto parts supply center, you'll be amazed at some of the great interior car care products and accessories you'll find there.

Always read, use & follow the manufacturers directions, on the car care products that you apply to your Capris interior surfaces!

» More tips on page 2


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Your Capri!"