Can You Improve Fuel Efficiency?
While fuel costs are always fluctuating, they are currently hitting record highs. With much uncertainty as to when they may go down, now is the time to turn your attention to some simple ways that you can work to reduce your fuel consumption.
Here we take a look at some things that you can do to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, no matter what you drive, through adjusting your driving habits and ensuring that your vehicle is well–maintained.
Maintain a Steady Speed
Driving at excessive speeds can decrease the efficiency of your engine. When travelling at 110km/h your fuel consumption can go up by as much as 15%! Not only is it important for your on-road safety to maintain a safe and steady speed but it can also improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle and reduce the wear and tear on your engine.
Avoid rapid acceleration away from traffic lights, and whenever possible anticipate the flow of traffic ahead of you to give you adequate braking time. Lessening the amount of sudden stop-start driving you do can assist with improving the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
Remove Excess Weight
When you are towing a trailer or caravan your fuel consumption increases. This is because the heavier your vehicle is, the harder the engine needs to work in order to propel it along. Taking the time to give careful consideration to what you are taking away with you can really pay off. In other words, take only what you need. The lighter your load, the less fuel you’re likely to use.
The same goes for what you have in your car, that you drive around with everyday. It can be easy to let things build up, particularly in the boot - items such as gym gear, excess tools and office paperwork can all add up. Removing these items on a regular basis can work towards spending less money at the petrol pump.
Maintain Recommended Tyre Pressures
Your tyre pressures play a significant role in saving on fuel costs. When tyres are under inflated their rolling resistance is increased, which forces the engine to work harder in order to overcome. In turn, this increases your fuel consumption.
Tyres can lose inflation pressure up to a rate of 1 to 3 psi (pound per square inch) every month. Your tyres don’t need to visually appear under-inflated for it to be an issue. In fact, by the time a tyre does look under-inflated, it is in need of serious attention!
Most modern vehicles are equipped with TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system), which lights up on the dashboard as a warning that indicates at least one tyre is significantly under-inflated. This is a useful feature, however it shouldn’t be exclusively depended on as a means for monitoring tyre pressures.
Typically, it is recommended that you check your tyre pressures each month. This is a relatively straightforward task, requiring a quality tyre pressure gauge that can be purchased from your local auto parts store.
Always check your pressures when the tyres are cold. This means that your car has been parked for at least 3 hours, or you have driven on them for no more than 5 minutes. You can find the recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle on the tyre placard. If you need to adjust the pressure of any tyre, this can be done using an air compressor at your nearest service station.
Remember to include your spare tyre when checking pressures!
Ensure Your Vehicle is Regularly Serviced
A regularly serviced vehicle can reduce your fuel costs as a well-maintained engine will run more efficiently, producing the same power, using less fuel. Servicing your car as per the vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendations will typically mean a service every 6 months, or 10,000kms, whichever comes first.
The recommended services will vary depending on the make and model or your vehicle and its age. Information specific to your make and model can be found in the owner’s manual.
Services such as an oil change will assist in the fuel economy of your vehicle as old, thicker oil means the engine works harder to move it through the moving parts of the engine. Regular wheel alignment servicing will also help the fuel economy of your vehicle by reducing the strain on the engine. When the tyres and wheels can work together, the fuel efficiency of your vehicle is maximised.
With the help of a few simple techniques such as those discussed here, anyone can save money on fuel no matter what kind of vehicle you may be driving. Not only can these tips save you money when filling up on fuel at the service station, they also improve vehicle safety and lessen the general wear and tear your vehicle encounters as a result of aggressive driving habits.
If you can’t recall when you last checked your tyre pressures, or you know that your vehicle is due for a service, why not contact your local BestDrive store? We offer a range of services, including wheel alignments and logbook servicing to ensure your vehicle is operating at its best.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.