After you purchase your vehicle, it is up to you to maintain it in a manner that allows it to achieve the highest possible fuel economy. At first brush, it may sound like an easy thing to do, but it is a bit more complicated. Luckily, there are a number of simple things you can do that can decrease your fuel consumption exponentially. Since every owner wants to get the most out of their vehicle over its lifetime, here are 5 tips that can help improve the fuel economy of your vehicle.
1. Plan Your Day
Your car achieves its maximum fuel economy after the engine has been properly warmed. Conversely, a cold engine consumes much more petrol, or diesel for that matter. One way to take advantage of a warm engine is to plan your day so that all of your short trips are grouped together. Since it takes your vehicle’s engine up to an hour to cool, you can head out to the grocery store or other places in one trip without diminishing your fuel savings. An even better idea is to park your car and walk to multiple destinations if they are reasonably close together.
2. Replace Your Filters
One of the ways that automakers have improved the fuel economy of the vehicles that they produce is by allowing better air flow and a higher air to fuel ratio. One of the key elements to that improved airflow is the air filter. Daily driving can clog your air filter with dust and debris. Once a month, you should take your air filter out and inspect it. If there is quite a bit of dust visible give it a sharp rap (or several) on your thigh. That will dislodge quite a bit of loose debris, improving airflow. If you live in a very dusty environment, you will want to do this more frequently. Be sure to replace the air filter as the manufacturer recommends in the owner’s manual.
Another filter to replace is the fuel filter. This little filter keeps impurities from reaching your engine and often clogs slowly. As it clogs, your fuel economy may decrease. However, that decrease is the least of your worries. If the fuel filter completely clogs, the engine may stop immediately or impurities may reach your fuel injectors causing a very expensive trip to the repair shop.A good idea is to also ask a service person how often your fuel filter needs to be replaced.
3. Avoid the Air Conditioner
Driving without the A/C at any time of the year in Africa can be impossible. The best you can hope for is to use it sparingly. Also, you need to avoid running at speed with your windows down. Yes, that’s is a contradiction. Try turning off the A/C and opening your windows when you are travelling between 15 kph and 55 kph or if you are only going a short distance. Obviously, if you are stuck in traffic on a blisteringly hot day, you will want to have the A/C on. Additionally, when driving down highways at the appropriate speed, having the windows down will lower your fuel economy by making your car less aerodynamic.
4. Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance goes beyond oil changes and obvious repairs. Every manufacturer recommends a regular maintenance schedule for tune-ups, belt changes, etc. These do more than help you avoid breaking down. All of these scheduled items will help your car maintain the highest fuel numbers possible. Tire maintenance is often an overlooked aspect of improved fuel economy. Tires that are either over-inflated or under-inflated will diminish your car’s fuel efficiency – as will having the wrong size tires.
Carefully read your owner’s manual to find the right size and inflation for your car. Another tire issue to look for is uneven wear. A tire that is wearing on the inside or outside is a sign of poor alignment or a worn ball joint. Both will wreak havoc with your fuel economy. Additionally, a worn ball joint needs to be repaired before it becomes a dangerous safety issue.
5. Change Your Driving Habits
One of the biggest obstacles to maximizing your car’s fuel efficiency is you. Well, your driving habits at least. Sudden acceleration, speeding, and not driving at a constant speed all impact your car’s fuel efficiency. Get to speed smoothly, there is no reason to accelerate like you are in a race. There is plenty of advice about the optimal speed to drive at, however many seem to agree that 89 kph is a good speed to maintain if you want to achieve the best fuel economy.