Fuel costs take a chunk out of everybody’s budget today, but there are ways you can keep these costs as low as possible without making too many lifestyle changes.
Here are 10 tips from the experts to help you on your way to greater fuel-efficiency.
Keep checking your tyre pressure
Under-inflated tyres are dangerous because they increase breaking distance and lead to uneven wear on your tyres. They also contribute to the bad fuel efficiency of a vehicle. Keeping your tyres inflated to levels recommended by the manufacturer (usually listed on the inside of the driver’s door) will not only save you fuel, but could save your life. Being aware of your tyre pressure also means you are more likely to notice when your tyre treads have begun to wear and will help you to budget for new tyres, and wheel balancing and alignment, at the first possible instance. Never ignore worn treads. If you do not funds available to replace dangerously worn tyres, short term personal loan providers like Wonga.co.za, can help you with your short-term cash needs if you run into financial trouble.
Wind up windows when you’re driving
Air currents create drag when your windows are open. You might not be able to afford the aerodynamic curves of a Ferrari, but you can save a little fuel by keeping your windows shut when your car is in motion.
Revving your engine can cost you
Revving your engine at red traffic lights when you are not moving means that the power generated by the engine is wasted. You will also be doing your bit to keep down noise pollution and be aware of sirens and other events going on in the traffic around you.
Turn off the air-con
In most modern vehicles, the air conditioning pump in your vehicle is powered by a belt driven pulley. Engaging your air-conditioning means that your engine has to work harder to keep you cool which translates into reduced engine efficiency and increases your fuel spend.
Speeding hurts your pocket
In built up areas, excessive speed does not save time, but does increase the fuel your engine consumes and the wear-and-tear on your vehicle. It is also illegal to break the speed limit and endangers your own life and those of other road users.
Avoid short distances
Planning your route when you drive will help you to avoid doubling back on yourself as you go about your daily tasks. Particularly if you have many errands to run over a relatively short distance – short distances burn more fuel in order to warm up your engine and this reduces fuel efficiency.
In a similar vein, by backing in (or driving into nose-to-tail parking spots), you will be doing your reversing when the transmission is warm, avoiding the need to drive in reverse with a cold transmission and engine. You will only go through a single acceleration cycle on a cold engine when departing your destination.
Cut the engine
Turn your vehicle off as soon as you pull into a parking bay. Don’t let the engine idle as you wait for a passenger because your vehicle will continue to burn fuel even though you’re going nowhere.
Keep the tank more than half-full
Most fuel pumps are mounted in the petrol tank so they are cooled by the fuel. Running at less than a quarter tank means this cooling feature does not work as well and can cause wear on fuel pumps due to excessive heat build-up. Unless you know that your fuel pump is mounted under your vehicle and cooled by air, it is best to always keep your tank more than half-full. It is also a good tip to try to avoid refuelling at a petrol station that you know has been refuelled in the last couple of hours. The turbulence from refilling the storage tank can kick up any muck and water lying on the bottom of the tank.
Check the quality of your synthetic lubricants
The most inefficient part of your car is the motor. A minority of the potential chemical energy that enters your cylinders will be converted into usable power. Most of the energy in fuel is lost as a result of pumping losses, friction and heat-transfer. Reducing the friction in your engine, transmission and differentials by using a best-quality lubricant, will increase your fuel efficiency. The effect is most noticeable in large four-wheel-drives, and less noticeable in lighter sedans.
The right car for the right trip
If a household owns more than one car, do your homework (on the internet or ask your mechanic) to find out which car would be more efficient on the freeway then use that vehicle for long distance trips and keep the gas guzzler for in-town travel and shorter distances.