How to save fuel and your car

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

The ever-in­creas­ing cost of fuel af­fects us all so any pos­si­ble ways of re­duc­ing fuel con­sump­tion must be wel­comed. Leav­ing aside such dras­tic moves as swap­ping your trusty V8 for a mini, there are sev­eral com­mon sense ways of cut­ting costs.

Some things that in­crease fuel us­age are ob­vi­ous; re­move the roof rack if it is not in reg­u­lar use. Cor­rect tyre pres­sure is es­sen­tial.

Too low and it in­creases drag and over­in­fla­tion re­sults in rapid wear and pos­si­bly poor han­dling. Car­ry­ing heavy loads takes its toll, so keep only nec­es­sary items in the boot. Be cer­tain that the brakes are not bind­ing as, apart from rapid wear, it causes the en­gine to work a lot harder.

Rec­om­mended spark plug change in­ter­vals are con­sid­er­ably longer than they used to be, but all the same an in­spec­tion, clean and re­gap once a year can pay div­i­dends.

It is true plug changes can be a tough task on some cars, but the choice is yours. Use only the plugs rec­om­mended for your car. This is now more im­por­tant than ever. Reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing is es­sen­tial to keep an en­gine run­ning ef­fi­ciently. Reg­u­lar oil changes will save you money in the long run. Dirty air fil­ters af­fect per­for­mance and fuel con­sump­tion.

While the hand­book might say the fil­ter should be re­newed only ev­ery two years, it pays to check it reg­u­larly. Cars used mainly for short jour­neys or in very dusty con­di­tions, such as on build­ing sites, can be­come clogged in a very short time.

Look un­der the bon­net at least once a week to see if there are any ob­vi­ous de­fects or leaks. It makes sense to switch off air-con­di­tion­ing if it is not re­ally nec­es­sary, but to do so and open the win­dows in­stead will re­sult in in­creased drag and prob­a­bly no sav­ing at all.

Open sun­roofs and driv­ing with the top off both in­crease drag too. For the first start of the day, it is best to sim­ply start the en­gine and drive off im­me­di­ately.

There is no need for a warm-up pe­riod un­less the car is a high per­for­mance, turbo model that needs a slow warm-up and rea­son­able cool­ing down time af­ter a de­cent run.

Elec­tric cool­ing fans are far more ef­fi­cient than di­rect drive or vis­cous types be­cause they op­er­ate only when nec­es­sary. en­gines should op­er­ate at the cor­rect tem­per­a­ture. Too cool means the ther­mo­stat is stuck open or per­haps miss­ing.

Apart from fuel wastage, over­heat­ing is a dan­ger in traf­fic jams, so if you are likely to be im­mo­bile for more than a minute or so, turn the en­gine off and try to re­lax.

On the bright side, cars are gen­er­ally far more fuel ef­fi­cient now than they were a decade or so ago, but fuel, whether diesel or petrol, is more ex­pen­sive than ever.

Driv­ing style ob­vi­ously has a large im­pact on fuel con­sump­tion. Rapid ac­cel­er­a­tion and hard brak­ing, apart from in­creas­ing tyre, brake and en­gine wear, wastes fuel.

Reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing — if pos­si­ble DIY to save cash — and a light foot on the ac­cel­er­a­tor can re­sult in big sav­ings. — IOL

Fuel,whether diesel or petrol, is more ex­pen­sive than ever.

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