How you can improve fuel economy
Previously in Mike’s Motoring Tips, we have discussed numerous subjects relating to general maintenance and repairs to your motor vehicle.
Obviously you’ve read them all! So you should now have a motor vehicle that starts well in the morning when cold, drives well under load without ‘‘ stuttering’’, and has improved its fuel economy.
Now we can ask ourselves some new questions. For example, is it possible to still improve on our current fuel consumption, and if so just how can this be achieved?
The answer simply is yes we can improve our fuel consumption by quite a substantial margin – and the good news is that the cost of achieving this saving is basically nil. All it needs is a few little checks to your car, and a change to our basic driving habits. So here we go.
Question: Does a vehicle engine operate most efficiently when it is running at its correct operating temperature?
Answer: Yes. A correctly operating coolant thermostat is critical. The temperature gauge should quickly reach midpoint on your dash display within 2 to 3 kilometres. Your car’s heater should warm up within this period also if the thermostat is functioning correctly.
Question: When starting a car from cold, is it best to warm the motor by ‘‘revving it up’’ prior to driving it on the road?
Answer: No. The engine will warm up much faster by immediately driving it. The energy required to move the vehicle is far greater than being stationary and just ‘‘ revving it up’’. The engine becomes efficient more rapidly – and of course you will have also driven 2 to 3km closer to your destination by doing so.
Question: Is it better to accelerate quickly to reach my required cruising speed so I can back off the accelerator earlier to achieve the fuel efficiency level I am seeking?
Answer: Absolutely not. The energy required to accelerate your car quickly is where the critical high fuel usage factor lays.
Immense fuel savings can be achieved by gently using the accelerator. Gently increase the throttle pedal position in relation to the car’s increasing speed until your desired cruising speed is reached.
Question: Is leaving my braking action to the last minute better for fuel economy or not?
Answer: Whenever able, pre- determine your stopping location and commence deceleration well prior to this. Your engine’s ‘‘ over run’’ and other ’’drag’’ factors will enable a gradual slowing of your vehicle prior to the braking action. Note: A modern EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine consumes no fuel on deceleration.
Therefore the sooner you totally ‘‘ back off’’ the throttle, the better your fuel economy result will be.
Question: If I leave my car idling for a while, will it consume much fuel?
Answer: Absolutely yes. For a modern car engine to idle smoothly, the air/fuel ratio has to be set on the high side of richness. That basically means extreme inefficiency. This richness prevents the motor from possible stalling and permits a smoother action upon initial acceleration. Did You Know? Here is some interesting information I would like to share with you. I believe this to be one of the more significant reasons for higher fuel consumption while city driving.
If your car’s engine is left to idle for just one minute at the traffic lights, the amount of fuel consumed during this 60 seconds could have been used to travel one kilometre at 50 kmh.
Depending on the number of red traffic lights involved here, it becomes very obvious to me that a huge volume of fuel can be unnecessarily consumed during this waiting time.
Can we do anything about this waste? The answer is yes!
We may not be able to exceed on the manufacturer’s fuel economy figures by much, however we most definitely can improve on the excessive consumption figures we are dealing with at present.
Mike Holswich from Jiffy Car Care in Bell Block.
There has to be an easier way: Man driving his selfdesigned electric vehicle along the street in Beijing.
Don’t waste a drop: Mike has ways for squeezing as much as you can out of every tankful.