How you can im­prove fuel econ­omy

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring -

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.

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