How to improve your car’s fuel efficiency

With the current cost of fuel, filling up a car’s tank can become a costly exercise. Considering that the average car’s fuel tank ranges between 45L to around 60L, it could cost anywhere between R558 to over R892 to fill up at the time of writing this article. Prices are expected to hike even more due to global COVID-19 restrictions.

Increasing your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will reduce the need to regularly fill up, helping you to plug the hole in your wallet. Changing your everyday habits and paying attention to certain aspects of your car and driving habits could save you a pretty penny even if you drive a thirsty SUV.

Follow this article on a few easy to follow tips to increase your fuel efficiency

Check your tyres

It is essential that you regularly check your tyre pressure, to not only ensure that you are safe on the road but also to get the most out of a tank of fuel. A slightly flat tyre could decrease your fuel efficiency by 5%. If you are not sure what your optimal tyre pressure is, you can usually find tyre pressure specifications on a sticker on the inner side of the driver’s door. If you cannot find this chart, consult the user manual for the recommended tyre pressure.

When was the last time you checked your wheel alignment? Did you know that improper wheel alignment can reduce your fuel efficiency by as much as 10%? It is advised that your wheel alignment should be checked and adjusted at least once a year. If you do a lot of off-road trips, drive through potholes, drive over or hit the sidewalk the need to check your wheel alignment more frequently rises. Have a professional assess and adjust your wheel alignment at your nearest trusted dealership.

Don’t idle for too long

Don’t idle for an extended amount of time, rather switch off your engine and park. Idling your car can consume between 1.8L to about 3.8L of fuel per hour! That is a lot of fuel wasted and unnecessary CO2 emissions pumped into the atmosphere. Switching off your engine and re-starting your car uses a lot less fuel than idling for extended periods.

Also, to effectively warm up your engine, there is no need to rev up your engine as it only wastes more fuel. Your engine will warm up much faster if you drive it. When starting your car, leave it to idle for 20 seconds to allow oil pressure to build-up and you can be on your way.

Mazda Service

Service your car regularly

Keeping your service record up to date will not only increase the resale value of your car, but it will also improve your fuel economy. Regularly servicing your car ensures that all of your car’s mechanics are working properly.

When taking your car for a service, ensure that your dealership replaces spark plugs, oxygen sensor as well as the air and fuel filters. Make sure that you only take your car to a trusted dealership that uses authentic parts. Off-brand parts aren’t fully optimized to ensure smooth mechanical flow and may cause more harm resulting in more money spent on repairs.

Shifting gears

Driving at faster speeds on lower gears can use up to 45% more fuel than is necessary. To optimise fuel economy, it is recommended that you switch to higher gears sooner when increasing in speed. Labouring your engine intensively will result in more fuel consumed per kilometer than is really required.

Alternatively, a lot of the newer vehicle models are manufactured with onboard trip computers that display your fuel economy as litres per 100km. Using this data you can constantly monitor your fuel consumption and it is a good indicator on when to shift gears. Increasing the RPM will further increase fuel consumption per kilometer.

Don’t carry around unnecessary weight

When going on a trip, double-check your cargo to make sure that you don’t drag along unnecessary weight as it does affect your fuel economy. If you are not absolutely certain that you will need or use any extra items on your trip, it might be best to leave it at home.

Before loading anything onto your roof rack, rather double-check if you don’t have enough space for it inside your car. When tying additional cargo to your roof rack, it creates drag that greatly affects your fuel consumption. On that note, when roof racks are not being used, take them off to ensure better aerodynamics for better fuel efficiency.

Pay attention to your driving habits

There are quite a few factors on how we drive that also affect our car’s fuel consumption. When possible, try to avoid driving on dirt and gravel roads as it can reduce your fuel economy but up to 30%. Driving on rough and uneven roads breaks your forward momentum which means that your engine needs to work harder to keep or increase your speed.

You should also pay attention to your speed. Try to keep a consistent speed for as long as possible. Every time you slow down and speed back up your engine needs to consume even more fuel. Keep at a steady pace.

When approaching a stop sign or robot, start reducing your speed earlier before coming to a complete halt. By applying light throttle and avoiding heavy braking, you not only reduce fuel consumption but also reduce general wear and tear.

Where to find even more advice on fuel efficiency

These are but a few changes of habit to make that can greatly reduce your fuel consumption on a long-term and daily basis. For more information on how you can improve your fuel economy, or book a service and routine maintenance, you can always rely on the expertise and reliable customer service at Fury Mazda Midrand to assist you. You can contact us on +27 (0) 10 492 3700 or you can visit our website here.