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 over-inflation 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 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 re-gap once a year can pay dividends.
Okay, I know that 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. -Star Motoring