Feeling the pain of the seemingly never-ending rise in fuel prices? Perhaps you’ve debated getting a more economical car… perhaps you’ve even thought about getting rid of your car altogether! Before you do anything quite so drastic, take a look at some of our top tips that can help you improve your fuel economy and save fuel.
It’s worth noting that driving more economically will not just save you money by reducing fuel consumption, it also reduces harmful emissions entering the environment and puts less strain on your car’s engine – it’s a win, win!
There are plenty of ways to increase your mpg so below we are going to look at some.
The air pressure that you put into your tyres could have implications on:
- Tyre life
- Fuel consumption.
Make sure you check your pressures regularly (including the spare!) especially before any long-distance trips. Driving with an underinflated tyre increases rolling resistance – which in turn increases the amount of power needed to move the car forward at the same speed as when the tyres are correctly inflated. This extra engine effort means more fuel is used so a bit of extra air can really save you!
It’s also dangerous to have under inflated tyres as this can lead to overheating the tyre and potentially bursting it. Having an overinflated tyre is also not good as it reduces grip on the road as less surface area is touching the tarmac. In short… check your tyre pressures! We have a range of tyre pressure and inflator products available, such as the Ring Smart Tyre inflator and Sealey digital tyre pressure gauge.
Keeping your car serviced might be a pain, what with the cost and time it takes, but keeping it serviced has a host of benefits.
Firstly cost, although this may seem counter intuitive, keeping your car serviced can save you money in the long run. How? A driver with a few years under their belt can understand that if problems are found and fixed before they become large issues this can save being stung with a huge bill later down the road, such as your cambelt snapping. If this were to happen, you’d be waiting hours for the recovery van, potentially days for a space in the repair garage and then a huge bill to replace the belt and any other parts which have been damaged because of the belt snapping!
Likewise driving with low tread on your tyres or with low fluid levels only runs the risk of something bad happening to the car as it won’t be performing as it should…
Regular servicing can also help you maintain the value of the car. When you come to sell the car, if it’s been poorly maintained you will find it very hard to get the money you would want for it (that’s if you don’t have something super desirable and/or rare like a Nissan Skyline or a MK4 Toyota Supra) this applies not just aesthetically but also internally. How well the internals are looked after with evidence is usually always asked for/about when purchasing a car, so it’s important to keep on top of it.
Finally, keeping your car serviced boosts your safety. This is one of the main reasons to keep your car in good running order, I don’t think we need to say what might happen if you have poorly maintained brakes and tyres! Fluid and filter changes are also key to keeping your car running its best.
If you’re looking for help with getting your car serviced then why not pop down to our service centre in Wrexham we will be more than happy to help you out.
Is your car misfiring? Not idling correctly? Is the check engine light on? It may be because your fuel injectors are bunged up reducing your flow rate which leads to poorer fuel economy and performance, in severe cases this can damage the engine. If this is the case, they will need a clean. Cleaning your injectors is an important part of keeping your car properly maintained for the road.
There are several additives available which you can use to clean the injectors, such as fuel system cleaners you could also replace fuel filters and use octane boosters to make up for poorer quality fuel.
If in doubt you can book your car into our Wrexham service centre.
Having correctly aligned wheels is very important. Misaligned wheels will wear the tyres unevenly which compromises safety and performance on the road as it affects your suspension system and steering – you might feel this when driving as the car may pull to either the left or right.
Misalignment can occur in many ways, for example if you hit a pothole, a curb or have an accident (big or small). Even a small misalignment can unevenly wear your tyres over time.
Wheel alignment is important as it extends the life of your tyres, meaning you won’t have to fork out for a new set as often. This will also save you money on fuel as misaligned wheels often don’t run correctly as one may be pointing slightly the wrong direction. This means more fuel is expended to push the car forward.
You should look to align your wheels at least every time your car gets serviced, or after putting new wheels and/or tyres on, or after putting lowering springs on the car.
We have a range of wheel alignment products such as the trackace laser wheel alignment gauge or the E-Tech engineering quick align wheel tool. We have a blog here which explains why you should get your car aligned and the benefits that come with it. But if you don’t feel confident you can visit us at our Wrexham service centre.
When we think of remapping a car, we think of adding more power and responsiveness, but remapping is much more than this, you can improve fuel economy.
Remapping often improves torque from the engine, this is good for economical driving as you can use that torque to change up a gear from a lower rpm (called short shifting). This works especially well with diesel cars.
However, with a remap it can be far too easy to put your foot down and have fun with the extra BHP and torque, but doing this will eat the money in your bank account as you spend every week at the petrol station. You need to be reserved on the throttle and drive like your mum is in the car!
Replacing the air filter is an excellent and easy upgrade that will improve fuel economy. Placing aftermarket parts on your car usually doesn’t align with saving money on fuel, but in this instance, you definitely can.
Simply put, your car needs clean air continuously pushed through to operate to its full potential. The air filter can last the lifetime of the car, but overtime dirt builds up which inhibits air flow. The engine must work harder as a result which raises fuel consumption, reducing MPG. A nice new filter means clean air mixes with the fuel, increasing MPG, which saves you money.
A replacement filter is inexpensive and slots in the original air box of your car. The best part about a replacement filter is they are reusable, so once it gets dirty you simply clean it and put it back in. Not only are you saving money on never replacing a filter again, but you can also feel warm and fuzzy about not adding to landfills with all the paper filters you would have used.
Aerodynamics & Braking
Aerodynamics is important to consider if you want to drive as economically as possible. Have you heard of ‘fluid dynamics’? How about ‘skin friction’ or ‘form drag’? Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an F1 aerodynamicist to understand that cars are built in a way to push through the air effectively and efficiently!
For fuel economy’s sake, it’s important to make sure you’re not ruining your car’s aerodynamics by leaving stuff on your car which is causing you to use more throttle than you need, for example a roof box, a cycle rack or even leaving dirt on your car can cause unnecessary drag. This means your car must be pushed harder than usual as it is having to force more air out of the way to move forward, and as a result your MPG will drop, and you’ll be spending more time at the petrol station.
Another thing to keep in mind is maintaining your brakes. We shouldn’t need to tell you how important well-maintained brakes are, understanding when there is an issue with them is important to help fuel economy. An example issue is binding brakes. If your brakes are binding (sticking on) then you’ll be pushing your car harder to move forward as the wheels are not as free to move around as the brakes are stuck on. Avoiding this can help with fuel economy. A binding caliper can be caused by several things from a frozen caliper pin, brake corrosion, over full brake fluid, a bad brake hose and more.
In short – keep your car’s brakes maintained and remove anything on your car, including dirt, which can/is causing unnecessary drag – you’ll thank us! If you’re unsure how to check for a binding caliper you can book yourself into our Wrexham service centre. Or if you’d like to help the aero on your car by keeping it clean then you can visit our website for products from top brands.
Excess weight and fuel economy do not go together. A heavier car means greater rolling resistance and more energy needed to move forward.
Vehicle weight is one of the main things which contributes to fuel usage. Millions of pounds go into research and development of cars to make them as light as possible. Why? A reduction in weight by 10 percent can improve fuel economy by 6 to 8 percent! Now we are not saying remove the passenger seat and all the interior trim to save weight, you still want the creature comforts of your car! We can do our bit to make our cars as light as possible though… such things like switching out heavy OE wheels for a lightweight alternative like the Team Dynamics Pro Race LT . We have an entire blog about unsprung mass and how lightweight wheels help here. There are also lots of other lightweight alternatives you could use to such as replacement body panels made of carbon fibre, lightweight flywheels and titanium exhaust systems.
Other things you could consider when trying to save weight:
- Try not to drive around with a full tank of fuel. 50 litres of petrol weighs 35.6 kilograms.
- Keep your car’s boot as empty as possible, don’t use it as a place to store things.
- Remove child seats, roof boxes, cycle racks etc. as mentioned previously aerodynamics is important, don’t ruin it!
- Empty your car of rubbish (including those McDonalds wrappers…) they are no good hiding under the passenger seat.
Choosing which fuel to use
If you can, choose the E10 unleaded fuel or standard diesel fuel instead of super unleaded/high performance diesel. However, you should consider the following if switching to regular unleaded for the foreseeable future.
It is important to understand and consider the new E10 fuel. It was added to petrol stations in September 2021 as part of a government mandate to reduce environmental CO2 pollution. E10 fuel contains 10% renewable ethanol compared to the 5% of the previous E5 petrol. However, this is not suitable for all cars of all ages. 95% of cars can use E10 but if your car is built before 2011 it is worth checking the government website to see if E10 is suitable for your car. Using E10 in a car which is not suited for it won’t stop the car dead, like using petrol in a diesel or vice versa. But using E10 for an extended period can cause corrosion of some alloys and rubbers within the engine and fuel system – which will be a costly fix. In short, it’s best to check! There is no change to existing diesel fuels.
If your car does fall into the 5% of cars which shouldn’t use E10, the super unleaded petrol is to be used, but money can still be saved by utilising the other fuel saving methods in this blog.
A big way to save fuel is to adjust your driving style, this might be easier said than done but there are many easy ways to alter your driving where you will see immediate gains in fuel economy, saving you hundreds over the course of the year.
- The more force used when accelerating the more the engine must work to deliver that power and thus the more fuel is used. Don’t scream away from every traffic light, don’t be impatient and overtake everyone you see and try to coast when possible and safe to do so.
- In conjunction with the above point, after you accelerate smoothly up to the speed limit, try to maintain that speed. If you are constantly speeding up and slowing down your MPG will dip. Use your cruise control (if you have it) when appropriate as this will stop you having to stare at the speedo!
- Keep at a safe distance and monitor the traffic in front of you. This can help because you can see what cars are doing and slow down steadily and speed up appropriately.
Avoid High Speeds
- If you can keep to the speed limit you can save fuel. Vehicles use more fuel the faster they go as the engine is being pushed harder. Extended motorway driving will especially sap your tank of fuel quickly!
Don’t Over Rev
- Over revving an engine pushes it to work harder to deliver the power you are trying to put down. Short shifting (changing gear at low RPM) when appropriate can help limit overusing fuel.
Use air conditioning less
- Using air conditioning can sap your fuel, it can consume 0.2 to 1 litre of petrol every 60 miles. This is because the air con uses a compressor connected to a belt in the engine, which uses fuel to operate. To limit the fuel it uses, try to have the windows open instead when travelling at a slow speed, this will get rid of most of the hot air in the cabin. Then switch to the air con when going faster.
Plan ahead, combine trips and avoid idling where possible
- Making unnecessary trips out and not planning your route can mean you’re driving longer distances than you need to. You may be getting stuck in traffic, road works and stop lights, meaning you will be idling your car much more than you need to. All of which uses fuel. Idling can use up to 2 litres of fuel per hour you are stationary.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but adopting the above changes not only will improve your fuel economy and save you money but also will halt excessive wear on your car’s components.
Fuel up at the cheapest station.
This is an obvious one but try and fill up at the cheapest petrol station! Now we don’t mean travelling hundreds of miles because you’ve found a petrol station which is selling 3 pence cheaper. But if you have many petrol stations around you, try to find the cheapest and use it! But also keep frequently checking the prices, as they change constantly.
Saving fuel is more important now than ever, your bank account will thank you for following at least some of the advice in this blog, which means you can use that money for your next car upgrade!
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