As the petrol price continues to soar, improving fuel efficiency is the best way to protect your budget. It’s no secret that when your car works the way it should that it consumes less fuel. And while fuel efficiency certainly depends on the car you buy, the way you drive also plays an important role. To help motorists understand how easy it can be, we’ve highlighted a few important fuel-saving tips for manual cars.
Check Tyres And Air Filter
Tyres might be tough but they don’t last forever and over time they will naturally leak some air. Make sure to check your tyres regularly as they can lose about 1 PSI per month and often more in winter. Not only are under-inflated tyres dangerous but they also cause your car to use more fuel.
Overinflated tyres are no better so make sure that you follow the recommended tyre pressure guidelines for your vehicle. Correctly inflated tyres could actually improve fuel consumption by up to 3%. Tyre checks are recommended at least once a month but preferably weekly although it also depends on how often you drive.
Another part of the car that requires checking is the air filter as vehicle owners often forget its important role. A dirty air filter essentially restricts air from entering the engine which could result in poor performance and fuel economy. Simply remove the air filter, hold it up to a light and if you can’t see through to the other side, it’s time for a replacement.
Improve Driving Style For Better Fuel Consumption
There is no denying that bad driving habits can affect fuel efficiency much like improper vehicle maintenance impacts reliability. According to the AA, if you drive 120 km/h, you could use up to 9% more fuel than at 100 km/h and up to 15% more than 80 km/h. Besides speed, there are several other factors to keep in mind and here are a few simple driving tips even learners can implement:
- Wherever possible, avoid rush hour traffic as it affects manual cars more than their automatic counterparts
- Make sure you drive smoothly and don’t accelerate too fast
- Read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking. Slamming down hard on the brakes can affect fuel efficiency
- Slow down gently by releasing the accelerator in time and leaving the car in gear unless you are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Riding the clutch in this instance will use more fuel and it could cause damage over time
- Adhere to the speed limit for safety reasons but you also use more fuel the faster you drive
- Never over-rev the engine and change gears at around 2 000 rpm for diesel or 2 500 for petrol engines. In terms of shifting into fifth or sixth gear on new models, do so at the right time
- Drive a steady 25 – 35 km/h on roads with speed bumps as accelerating fast and braking hard for each speed bump can seriously affect fuel efficiency
If you think that smaller cars use less fuel, think again. Some cars with a 2.0L engine actually consume less fuel than those with a 1.6L motor. Except for driving style affecting fuel economy, the main reason is a lack of power as smaller engines often struggle to pull the heavier weight.
Shed Unnecessary Weight
Aerodynamics affect drag which is essential in promoting fuel economy. Close windows and sunroof as it increases drag making your car more expensive to run. The same applies to shedding unnecessary weight for better fuel economy. Remove roof racks and any other heavy items such as big speakers or an older car battery. These can easily weigh up to 15kg compared to a newer battery which weighs nearly half.
Use Aircon Sparingly
Air conditioning in most parts of South Africa is a necessity but only use it when you absolutely have to. It puts additional strain on the engine which means burning more fuel, especially at low speeds. Driving faster on highways has little to no effect but rather err on the side of caution and leave the aircon off. If you do need it, use the recirculate button as it cools the air already inside the car. That means your car doesn’t need any additional power to cool the incoming air.
While there may be additional fuel saving tips, these are some of the most important and easiest to implement. It appears that adopting a better driving style and regular car maintenance could make all the difference, especially considering the current economic climate.