How you can easily improve your car's fuel efficiency in the face rising petrol prices

APRIL 6, 2016

The combination of challenging economic conditions, rising inflation, and a general increase in the price of fuel hits consumers hard. The latest round of fuel price hikes is a bitter pill to swallow, but there are ways to manage your fuel costs and improve efficiency

The latest round of fuel price increases, implementated on Wednesday, are going to hit consumers hard, with disposable income coming under increasing pressure as the cost of living soars.

Fuel accounts for a significant portion of the expenses for any household or business, but there are ways to ensure that you maximise your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, both in terms of vehicle maintenance and by adapting your driving style, according to Aftermarket Solutions (AS), Africa’s largest replacement automotive parts company.

With rising fuel costs, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained, using quality parts and reputable workshops. This will ensure that your car is operating optimally, thereby reducing fuel consumption and overall running costs.

Aside from looking after your car properly, the way you drive also plays a crucial role in determining fuel consumption. By adapting your driving style and eliminating bad habits, you can ease the pressure on your wallet.

Use these vehicle maintenance and driving tips from Aftermarket Solutions to minimise fuel costs and stretch your hard-earned income a bit further.

Vehicle:

Regular servicing:

It’s important to have your vehicle serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals. On petrol-engined vehicles this is typically every 15 000 to 30 000 km, while diesel engines usually vary between 5 000 and 15 000 km intervals.

If you don’t reach that mileage in one year, the service should be done annually.

The service parts replaced generally include engine oil, air, fuel and oil filters as well as spark plugs – all of which directly impact on performance and fuel efficiency.

Ensure that quality parts are used. Over 300 Midas stores are located across Southern Africa, and stock a wide range of service parts from established brands, as well as affordable private label value brands from Aftermarket Solutions that are backed by a national warranty.

Ensure that the servicing is done by a reputable service centre, and is done according to the vehicle manufacturer’s stipulated service schedule. Aftermarket Solutions has over 70 Auto Care & Diagnostics (ACD) centres around the country that specialize in vehicle servicing, maintenance and repairs.

Tyre pressures:

Check your tyre pressures regularly. Driving with tyres below the ideal pressures produces more rolling resistance, thus increasing fuel consumption.

Driving:

  • High gear, low engine speed: Change gears when the engine reaches approximately 2 500 r/min. The higher your engine speed, the more fuel is used. Engage the highest gear as soon as possible.
  • Look and plan ahead: Monitor the driving conditions, and anticipate the traffic around you to avoid unnecessary accelerating, braking and wasting fuel while idling at traffic lights.
  • Stick to the speed limits: It sounds obvious, but driving conservatively, and within the relevant speed limits, results in improved fuel economy. Consumption increases dramatically as speed rises. It’s safer too …
  • Stay in gear: Always keep the car in gear, even when driving downhill. Modern fuel injection systems are highly sophisticated, and only use fuel when required. Cruising downhill with your foot off the accelerator and the car in gear uses zero fuel!
  • Switch off: Turn off the engine if the car is stationary for longer than 30 sec. Idling simply wastes fuel.
  • Watch yourself: If your car has a fuel consumption gauge, monitor your fuel economy, and look out for your car’s increasing range on each tank as you eliminate those bad driving habits!