Tips to ensure motorists get the best mileage out of their tank

The continuing increase in the fuel price is no joke and if motorists neglect their car maintenance, it will not help in their efforts to save fuel.  

The better you maintain your car and the more mindfully you drive it, the better your fuel consumption will be.

It is, however, a combination of things that will produce optimum and acceptable fuel efficiency.

Vishal Premlall, national director of the Tyres Equipment Parts Association (Tepa), a proud affiliate of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), says with the fuel price continuing to spike it is more important than ever to make sure your car’s health is not adversely affecting its fuel consumption.

Among the factors that influence fuel consumption, are temperature, travelling environment and long trips, driving style and of course, the overall mechanical condition of your vehicle.

“Also, if you take your car out on short trips often you will notice higher fuel consumption. This is because all vehicles are least efficient and most polluting at the start of a journey and during short trips. Trips of less than five kilometres don’t allow the engine to reach its optimum operating temperature, so the engine uses more fuel,” he says.

Les Richardson, Tepa’s vice chairperson, offers these 10 additional tips as a reminder of how easy it is to ensure you are getting the best mileage out of your tank:

  1. Keep your tyres at the recommended pressure. Not only does this extend tyre life, but it keeps you and your loved ones safe on the road. Underinflated tyres cost you petrol consumption.
  2. Have your wheel alignment checked every 8 000km to 10 000km. Proper alignment extends your tyre life, contributes to safer handling in an emergency and is better for fuel economy.
  3. Keep your car clean and light. Every additional kilogram of unnecessary weight costs you fuel whenever you accelerate, so remove items that don’t really need to be in the vehicle.
  4. Service your car at the required intervals. An optimally running engine is more fuel-efficient and knowing that your brakes and other consumable parts are working correctly will give you peace of mind. Remember your Tepa parts outlet will recommend the right part for you.
  5. Check your tyres. Do you have the right ones on your car? Wider tyres may look good, but sometimes they are noisier and the increased rolling resistance increases fuel consumption.
  6. Check the mileage. If your car has more than 100 000km on the odometer, consider having your catalytic converter checked as a clogged exhaust limits the free flow of gasses and affects performance and fuel economy.
  7. If your vehicle has cruise control, consider using it more often as a consistent speed could save you fuel (and speeding fines).
  8. Don’t think you use less fuel if you drive with your windows open and turn off the air con. The reverse is actually true as it creates additional drag, which affects your fuel economy. It is wiser to drive with the windows closed. There are other benefits too, like it is less noisy and makes you less of a target for opportunistic criminals.
  9. Coasting with your car in neutral is more dangerous than keeping it in control and in gear. In fact, modern vehicles shut the fuel delivery system down or reduce the fuel when the engine is not under load, e.g. decelerating.
  10. The best fuel-saving tip is to share a trip. Rather drive together to get to the same destination than each of you driving separately. Plus, it has the added bonus of making the trip more fun and interactive. And then, using a GPS app to assist with avoiding traffic congestion and plot the shortest route for you, will also save fuel.

“Apart from good fuel economy, there are many other benefits to making sure your car is in good health and in optimal working order. For starters, it will serve you better for longer and be less likely to break down. Also, regular maintenance will promote its value, making it easier to sell if you decide to do so,” concludes Premlall.

Source: Cathy Findley PR

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