How to save money and petrol

Fuel costs, a tougher economy and an unhappy consumer market are pushing motorists to get better returns out of their vehicles

Rising fuel costs, a weakening rand and a tougher economic environment, alongside an ever-increasing interest rate and generally negative sentiment among consumers, are just some of the factors attributed to the biggest decline this year so far in new vehicle sales in South Africa.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) reported a 9% year-on-year drop, with passenger car sales of the total market making up a 13,2% fall year-on-year.

Motorists are holding onto their vehicles for longer, so the need to maintain your car and get as much value out of it as possible is becoming increasingly important.

This summer Aftermarket Solutions has launched 10 easy-to-follow tips for ensuring that you not only gain optimal vehicle performance, but also make greater savings in the long run.

  1. Consolidate your trips. Frequent, sometimes unnecessary driving not only consumes fuel, but also adds to our congested roads and highways. Save time and fuel by tackling several errands in one trip.
  2. Keep your windows closed. Open windows add drag to a vehicle, which contributes to higher petrol bills. Keeping your windows up and the airconditioner on helps improve the aerodynamics of your vehicle and saves you fuel.
  3. Use start-stop technology. Many newer vehicles come with this environmentally friendly, fuel-saving on-off system. For older vehicles, switch your vehicle off when you’re waiting for someone, and put it into neutral at red traffic lights to reduce load on the engine.
  4. Keep your tyres properly inflated. Read your vehicle owner’s manual to understand what the correct pressure should be, but also when to reduce or increase it, depending on the load of the vehicle or the surface of the road. Check your tyre pressure at least twice a month, and replace tyres when necessary at a vehicle servicing workshop like ACD.
  5. Avoid hard braking/acceleration. This aggressive way of driving wastes fuel, is bad for the planet and wears out your brakepads faster. Replace your brakepads when necessary – you can get them at a Midas store or visit your nearest CBS Workshop.
  6. Service your vehicle regularly. A well-maintained vehicle that is regularly checked for the correct oil and cooling-system levels, and disposables like tyres and lights, will give you better, longer service and ensure a decent resale price.
  7. Slow down. Driving fast forces your engine to work harder by pumping out and consuming more fuel. The optimal cruising speed is 80-90 kph.
  8. Use your gears properly. To avoid damaging expensive parts, drivers of manual cars should drive in the right gear and change gears smoothly.
  9. Use the highways. Stop-start driving on smaller, more congested streets consumes more fuel . Get onto a highway where you can maintain a more regular, consistent speed.
  10. Buy a less expensive car. A new vehicle isn’t an investment – the moment you drive it off the showroom floor, your ‘asset’ begins depreciating in value. For city dwellers, buying a cheaper, smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle to help you make greater savings in the long run.