This is the best way to get the most of what you have. Reducing the use of the air-conditioning system is a good way to start. Try and use the ventilator system as much as possible and avoid using the air-conditioner unnecessarily.
Keep the engine tuned. A misfiring sparkplug can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 per cent and a rough-running engine also uses more fuel than a properly-tuned engine. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
Use a fuel with good detergent additives to help keep the engine clean and performing efficiently. It is not necessary that only an expensive grade of fuel can increase your engine's efficiency. Use what your car needs.
Never let the needle on the fuel gauge go all the way down to 'empty' before refuelling as this can cause dirt from the bottom of the fuel tank to get into the fuel line and cause blockage. Also, cleaning the fuel tank every three years is advisable.
If you've let the fuel run down to rockbottom very often, you might find your car stalling and sputtering. The solution is to get the fuel line cleaned and ensure there is always sufficient fuel in the tank.
The coolant is what helps your engine keep its cool. Most cars today have a sealed cooling system that doesn't need daily topping up. But yet again, it's advisable to check coolant level once a week when the engine is cold. The ratio of water and coolant should be equal. Most radiators have a rated pressure cap that allows the coolant to flow into the overflow bottle when it reaches operating temperature. When the coolant reaches ambient temperature, it is drawn back into the radiator.
Check your tyres regularly to see that they are properly inflated. Tyres that are not properly inflated lead to fuel being wasted, as the engine has to work harder to push the vehicle.
Also wheels that are not properly aligned, as for example wheels pointing in the same direction, fight with each other, making the engine work harder and wasting fuel. Properly maintained tires will also last longer.
Adjust tyre pressure when the tyre is hot - when the vehicle has run for 15 to 20 kms. Hot air expands, and if tyre pressure is corrected when the engine is cold, you could end up with excess air in the tyres.
It has been proved that tyres play a major role in fuel efficiency, and their importance is growing as the number of car-owners increase. Most often it is the neglect of tyres that results in poor fuel economy and rapid tread wear.
Try to fill fuel in the mornings, as specific gravity of fuel is high in the morning. Drive in the range of 40-60 kmph. The mileage per litre of fuel decreases sharply above 60 kmph.
Drive gently. Start slowly and avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stops-and-starts. Use the fifth gear on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible. Every time you pump the accelerator, you are pumping more fuel into the engine. So it is better to maintain a constant speed to save fuel. Even if you do drive at high speed make sure that you ease your foot off the accelerator pedal just enough to maintain the speed while not keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor. This ensures that excess fuel is not being unnecessarily burnt.
Avoid clutch riding - make sure that your foot is not resting on the clutch pedal while driving. This will reduce both your clutch life and your mileage. Driving with your foot resting on the clutch again spells doom for the clutch plates and hitting road irregularities like speed-breakers and potholes hard will put a strain on the suspension components. This will reduce both your clutch life and your mileage.
Always drive in the correct gear for your speed - it reduces wear and tear on the engine components and also provides improved fuel efficiency. Another bad habit is starting the engine with the lights or air-conditioner on. This imposes a high load on the battery and can reduce battery life, not to mention the load on the starter operating with lesser power from the battery.
While cruising at high speeds, ease your foot off the accelerator pedal just enough to maintain the speed while not keeping the accelerator pedal on the floor. This will ensure that excess fuel is not being burnt unnecessarily. Don't keep the engine running unnecessarily. Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for traffic lights, friends and family.
Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance fuel economy by keeping less weight on the front area of the car. Therefore, avoid piling luggage on the roof rack and keeping car windows open as this imposes a wind drag on your car, which hurts fuel economy. In other words, streamline your car as much as possible. Store luggage or cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof.
Engine oil is very important for a car and has to be given due attention. Engines need to be oiled for two reasons. In the first place engine oil lubricates the movement of the engine parts, reducing friction of the parts, which means less wear and tear and heat build-up.
Secondly, oil collects all the unwanted foreign matter like dirt and grime that gets sucked into the engine through the air intake. Though the air cleaner cleans most of it but some do get past the cleaner. Hence the longer oil stays in your engine the dirtier it gets. Even the best quality of oils can hold a certain amount of contaminants. This requires you to change the oil frequently before it gets overloaded and damages the engine's vital parts.
Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and more important than fuel. Running out of fuel would just stop the engine, but dirty or insufficient oil can inflict irreversible damage. Check oil level with a dipstick regularly - as a rule of thumb, do this before you start the car for the day every week and each time you fill up fuel.
The correct procedure for checking oil is to pull out the dipstick, wipe it dry and then insert it back in its place. Pull it out after five seconds to get an accurate reading on the level. The level should be in between the high- and low-level indicators. If it is in between, there is no need to top up the level.
But just checking the level is not enough; you must notice the colour and viscosity of the oil. If the oil is very dirty or too thin, change it immediately. Filling up excess oil leads to foaming and thick white smoke as the engine burns up the excess oil. Keep an eye on the oil pressure light on the dashboard when you start the car. The light should glow for a moment and then go off. If it doesn't, it indicates a problem with the lubrication system.
It is not really good for the vehicle to top up old oil with new. It is advisable to drain out the old and dirty oil and replace it with fresh oil. If the car seems to be burning up oil and you find the oil level progressively getting lower, then you should get it checked by a qualified mechanic.
What are the factors that can make your car give a better than average mileage? Our cars run on fuel, which, to some, is a thick viscous liquid that needs to be filled in the petrol tank periodically.
But, in fact, fuel is more than just that. It is the source of energy by combustion founded largely in two types -unleaded petrol and diesel. However, for a diesel engine, only diesel as a fuel can be used.
Unleaded petrol fuel comes in two grades, which depends upon their octane ratings -regular (87-89 octane) and premium (90-93 octane). Most petrol fuels contain a host of additives expected to enhance octane rating, lower engine knock and counteract water. One should do well to keep in mind that the type of octane rating preferred by your car could be different from that of your neighbour's.
Moreover, it is no use paying for a higher-octane fuel than what your car needs. Use what is just enough for your car - not too much, not too less. Using the lowest octane provides the best results.
Go by the instructions in your car manual. It is unwise to use fuel not recommended by your car manufacturer. After all, they made your car so they know it the best.