Car driving and car maintenance tips

by Dino Green on May 20, 2012

Have you ever considered the amount of energy consumed by your vehicle?
In U.S, transportation accounts to approximately 72% of total oil consumption – specifically for gas. If you think you have done everything you could to save energy from using your car then perhaps you are indeed getting the best gas mileage your vehicle can give you.Nonetheless, having a reminder look at these easy mileage tips may still help you reduce your fuel consumption and save money.

Car driving tips

  • Plan your route combining trips

It may be easier said than done, but pays off if you make an effort in planning your trips as much as possible. This may be very difficult especially if you have a busy schedule. However, by planning your trips considering traffic time, optimum route and engine conditions (warming-up to efficient conditions), it can pay off in reduced distance you travel while saving you time and money.

  • Avoid aggressive driving

If you are speeding, rapidly accelerating and hard-braking, that’s aggressive driving! And it can be lowering you mileage anywhere between 5% to 33% for driving in a city and on a highway respectively. Eliminating aggressive driving will save you more! Not only in reduced fuel consumption but also in lower maintenance and repair costs.

  • Avoid idling your car

Idling is when you are stand still with your engine running; i.e. moving with 0 miles/hr and making 0 miles/gallon while burning fuel. If you are not going anywhere for more than 20 seconds then it is a good idea to switch off your engine. In fact, you should keep in mind that 10 seconds of idling consumes more energy than switching and restarting your engine. Reducing idling of your vehicle can help you increase your car mileage.

  • Control speed and acceleration

The effects of driving at high speeds are similar to aggressive driving discussed previously;

From the graph above one can see how fuel economy reduces after a speed of 60 mph. It is important to be aware of your vehicle’s optimum speed limit and keep your speed under control. If driving on a highway, make use of cruise control if your car has one. It helps you maintain a constant speed which saves you money.

  • Remove unnecessary excess weight

By driving around with unnecessary weight in your car you are actually wasting fuel energy – Each vehicle’s consumption to weight may vary depending to the vehicle’s own weight but in general, excess weight costs you more money. Try to keep an eye of what you keep in your car while moving – if you have any load that you don’t really use often and that you don’t need for safety or for cases of emergency consider removing it – try making this a habit!

Car maintenance tips

  • Is your car in shape? – Engine tuned up?

Tuning your car engine and monitoring engine emissions can help increase your mileage by around 4% – subject to type and general condition of the vehicle. Other machine components are even more sensitive to your mileage if not maintained properly; for example a malfunction of the oxygen sensor can impact your mileage by 40%.

  • Check tyre pressure

By keeping your tyres inflated to manufacturer’s recommended pressure may increase your mileage by 3-4%.  Moreover, keeping your tyres in shape is a safety matter for you and your passengers – so safe driving is always more economical! If you are not sure about the proper tyre pressure this is usually shown on a sticker in the driver’s door side or on the gasoline cover or in the car manual. If you cannot find it, people at a petrol station may be able to help you.

  • Use recommended engine oil

Engine oil is used for reducing friction of your engine components – thus using the motor oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer is highly important. You may also ask for an appropriate ‘energy conserving’ oil for reducing engine friction even further.

  • Check the air-filter

A study for gasoline powered vehicles has shown that replacing a clogged air filter may increase their mileage (this is applicable to older technology gasoline cars) or it may improve their acceleration time (applicable to modern technology cars with a fuel-injection system).

  • Check for car condition-indications

By checking your car indicators you keep it under regular maintenance reducing engine and other component failures. In return, well maintained sparks, braking systems, engine bases, transmission fluids etc. can help you avoid fuel economy problems.

Other driving saving tips and advice

  • What car do you really need?

To be energy efficient in using your car, it implies using the right car according to your needs and lifestyle; smaller lighter cars are easier to drive in cities offering lower consumption, better manoeuvrability and flexibility in parking spaces. If you need a heavy duty vehicle for moving in long distances on the highway, you may consider buying larger cars with cruise efficiency systems. If you need a vehicle for heavy use you may consider a diesel car; diesel can come with around 30% higher efficiency than equivalent gasoline-powered cars.

  • Is your car highly-efficient?

If you are planning to buy a new car, apart from choosing it according to your needs, you should also look into new high-efficiency technologies in ecology cars; these include plug-in all-electric (PHEV) cars, hybrid electric or alternative powered vehicles. A Green, ecological car may not only help save the environment – it will also save you money!

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