Tuesday, July 6, 2010

If you own a car – you’d better read this

Everyone laments the rise in oil prices (so do I as well), but still continues to speed the car as if one was out there to extinguish fire at some place. We seldom realize that many things that we don’t do, are in fact the main cause of use of more fuel and expensive travelling. I was once asked to deliver a lecture on fuel economy and better driving to a group of would-be-drivers of my outfit. I went looking for tips on fuel economy and other measures to maintain a vehicle for its optimum usage. Herein under are some of those tips that I still remember and try out myself even now.

The first tip is to “maintain correct tire pressure.” Read your vehicle manual and find out the recommended tire pressure separately for summers and winters. One tire pressure throughout the year is not recommended. An under or over inflated tire becomes a drag and results in lesser kilometers per litre of fuel. A correct tire pressure not only gives you extra distance, it also keeps the tire healthy to last longer. Remember a physically fit person runs longer without huffing and coughing as against an overweight person who tires out just after a few steps. Being overweight or under-nourished is proportionally related to an inflated or deflated tire.

Drive at a constant speed and do not unnecessarily press your accelerator to pump in extra fuel into the engine. I often see cars overt speeding, bypassing me like jets as if to take off before the next signal. But I find the same car waiting ahead of me at the red signal. Driving excessively fast may only make a difference of minutes, not hours. So keeping a steady speed not only ensures smooth running of the engine, less wear and tear of the engine parts and the tires. Sudden and stronger brakes are injurious to the tires. If your car has the option of “cruise,” use it often as it ensure steady drive. And for those with higher blood pressures, faster speeds continuously increase the blood pressure, which may damage heart.

Maintain correct engine / brake oil levels. Make it a habit to at least check these levels once a week and specially before moving out of the town. Use recommended oils and change these (beside maintaining their level) periodically as specified in the car manual. Overdue oil loses its viscosity which means less efficient lubrication and more wear and tear of the engine. And remember not to go for instant oil changing through machines installed at petrol/gas stations. These machines only suck out oil from the top of the engine, while the debris-fill bad oil remains down there in the sump. Always get the oil drained from the lower drain plug, so that all metal chunks as a result of wear and tear of the engine also flushes out.

Like oil changing, change the fuel and air filters too. Dirty filters add harmful substances to the engine, which means more power usage by the engine (using extra oil) to maintain a given speed.

Timings of your drive matter a lot to saving on your fuel bill. During rush hours, vehicles burn more fuel. Standing in queues for longer duration with engine running unnecessarily burns more fuel, especially in summers when the air conditioner is also on. If the rush hours can be avoided, well and good. Otherwise get to know roads with less congestion to/from office/home. Do not get trapped in traffic jams. And remember to have adequate fuel in your car as more often than not there are news of a number of vehicles running out of fuel while stuck in the heavy traffic. Sometimes, a bogged down vehicle causes more nuisance on a narrow road, since it cannot be salvaged off the road instantly.

And finally one last point. “Lose Weight.” Yours to stay healthy and that of the car as well. Do not dump unnecessary things back in the boot of the car. Empty your boot on the first available opportunity on reaching home. A heavier back is always a drag on the efficient running of the engine and results in use of extra fuel.

So shape up yourself as well as your car. You will feel the difference yourself.


Anonymous said...

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Shirazi said...

Very useful.

Anonymous said...

The saying goes:

"If everything is under control when you are driving than you are not driving fast enough"


Jalal HB said...

Thank you all for your comments