Time to take back control, and boost your wallet with these effective tips on how you can save fuel. Now it’s time to have a frugal focus on fuel saving. Keeping the weight low is key, because extra weight is extra waste. But how else can we prepare the car for reduced fuel use?
With these three extra pointers, you should experience a noticeable increase in fuel economy, as I have. Fuel tends to be the largest expense for some cars, after the purchase price. This is particularly the case for vehicles that are frequently used, such as taxis or commuter cars. This advice therefore has the potential to save a lot.
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Any mention of oil normally leads people to address the engine oil, and rightly so. We must change the engine oil periodically because it’s important to reduce friction. It also provides a degree of cleaning and helps to keep the engine cool. However, the majority of people tend to stop at the engine and not realise that there is oil to be changed (and friction to be reduced) elsewhere. Some ignore the rest of the transmission system and the oil that needs. This is where we can get ahead, and keep our cars healthier and more economical for longer. I had my engine oil and filter changed for around £60 in total. The exact price for other cars will vary because larger engines with more cylinders will require more lubrication.
Admittedly I too forgot this other oil, but luckily my car reminded me by sometimes jumping out of gear! This is common when manual gearbox oil is due a change. Took the car to the garage, did the change, and was immediately greeted with increases in fuel economy and gears that did as requested. Clearly this is good for safety as well as reliability. The oil and labour was about £75 in total for my vehicle. This is therefore a cheap way to make sure that vehicle remains safe, reliable and economical for a while yet.
Wheel alignment is the cheap and simple art of making sure that all of the car’s road wheels are pointing in the right direction. Sounds obvious, but the alignment of a vehicle can be negatively affected by two main causes: Kerbing and potholes. The resulting impact from hitting a pothole at speed, or kerbing a wheel on the pavement while parking can cause a small change in the direction in which the road wheel would naturally point when the steering wheel is held in the straight-ahead position.
The other drawback of hitting a pothole at speed could be that this could cause a wheel to become out of balance (which will at best cause annoying vibration). It could also cause a wheel to become buckled, which is just dangerous. Both of the end results will cause the engine to use more fuel, as it takes more energy to rotate a wheel that won’t rotate evenly.
Wheels pointing out of alignment can cause the tyres to slightly scrub along the surface of the road, rather than just rolling normally. The tyres will need more energy to rotate them, and they will wear out faster. Both of these are a further drain on your finances. I had the alignment performed on my car for around an inexpensive £30. This puts less strain on parts and kept me away from fuel stations.
Sticking with tyres, a key fuel saving aspect is to keep them inflated properly. Under-inflated tyres resist rolling, which means the engine has to use more energy (fuel) to make the car move. Under inflated tyres also cause a degree of delay when turning the car, as there won’t be as strong or direct a connection between wheel and road. The reduced air pressure and softness may improve the ride, but will completely ruin the handling. Over inflated tyres will reduce the tyre’s grip on the road, and it will cause it to wear unevenly. Nowadays, there are places where we can adjust the tyre pressures for free (typically supermarkets). Increasing the pressure marginally when travelling long distance at relatively high speed is something I do and would recommend to others, to make the car more stable.
There is an optimum range for most tyres: mine is between 30 and 35 PSI. It’s also good to remember that tyre pressures will change depending on how we drive, how far and the sort of driving that we do. It’s therefore important that the pressure check is done before the journey starts, and adjustments made from there.
So there you have it. Three of my top reliable tips on having a frugal focus on fuel saving. You may have noticed that I haven’t suggested how often any of these tips should be carried out. All that detail (and more) will appear in the next page, which is all about high mileage and long life. Hope this information proves as useful for many as it has been for me.
Since implementing these maintenance tips, the average fuel consumption of my focus has risen by around 2 mpg. The car has also become smoother to drive, and tracks the road more reliably. Thus there is not only a fuel saving aspect, but a safety aspect to these tips as well. Being safe saves money. Crashes are not cheap on any level. I don’t and will never advocate saving money on critical areas of the car for this reason, and I’ve seen what can happen when owners do. Both the vehicle and the individuals deserve better.