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Cutting fuel expenses: Autodoc experts provide you with simple tips aimed to save your money

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You have noticed your car consuming more petrol, and the till slips you get at filling stations creating "black holes" in your budget? We will help you to understand the most common reasons for that and tell you how to cut down fuel expences.

Malfunctions of which systems can increase the level of fuel consumption?

Clutch. Friction linings, worn from abrasion or contaminated by oil, loss of resilience by compression springs, and worn out sealing elements can cause clutch slip, and, thus, deteriorate vehicle's traction characteristics. Pressing the accelerator pedal once more will restore the engine power, though if you do it repeteadly, fuel consumption will grow significantly.

Cooling system. At cold season, jamming of the thermostat valve in an open position makes the coolant liquid heating up to an ordinary operating temperature for a longer time. Therefore, more fuel is needed to aid the engine warming-up. If any of heating exchange processes in your vehicle is disrupted, the consequences are the same.

Piston-cylinder unit. When components of this unit are used beyond their service life, the pressure gets lower in working cylinders. As a result, the power unit loses its capacity, therefore, it needs more fuel to restore it.

Sensors. Their malfunction leads to impoper formation of the air-fuel mixture. Regardless of whether the mixture is of low or high petrol content, it will increase fuel consumption.

Intake system. Air filter clogging prevents a free inflowing of air into the combustion chamber. The fuel consumption can grow up to 20% because of the high resistance of the part to the air inflow.

What kind of mistakes do drivers make?

Quite often, drivers do not pay attention to vehicles' operating recommencations provided by manufacturers. As a rule, the following mistakes can increase the fuel comsumption:

Improper adjustment of the running gear parts. Overtightened wheel hub bolts, wheels misalignment and low tyre pressure can increase rolling resistance. As a result, spinning-up the wheels requires more power.

Low-quality fuel. Using poor-quality fuel can cause, among other problems, injectors contamination, thus, their flow capacity and ability to form the air-fuel mixture are disrupted. The fuel consumption is considerably increased so far.

Using substandard oil. Highly-viscous oil doesn't ensure proper lubrication of engine parts. With friction force being increased, the level of fuel consumption goes higher.

Vehicle operates under high-load conditions. Every extra 100 kg increase the level of fuel consumption by 10%. A cargo basket increases aerodynamic resistance, eventually causing extra expense. A fully loaded basket increases fuel consumption by 40%, and an empty one, by 5%. A cargo box specifically designed to increase the car's aerodynamic properties would be a great replacement for a basket. Don't transport unnecessary items to avoid overloading your vehicle (e.g., anti-skid chain needn't be transported during warm season).

Driving with your windows and hatch open. It surely worsens your car aerodynamic properties, particularly when driving at speeds exceeding 50 km/h. To resist the air flow, the engine will need more power, hence, more fuel.

Agressive driving style. Rough start and braking will overload your power unit.

Your air conditioner or multimedia system is constantly on. This leads to fuel consumption increase by, respectively, 15% and 7%. If you can't avoid using the air conditioner, at least try setting it on Low or only switching it on from time to time.

Use headlights only when necessary. Driving with the main beam on makes your engine consume 10% more fuel, while keeping lower beam on adds extra 5%.

Installing additional equipment. Spoilers, body kits and extra lights, if not factory installed, can increase aerodynamic resistance. Your vehicle engine will have to consume more power in order to accelerate to a certain speed.

5 essential fuel saving tips

Timely replacement of any worn down parts and consumables should be followed. Fully operable vehicle consumes as much fuel as specified in the technical manual. Thus, if you wish to save on fuel, get your car maintained on time. If any of the above mentioned system malfunctions were detected, you should consult service station specialists.

Do your best to follow timely replacement of air filters, oil, coolants, etc. This way, you will not only decrease fuel consumption, but also avoid repairing any important systems and components. Consider using only those coolants with properties corresponding to the parameters stated in your vehicle's technical manual.

Change your driving manner as follows:

  • Try to press the accelerator pedal as gradually as you can, speeding your engine up to 2000-2500 rpm (if diesel), and to 2500-3000 rpm respectively (if petrol).
  • Learn how to use engine braking. Avoiding forced torque drop can help you to cut down fuel consumption significantly.
  • Switch the engine off in case your car remains stationary for more than a minute or so. If compared to start, your engine consumes more fuel for 10 seconds when idling.
  • Monitor your engine speed: at smooth running, 1500 - 2000 rpm are produced by a diesel engine and 2000 - 2500 rpm - by a petrol engine, respectively.
  • Leave enough space ahead so as not to use your brakes all the time.

Check tyre pressure regularly. If the pressure drops by 0,7 bar, it will add extra 7% to fuel consumption. When inflating your tyres, choose the suitable pressure specified by the manufacturer to make the contact patch smaller, and to resist the aquaplaning.

Thoroughly plan your route. Thus, most of the time you can drive with constant speed. To do this, the GPS navigator will help you.

Use LED light units instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. You can decrease fuel consumption by installing more energy-efficient bulbs into your vehicle side marker lights, registration plate light or passenger compartment.

Conclusion

According to German Road Safety Council (Deutschen Verkehrssicherheitsrat e.V. (DVR), maintaining fuel-efficient driving will help you to reduce fuel costs by 25%. If you follow all the above-stated recommendations, keep your vehicle properly serviced and clean, it will not only minimize your fuel consumption, but also extend your vehicle lifetime.

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