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10 fuel-saving driving tips

With South Africa’s ever-fluctuating fuel price, budgets are continuously being squeezed tighter. The effect of driving habits on fuel consumption is often underestimated – but minor tweaks can help protect your pocket.
Here are 10 tips from Imperial Auto to help your drive more efficiently:
Reduce drag

Wind resistance or drag increases fuel consumption. There are many things that cause or increase drag, including: driving with the windows open and attaching carriers or bikes to the roof. To decrease drag, keep the windows closed, especially at high speeds, and attach additional weight to the rear of the car instead of the roof.

Smooth and steady

Every time you brake and acceleration harshly, it guzzles fuel. Keep a safe following distance and avoid speeding off from a green traffic light.

Slow down

High speeds result in high fuel consumption. It’s as simple as that! At 110km/h, your car uses up to 5% more fuel than it would cruising at a more moderate 90km/h.

Maintenance

Get your car serviced regularly to maintain engine efficiency. Many components in your car impact fuel consumption and if they’re not working properly, you could be paying a hefty price. Everything from dirty oil and dirty air filters to dirty injectors, a faulty exhaust, worn spark plugs and low coolant levels can contribute to bad fuel efficiency, so make sure they all get a regular check-up.

Battery drain

As a rule, anything that puts a drain on the battery will put a drain on your fuel economy – like air conditioning. Even worse is a battery in poor condition. Ensure you keep a check on your battery’s health.

Choose your gear

The higher gear you drive in, the lower your engine speed is, which can improve fuel efficiency. So always change up a gear whenever your car comfortably can.

Align and inflate

Incorrect wheel alignment and underinflated tyres leads to increased resistance between the tyres and the road, which in turn leads to higher fuel consumption, as well as increased wear on tyres. Check your tyre pressure at least once a month. Alignment should be checked at least once a year, but a check every six months, or after incidents like hitting a pothole or curb, is advisable.

Reduce weight

A lighter car will use less fuel, so don’t drive around with unnecessary items in your boot and unless you’re on a long journey

Avoid congestion

If you can avoid major congestion, do. It will end up saving you time, frustration and of course, fuel. If you can’t wait, use alternative, less congested routes.

Switch on and go

Idling gets you nowhere, but still burns fuel. As a rule, if you’re in a queue, or waiting for someone for more than 10 seconds – switch off your engine.

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