How to Improve Your Car's Mileage in 8 Simple Steps
With Pakistan oil prices hitting a seven-year low this month, now is the ideal time to make the switch from CNG to Petrol, and drive your car to your heart's content. Crude oil prices are declining every month and we hope this will reflect positive on our economy. However, these royal times definitely won't last forever, and it does not hurt to keep your car's mileage in check to make your fuel consumption expenditure well within your budget. This post is going to deal with everything you need to know about checking and maintaining your car's mileage at its maximum efficiency.
Checking Your Car's Mileage
In our country, regular check for mileage is a fairly uncommon practice. However, it is vital to keep an eye on your cars odometer if you have any hope of controlling its mileage to suit your needs. Some modern vehicles come equipped with mileage displays, but those tend to be a little too optimistic and therefore are untrustworthy. Here's a straightforward way to check how many kilometers your car travels per liter:
Fill the tank to its limit (where the pump cuts it off)
Set your trip counter to zero
When you have consumed half the fuel, get your tank filled to the brim again
Make note of both your trip counter's reading and the number of liters you put in the car the second time
Your car's mileage is the distance traveled divided by the number of liters of fuel it consumed (i.e. the amount of fuel required to refill the half-empty tank)
Got a lower value than expected? Don't worry. Read on for tips to sort this out before you make up your mind to sell your car for a better one.
Control the Acceleration
You may have heard that on ‘long routes' cars offer better mileage compared to city travels. The simple explanation of this phenomenon lies in your braking pattern: whenever the car comes to a complete stop (at a traffic signal or obstacle), it takes more fuel to get it back to normal speed than it does to keep going steadily for a long time. You can save fuel by avoiding hitting full brakes as much as you can. For example, if you see a green signal in the distance, instead of accelerating to catch it, let it turn red. Reduce your speed so you reach it when it turns green again and don't have to stop completely.
Don't Drive Too Fast
The most optimum speed for highway travel is approximately 105 – 110 km/h. Beyond this speed, your car's mileage drops by as much as 15%, because more engine power is being consumed to overcome road drag, which translates to higher fuel consumption. Saving some fuel is always better than trying to get to your destination marginally quicker.
High Octane is Unnecessary
This tip doesn't improve your mileage per se, but saves you money. If you've been told by a wise man that high octane will uplift your car's performance, don't pay heed to the advice. High Octane fuel is specifically recommended for use in high-performance cars. For most of the cars we have in Pakistan, our usual “Super Unleaded” is good enough.
Keep Tire Pressure in Check At All Times
Fix one day of the week to get the pressure in all your car's tires checked (including the spare). This is imperative because when tire's pressure is low, rolling resistance on the road is increased and this takes a toll on your car's mileage. Check for manufacturer-recommended values on the internet beforehand and stick to them.
Get Better Tires
Once tires get old, their rolling resistance increases. Many recommend changing them after every 2 to 3 years depending on your usage. Try and find tires with low rolling resistance. They may be a tad more expensive than normal tires, but save you money on fuel in the long run.
If you love taking long trips over the weekends with your friends, a roof rack is an ideal addition for your car to accommodate the entire luggage. However, when it's not in use, it compromises your car's mileage by adding to the drag. For improvement, it is recommended that you detach the roof rack during the weekdays or whenever it's not likely to be in use for a long time.
Regularly Change Oil and Air Filters
Your car's air filter is its first line of defense against the dust and dirt in the air. Over time, it clogs up with all the filth it has stopped from entering the engine. It needs to be taken out and cleaned regularly. With the degree of pollution in Pakistan, you must change your car's air filter every 6 months for smooth functioning. If you don't, the engine doesn't suck air efficiently, and more petrol is used to keep it running smoothly. Engine oil and oil filter need to be regularly changed too. A delay in changing engine oil can severely damage the innards of your car because of increased friction.
Regularly Change Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are hard workers. Carbon deposits accumulate on them over time and considerably reduce their competence, catapulting the mileage. Therefore, after every 50,000 km, it is recommended that you get them changed. Even if you keep getting them cleaned after every 30,000 km, they will last long.
Cleaning Fuel Injectors
Fuel Injectors are carbon magnets, they need to be professionally cleaned as frequently as the spark plugs. The best solution is to take your car to an authorized dealership's service center and get both fuel injectors and spark plugs cleaned by professionals. This dramatically improves your car's mileage, as it gives your engine more breathing space by reducing the load on it considerably.
This regime is not hard to adhere to and is very resourceful in maintaining your car's mileage at desirable levels. Even though little changes in your car's mileage may not sound considerable, when calculated annually they save you a huge amount of money to be spent elsewhere. For instance, if you spend Rs. 100,000 on fuel every year, a 15% improvement saves you Rs. 15,000 annually. The above mentioned tips will not only improve your car's performance, but also will enhance its engine's life.
Do you have more tips to improve your car's fuel consumption? Please share with Carmudians. Stay tuned for more guidelines on Pakistan oil prices.
usd to pkr = 1 United States Dollar equals
131.11 Pakistani Rupee