Simple steps to save money on petrol, diesel

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Against the backdrop of the recent hike in the pump price of petrol, it’s just sensible that you cultivate a fuel-saving driving habit like the ones itemised below.

Drive sensibly

Aggressive driving (i.e. speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) will increase your petrol-mileage usage by 33 per cent at expressway drive and by 5 per cent on inner-city rides. Anticipate traffic situations and maintain adequate pacing and spacing between vehicles to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. When you need to accelerate, do so smoothly at a gradual and moderate rate. Sensible driving is generally safer, so you may save more than petrol money. Driver feedback devices can help you drive more efficiently, leading to behavioural changes that can improve fuel economy by up to 20 per cent. Those who may be interested in installing some of these electronic auto management devices can text “install” to 08080806686.

Remove excess weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 km in your vehicle could reduce your fuel economy by around 1 per cent. The increment is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Avoid excessive idling

Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle.

Use cruise control

Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save petrol. It’s just unfortunate that our roads are generally not smooth enough for the ease of use of cruise control.

Keep engine properly tuned

Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune (i.e. that needs a major service, not just oil change) or has failed an emissions test can improve its petrol mileage by an average of 4 per cent. However, results vary based on the type of repair and how well it is done. Call 01-440-66-66 for a better understanding of the meaning of tune-up service.

Keep tyres properly inflated

You can improve your petrol mileage by up to 3.3 per cent by keeping your tyres inflated to the proper (neither over nor under) pressure. Under-inflated tyres can lower petrol mileage by 0.3 per cent for every one psi (per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tyres. Properly inflated tyres are safer and last longer. The proper tyre pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver’s side door-pole or the glovebox, as well as in your owner’s manual. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tyre’s sidewall.

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Use recommended grade of motor oil

You can improve your petrol mileage by one to two per cent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can increase your fuel consumption by one to two per cent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can increase your fuel consumption by one to 1.5 per cent. For those who may find getting the right specification of manufacturer’s specified motor oil for their vehicles easily in their local auto markets, you can order the right quality of oil recommended by your vehicles’ manufacturers from www.automedicsshop.com. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol, to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Replacing a clogged air filter on modern cars improves performance, not fuel economy

Replacing a clogged air filter on vehicles with fuel-injected, computer-controlled petrol engines—such as those manufactured from the early 1980s to the present—or diesel engines does not improve fuel economy, but it can improve acceleration. Replacing a clogged air filter on an older vehicle with a carburetted engine can improve both fuel economy and acceleration by a small percentage under normal replacement conditions.

Other ways to save fuel

Combining trips can reduce the distance you drive, and it allows you to travel more miles when your engine is warm. Your engine runs more efficiently when it is warmed up to its optimal working condition.

  • Stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours so that you spend less time in stop-and-go traffic (stop-and-go traffic is the worst driving condition for fuel conservation and the most abrasive for the internal condition of the average engine).
  • Drive your most fuel-efficient vehicle more often.
  • Participate in carpools and ride-share programmes.
  • Walk or cycle short distances when possible.
  • Use public transit buses (like BRT in Lagos) if it is available and convenient for you to use.
  • Buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

FEEDBACK

My vehicle is hard to start when the engine is cold, especially in the morning. Sometimes, the battery runs down while I am trying to start the vehicle. The fuel pump, filter and injector have been replaced but the problem persists.

—Anonymous

The engine probably needs a major tune-up and you can also run a scan on the engine to see if something else is causing the problem of hard-starting that you’ve observed.

I am having a problem with the selection gear. Sometimes the reverse and drive modes act like they are in the neutral mode. That is, it doesn’t go into reverse and drive like it used to. Please, what could cause this problem and what could be done to set it right?

—Anonymous

You will need to bring the vehicle to our workshop for diagnosis or take it to any other workshop with competent technicians, but the transmission has a fault that needs to be looked at as soon as possible.

Please, is it advisable using transmission fluid for power steering? Is it the same fluid for the gearbox? Please, do you sell the RX 300 gear fluid in your workshop? Thanks.

—Anonymous

Yes, you can use it. And you can get the right specified fluid in our spare parts department or at our online shop: www.automedicsshop.com .

When I take my leg off the acceleration pedal or slow down for potholes, and I try to accelerate again by pressing the pedal, the car does not move until the RPM (revolutions per minute) goes down. Sometimes, I still have to turn off the ignition and restart it to put the gear on ‘D’ before it would then move. Meanwhile, when the engine is hot, maybe when I drive from Iju to Ikeja, it would not malfunction throughout the day until the next morning. The reverse has never malfunctioned, just the ‘D’ and the light does not flicker when I am driving but the ‘Check Engine’ light comes on.

—Anonymous

With the ‘Check Engine’ light coming on, I believe the transmission has a fault that needs to be diagnosed. It’s an indication that there’s need for the transmission to be scanned. The result will guide you on what to do about fixing it.

My car is losing water and there are no visible leaks. I recently embarked on a trip outside Lagos and on my return, the red light over the temperature indicator started blinking. I checked under the hood and noticed that the radiator/coolant reservoir was empty. I currently have to refill the radiator every other day and I know that this cannot be right. I have not asked a mechanic to look at it yet but I have considered changing the radiator cap to see if the springs are weak. What is your advice please?

—Anonymous

If you’re losing coolant, definitely, there’s a leak somewhere in the engine; it could be external or internal. A coolant pressure test will reveal the leak.

While driving, the car motion stopped while the engine was still running. When I applied the accelerator, there was no response. I saw “AWD off” displayed and a spanner sign. I switched off the engine and restarted it and it worked. This occurred twice. Currently, the check engine light is on. It failed to start after working for some time, so I packed the car and I want to start the car again. Please, what can I do?

—Anonymous

Please, run a scan on the power train system; the result will guide you on what to do.

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Rayo
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