Running a car isn’t cheap. Even if it’s old, the cost of fuel is rising. So much so that people are using other modes of transport for essential journeys. Even since April last year, fuel prices have risen. Petrol now stands at 126.5p and diesel at 129.7p — up 15p and 13p respectively from this time last year.
With fuel prices rising, there’s no better time to conserve your fuel. With that said, let’s look at nine ways to improve your car’s fuel efficiency.
1. Check your tyre pressure
Your tyres are partly responsible for keeping you moving, so it’s no surprise they make this list. Inflating your tyres to match the numbers in your handbook could save you up to 3% of fuel. Not only this, but it reduces rolling resistance too — which prolongs the tyre’s life.
Under inflated tyres could cost you a small fortune. It takes only a slight distortion (caused by incorrect tyre pressure) for a tyre to become less fuel-efficient. The lower the tyre pressure, the more fuel your car needs to push them around.
2. Look for the EU tyre label
Let’s continue the tyre theme. Choosing the right tyres for your car is key, as they account for up to 20% of a car’s fuel consumption.
First off, make sure you buy new tyres, always. New tyres come with an EU Tyre Label that gives you information on noise, wet grip and fuel efficiency.
A tyre’s fuel efficiency ranks from A to F, with A for those that use the least fuel and F for those that use the most. A-rated tyres will burn less fuel because they need less power to roll.
If you’re buying new tyres and want a fuel efficient option, look at the EU Tyre Label for guidance.
3. Lighten the load
This one’s simple. When it comes to saving fuel, stripping your car of unnecessary weight is key. It could save you up to 2% of fuel. If you can’t strip weight, try to avoid stop-start driving — as getting a heavy car moving burns a lot of fuel.
Using a car for storage isn’t uncommon, but get out of the habit if you want to improve your fuel efficiency (and save money). On average, an extra 50kg will increase fuel consumption by 1-2%. While this might not seem like a lot, it adds up. Thus, only carry items that you need.
4. Service your car regularly
Now for the biggy. Regular maintenance can save you up to 10% of fuel. Getting your car serviced will keep it in good shape and running well.
There are so many things that can go wrong with a car that can be fatal to how it performs and burns fuel. Things like an old spark plug misfiring or oil degrading. All of which you can avoid by getting your car serviced regularly.
An oil filter change is a big part of a car service, whether it’s an interim, full or major service. (Check out our blog to learn the differences between an interim and full service.) Not only does it improve your MPG, but it’s essential for keeping your car in a roadworthy condition. Other things checked in a service include suspension, steering, brakes, wheels, tyres, coolant, air filter, the list goes on.
We recommend a full service annually or every 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). To get booked in, locate your local First Stop garage here.
5. Use your air con sparingly and re-fuel regularly
Turning your AC off is another way to save fuel. When you’re stuck in traffic — whether it’s in the city or on a motorway — open your window instead.
Stop-start driving naturally uses more fuel. Throw air con into the mix and your fuel consumption could increase by up to 8%.
But here’s another thing.
Have you had your air con regassed recently? You need this done every two years to keep your AC fresh and cold. The last thing you want is your AC blowing hot air in summer. But as well as being hot, you’ll be out of pocket too, as your car will burn more fuel trying to make the hot air cold — to which it won’t succeed.
To book an air conditioning service, or to learn more about your AC unit, click here.
6. Look at your driving style
While the other things on this list focus on your car, this one is all about you. As the driver, you’re mostly in charge of your MPG. Bad driving habits such as heavy braking and hard acceleration will increase your MPG and burn up to 3% more fuel.
Using cruise control and sticking to the speed limit are two ways to save fuel on long journeys. The harder you push the pedals, the more fuel you use, remember that.
7. Get a wheel alignment check
If you’re in need of a wheel alignment check, this could be the reason why your car is burning more fuel than normal. Having a wheel alignment check once a year will make sure your car’s tyres wear evenly. What’s more, it could also extend their life a further 12,000 miles!
All it takes is a tiny wheel impairment for your tyres to wear out unevenly. Nasty vibration through the steering wheel is a sign that your wheels aren’t aligned. So if you’re experiencing this, get it looked at right away. Not only can it damage the tread, but it can cause them to spin unevenly around the axle too, causing long-term damage.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so book your wheel alignment check with First Stop today.
8. Compare the fuel prices in your area
Shopping around for fuel could save you a lot of money in the long run. Because petrol stations vary in price, researching the prices in your area is a great way to save some money.
Check out supermarket loyalty schemes too. Places like Asda and Tesco give you points that you can use on petrol as well as food. And if you’ve got a long drive ahead, use Google Maps to plan the most fuel-efficient route.
9. Use engine stop/start
Most modern cars have stop-start technology. Its sole purpose is to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions, though, despite this, people shy away from it. And instead, burn fuel by holding down the clutch. If your car has stop-start technology, make sure you use it.
Improve your fuel efficiency with First Stop
So there you have it!
Most of the elements we’ve spoken about to help reduce your car’s fuel consumption centre around its condition. You must take care of your car if you want to improve its fuel efficiency, and you can do this by having regular services and by looking after your tyres.
To book a service at First Stop, use our branch selector to find your nearest garage.