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Top 6 tips for eco driving

As we’re all looking for ways to save money where we can, the family car is often one of the last places to look to free up some extra dollars. However, did you know that there is a lot of money to be saved through correct maintenance and vehicle preparation?

Tyre pressures

The first and most important tip for fuel efficient driving is maintaining the correct tyre pressures. No matter your vehicle or your driving style, if your tyres are underinflated, they will have a parasitic effect on your fuel mileage.

An underinflated tyre has a large contact patch with the road, and will require more energy to start moving, and to maintain speed.

Not to mention, an underinflated tyre experiences large amounts of heat as the sidewalls flex with every rotation. This heat builds up and is a main contributing factor in a majority of tyre blowouts at highway speeds.

Person attaching air filler hose to tyre valve

Your recommended tyre pressures are listed in your vehicle owner's manual, as well as a tyre placard sticker, usually placed in the driver’s door jamb.

Correctly inflated tyres run cooler and last longer and have lower rolling resistance, which helps with safety and your wallet!

Choose the right tyres for your driving

Tyre choice plays a large role in fuel economy too. You might have perfectly adjusted tyre pressures, but like-for-like, an aggressive Mud Terrain tyre has more rolling resistance than a Highway Terrain.

Likewise, high performance sports tyres are designed to provide outstanding performance in the wet and dry, but at the cost of fuel economy. Stickier rubber grips the road more effectively, but at the cost of increased drag on the road surface.

Sports tyres and Mud Terrains are great at what they were designed to do, but if your vehicle also sees a lot of commuter or highway driving, it’s not completely unreasonable to make the compromise and use a different style tyre, or even have multiple sets of wheels and tyres!

Vehicle maintenance

There are a great many interconnected systems operating inside a modern car that work together to ensure the engine is running efficiently at all times. If even one of them isn’t working correctly, it means you’re leaving performance and fuel economy on the table.

A great way to ensure your vehicle is running at peak efficiency is to ensure you are using the correct fuel and that any servicing is carried out on schedule, as per your manufacturer’s recommended service intervals.

Lighten the load

Removing unnecessary items from your car will also reduce the amount of weight your engine has to lug around.

Family SUV with tailgate open, filled with loose items

There are always essentials you should keep in your car such as a medical kit, spare tyre, a jack, and maybe a spare headlight globe, but if the inside of your vehicle looks like an episode of ‘Hoarders’ then you need to have a clean up. If not for the fuel economy concerns, then for safety. In the event of a collision, loose items in the passenger compartment can become deadly projectiles.

Change your driving habits

It doesn’t matter about how well maintained your vehicle is if you treat the accelerator like an on-off switch. Smooth takeoffs and gradual speed changes are the name of the game when it comes to making the most from a tank of fuel.

Try to anticipate changes in traffic speed in advance and coast down when you see traffic slowing down ahead. Using the brakes to slow down means you have wasted energy getting to a higher speed than you needed to begin with. Tailgating in start-stop traffic is also a fuel economy killer.

Turn off the A/C

Air conditioning is a great way to keep the inside of your car at a pleasant temperature, but when it’s nice outside, think about turning it off and rolling the windows down instead. The air conditioning compressor is run by a pulley from your engine and requires a good amount of power to turn.

Turning off the air conditioning in your car will magnetically disconnect the compressor from your engine drive belt, freeing up more power and lowering fuel consumption. Rolling your windows down will be more economical up until about 90-100 kilometers per hour, where wind drag will become greater than the energy required to simply run the air conditioning compressor.

Person driving car with child in the back seat and windows down

Talk to Donnellans today!

For a comprehensive mechanical inspection and service, as well as expert tyre advice including tyre pressures and tyre choice, come see the expert team at Donnellans the Tyremen today. With 5 stores in Blackburn, Collingwood, Preston, Prahran and Balwyn, we have a convenient location near you.

Contact us today!