Saturday, April 17, 2004

Ways to save fuel
H. Kishie Singh

Correct tyre pressure improves fuel average
Correct tyre pressure improves fuel average

STATISTICS can provide a tremendous insight into our driving habits.

It is estimated that every morning, around the world, 120 million people drive to work. Out of this, 102 million drive alone. It is a tremendous waste of fuel. According to the authorities that have been monitoring such habits, there is an easy solution: car pools. Almost, overnight there could be a 30 per cent reduction of cars on the roads. This would result in a number of advantages like less congestion, fewer traffic jams, less stress to the individual driver, less pollution, more parking space, and less maintenance cost incurred on each car. The other important outcome will be that the dwindling commodity called oil will be preserved.

However, to try out this solution, we will have to change our lifestyle. We have come to depend on the car so heavily that we take it for granted. The car pool will mean that we wonít have a car at our disposal at all times, and we will have to be more organised and disciplined.

There are other ways in which you can save fuel and money. The most neglected, and probably the most important, part of a car is the tyre. Correct tyre pressure will improve your fuel average instantly. It will also improve the road holding, straight-line tracking, cornering and braking. Uneven tyre pressure can cause the car to pull to one side during braking. You will end up going where you didnít want to go.

A set of new tyres, which have an even tread and are properly balanced, will provide better reliability and rollability. This will also result in the engine using less energy to move the car. Worn-out tyres actually create road resistance. The engine has to labour to move the car. This burns extra fuel. Worn-out tyres can also affect road holding and braking.

Tyres are your only contact with terra firma, hence special attention must be paid to them.
A visual inspection reveals a lot. Look for cuts, bruises and bulges. Radial tyres have comparatively weaker sidewalls. They can be damaged even if they simply scrape a pavement.
Another important point: unidirectional tyres must be fitted in the direction of rotation as advised by the manufacturer. The other day I was at a car showroom, one of the biggest in the city. To my horror, I saw that the front two tyres, the drive wheels, of a car were facing the wrong direction. The car had a 1600 cc engine and could turn out 150 kmph on the road. But by fitting the tyres in the wrong direction, the car had zero road-holding capacity. A very dangerous situation, indeed. Since these tyres are new in the market, we have not yet absorbed the meaning of unidirectional tyres. We must realise that they operate only in one direction.
Please pay close attention to such details.

Happy motoring.