Good Motoring
H. Kishie Singh 
Car care will ensure good mileage

Reduce the fuel consumption of your car by keeping the engine in A1 condition

At a recent seminar hosted by the consumer forum, Chandigarh, the topic was “Fuel Efficiency — Measures for Personal Vehicles.” India imports crude and has no control of the price in the international market. Unrest in Libya, New York Stock Exchange twitches, US-Pak strained relations — all have had an effect on the oil prices. The best way to fight the rising fuel prices is to be frugal with the fuel you put in your tank.

First of all, check your tyre pressure. If the pressure is correct, the fuel consumption will improve. Use nitrogen instead of air to inflate your tyres. It is an inert gas and does not react to external temperatures. The tyre pressure stays constant and you won’t need to check it more than a couple of times a year. This will also improve braking, cornering and straight-line stability.

Have your tyres balanced and alignment checked. This will also help. Switch to tubeless radial tyres. They are perfectly round and provide easier rolling. No tube, less friction, less heat build-up. Tyre pressure stays constant and tyre life is increased.

Reduce your idling time. It is common to see a man sitting in the car, A/C on while his wife has gone shopping. Complete waste of fuel. Think about your money, the country's economy and about the environment. Idling your car throws out higher carbon emissions.

Carry less weight in your car. I know some one who carries three sets of golf clubs, trolleys and umbrellas at all times in his car. It must be about 500 kg (half a ton), or 4-5 passengers in the car at all times. This promises excessive fuel consumption.

Drag is the opposite of aero-dynamic. Take a good-looking, fuel-efficient, aero-dynamic car, and put a roof rack on it. You kill its looks as well as fuel efficiency. On the highway, with a huge carrier on the roof, you will reduce your fuel efficiency by 50 per cent.

Drag is just that. It drags your car back. You will need to press harder on the accelerator to maintain speed. Fuel wasted.

A correct gear change is important for good fuel average. If you have a tachometer, an rpm counter, make use if it. It will help to change gears at optimum speed and give good fuel average.

Most cars today have overdrive in fourth and fifth gears. Overdrive maintains the speed but drops the engine rpm, which results in fuel efficiency.

Fifth gear is for highway cruising. Fourth gear is good for the city. You can pick up from 20 kmph to 50 kmph without straining the engine. Take your foot off the accelerator, and the engine will slow the car down. Step on the accelerator and speed up. No using brakes or clutch to change gears. Lower maintenance bills. Lesser fuel consumption.

To really be assured of low fuel consumption, your engine must be in A1 condition. Avail the services of only the authorised dealer to tune up your car. A sidewalk mechanic in Sector 27-28 is not capable.

Most important for your engine to run efficiently after a tune-up is the engine oil with the right viscosity. If the manufacturer recommends 10.W-30, do not use 5.W-30. It makes a difference to engine performance plus the longevity of the engine. A badly-tuned engine uses 50 per cent more fuel. A wrong engine oil shortens the engine life span.

An air filter is one of the most important fitments in your car engine. A chocked air filter will increase fuel consumption by 10-20 per cent. It will reduce performance. It may damage the engine. Don't bother cleaning your air filter. Replace with a new filter and your car will run like new.

On a long journey, a steady speed will give you a 30 per cent improvement in fuel average. Fast driving, hard braking not only waste fuel, it is hard on the tyres, brakes and clutch. It is also uncomfortable for the passengers.

Read your owner’s manual. You will be a wiser driver, if not better. One sure way of saving fuel and money — don't drive your car! Happy motoring.

The best way to fight the rising fuel prices is to follow the vehicle owner’s manual in letter and in spirit. Maintain the recommended tyre pressure. This will ensure low consumption. Have your tyres balanced and alignment checked. Carry less weight in your car. Avail the services of only the authorised dealer to tune up your car