ClickaCar’s Guide To Fuel Saving

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Buying a used car on ClickaCar is easy but with budget constraints hitting more and more South Africans, getting the best deal on that used car from one of our ClickaCertified dealers is just half the fun of your money-saving adventure.

The other half is ensuring that you save your wallet from the ever-rising local petrol price which haunts all South African drivers. So, now that you’ve found the perfect fuel saver on ClickaCar, how do you make sure that you save even more at the pumps? Well, that’s why we’re here to help out with our handy ClickaCar Guide to Fuel-saving!

1. Get Your Car Serviced

The first step to increasing your car’s fuel economy is to have it properly serviced. An oil change, new oil filter, petrol and air filters, sparkplugs, and a radiator flush will not only give your car better fuel economy but will also increase long-term reliability. Regular workshop stamps in your service book also increase the value of your car.

Apart from the standard service items, use the time that your car is at a workshop to have other parts inspected. Worn or slack timing and fan belts also put added strain on the engine, decreasing fuel economy. The bonus of having your belts changed regularly is that it decreases the chance of landing up stuck at the side of the road because a fan belt or worse; a timing belt has decided to call it quits.

2. Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Your tyres are the only thing keeping your car in contact with the road, and you want to ensure that they have the least amount of rolling resistance while still keeping you safe.

To ensure that rolling resistance is kept to a minimum, have your wheels aligned every 5000-6000km, after having any suspension or brake work carried out or after hitting a pothole.  Aside from the fuel-saving advantages, having your wheels aligned reduces tyre wear, which saves money.

You also need to ensure that your tyres are inflated correctly. Under-inflated tyres cause more rolling resistance that decreases fuel economy and can lead to a blow-out.

Finally, make sure you have the correct tyres fitted to your car. Wider tyres increase rolling resistance, and narrow tyres reduce safety, so you need to find a balance. It is best to refer to the manufacturer’s specs when choosing tyres.

3. Reduce Your Weight

A heavy car uses more fuel, plain and simple. So make sure that you are not carrying anything unnecessary inside your car. Do you need to travel to work with your golf clubs every day, or are the two 15” subwoofers in your boot a must?

Another way to cut down on the weight in your car is inside your fuel tank! Petrol weighs about 0.77kg per litre, and somewhat ironically, driving around with a full tank decreases fuel economy. So, it is best to keep your tank half full for daily commuting and fill up only for long journeys.

4. Nice and Slippery

Just like reducing weight, reducing your car’s air resistance will also reduce your petrol bill. So ask yourself, do you need to drive around with your roof box when you’re not heading down to the coast for your annual holiday or how much do you need that massive race car wing when your car isn’t a race car?

Wind resistance is something that many people never think about, but if you have ever driven a boxy truck or SUV on a highway, you'll understand how much it affects the "smoothness" of the drive.

5. Change Your Style

Many of us love performance cars, and some of you may love revving your engine because you think it sounds cool. But it’s not cool for your fuel economy. During your regular commute, you do not need to build revs or accelerate hard every time the traffic light turns greens.

Pull off gently and build momentum instead, allowing you to build speed. You also won’t need to hit the brakes as hard if the next traffic light turns red.

6. Gear Up

If you drive a manual car, then one of the easiest ways to reduce your fuel consumption is by making sure that you are in the highest gear possible in relation to your driving situation.

By shifting into a higher gear whenever possible, you reduce the engine speed which decreases the amount of fuel it needs.  The general rule is to select the lowest gear possible when driving up a hill while selecting the highest gear possible when driving downhill.

7. Plan Your Trips

One of the easiest ways to reduce your car’s fuel consumption is by planning your trips a little more carefully. So make sure that you plan your trips around everything that you need to get done, allowing you to reduce the amount of fuel you use driving from one place to the next.

So next time that you need to pick up the kids, do the shopping and then fetch the dry cleaning, make sure that you do it in one trip and visit the same centre if possible.

8. Idle Cars are the Devil Playground 

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to idle your car to warm it up. Idling your car longer than 10 seconds is a waste of fuel. 

What you should do is drive your car at low revs for around 10-20 mins, allowing the engine oil to warm up and circulate easier before cruising in a higher rev range. This will help you save fuel and save your engine from unnecessary wear and tear.

9. Don’t Rush For Rush Hour

One of the worst fuel (and time) wasters is sitting in traffic. Sitting there while your car idles and gulps away fuel is enough to drive up your anxiety levels.

If you want to avoid this, try and work your schedule in a way that avoids rush hour. If you can leave home earlier or later and then return home earlier or later, do that instead, and enjoy both the open road and spending less time at your local petrol station.

10. If You Don’t Need It, Don’t Use It

This is a tough one given South Africa’s hot summers, but try to avoid using your aircon whenever possible. The aircon puts added strain on your motor increasing the amount of fuel your engine uses. 

The same applies to anything that puts any added pressure on your electrical system, meaning that your alternator now has to work harder and, you guessed it, makes your engine work harder.

Let’s face it, putting fuel in your car is a grudge purchase that nobody enjoys, but by following these simple ClickaCar tips, you can spend less time at the petrol station and more time finding your next dream car on ClickaCar.

Do you have any other fuel-saving tips?  Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to tell us all about it.