Vehicle maintenance critical to improving fuel economy

Staying on top of maintenance can save you money

Reuben Van Niekerk
fuel economy
fuel saving
vehicle maintenance

Ensuring that your vehicle is adequately maintained is imperative in ensuring that it is able to perform as it should in terms of fuel economy. Furthermore fixing serious issues could have a big effect on your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

It is a good idea to keep a diligent record of your cars fuel consumption, as this will allow you to quickly identify if your car is using more fuel than normal. This can be done by resetting the car’s trip meter and fuel consumption gauge every time you fill up or keeping a physical record of how many kilometres you have travelled compared to the litres used, every time you fill up. Knowing how much fuel your car is really using on average will make it easier to notice any spikes in fuel consumption.

An increase in fuel consumption could point to a mechanical or service related fault that needs rectifying, however keeping an eye on the following factors can help you stay ahead of unwanted rises in your average fuel consumption.

Check your tyres

Make sure that your tyres are adequately inflated by checking the pressures at least once a month. These pressures will be indicated in the fuel flap or door pillar as well as in the owner’s manual. It is a good idea to invest in a tyre pressure gauge and to check tyre pressures when the tyres are cold to ensure a consistent reading, as forecourt gauges can often be inaccurate.

Service your car regularly

It goes without saying that it is imperative to service your vehicle in line with the manufacturers guidelines. These guidelines are both mileage and time based, so keep an eye on the calendar if you are doing less mileage these days.

Ensure that the correct grade of oil is used when your vehicle is serviced as per the manufacturers specifications as this can have an effect on fuel consumption, by making the engine work harder than it should.

Replace filters 

Replace clogged air filters. While manufacturers will recommend the replacement of air filters at predetermined intervals this can vary depending on your driving conditions. If you often drive in dusty conditions, your air filter will require replacing far more regularly.

Check the cap

Make sure that your fuel cap is properly secured and locked. Damaged or missing petrol caps allow petrol to vaporise or evaporate. Also keep an eye out for any fuel leaks or the smell of fuel and get those checked out immediately if they do occur.

Fix small issues before they become big problems

Regular maintenance and repair of any issues is key to saving money on fuel, but also saving on repair bills in the long run, because very often a small issue left unattended will become a big issue over time.