Fuel expenses, as people who own cars already know, is one of the most ‘painful’ incurrences to budget for. There is nothing that quite compares to the feeling of owning your first car, but as most seasoned car owners will tell you, that sweet high feeling is usually brought back down to earth by fuel expenses, especially if your car has a larger engine. Just recently, at the beginning of the year, the Kenyan Energy Regulation Commission announced that fuel prices were expected to rise, meaning car owners will have to go deeper into their pockets to fuel their vehicles.
Be that as it may, with the determinants of fuel prices being beyond our normal scope of control, there are a few tips that can help you save and manage your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
Avoid Overloading Your Car.
The more weight you carry in your car, the more fuel it’s going to need to move it. So avoid carrying unnecessary weight in your car, especially over long distances, since it will overwork your car’s suspension on top of consuming more fuel. So unload and unpack those bags in your car’s trunk, it could save you a few pretty pennies on your daily/weekly/monthly fuel expenses. Also, the next time you give your friends’ a ride long distance, you may want to ask them to chip in for fuel.
Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly.
Another factor that determines whether your vehicle consumes more fuel, is tire pressure. The lower your tire pressure, the more fuel that your car’s engine will consume in order to move your vehicle. Therefore, it is advisable to check your tire pressure regularly, with the recommended rate being once in a fortnight. Also, in case you don’t know how much your tire pressure should be, you could get it checked out at any petrol station, as they often do it for free for their customers or at a very small charge.
Avoid Free Rolling Your Car.
Contrary to popular opinion, free-rolling your car or driving it while in neutral (in the case of automatic vehicles) does not save fuel. Not only does it not conserve fuel but is also a dangerous practice, as most cars do not handle well while in neutral and so the driver has less control over the vehicle, therefore making it more susceptible to accidents when unexpected road hazards come up. As long as the car is moving, and racking up revolutions (RPMs), fuel is still being injected into the engine and is being consumed, therefore, it makes no practical sense to put your car in neutral from a fuel conservation standpoint, and also just endangers your life for no reason.
Know Your City’s Traffic Patterns.
The biggest factor that adds to fuel expenses is traffic. Yes, traffic. Not only do you waste fuel while stuck in traffic but you also put undue pressure on your vehicle’s braking system, as you are constantly accelerating and braking repeatedly. Traffic increases your vehicle’s fuel consumption because, every time you stop and then start your car, it has to go back to first gear, which uses a large amount of fuel to get your car moving again. So, it is advisable to know your city’s traffic patterns and avoid driving through the rush hour. You can also consider leaving home or work early so as to not get caught up in traffic.
Maintain and Service Your Vehicle Regularly.
This should go without saying. Proper maintenance and servicing of your vehicle are an absolute must-do for every car owner. This is not only important for the conservation of fuel but also ensures your vehicle operates efficiently and without any complications. It is recommended that you should service your car (including an oil and filter change) every six months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. It might seem like an extreme practice, not to mention a quite expensive one, but your car will thank you later and you will begin to notice a few fewer zeros on the amount of money you use on your car’s fuel. Here are 10 Things Your Mechanic Won’t Tell You