How to Make an Old Car More Fuel Efficient
How to Make an Old Car More Fuel Efficient
With the cost of fuel, along with most other bills, rising sharply during 2022 and expected further increases in 2023, almost everyone is tightening their belts and looking for ways to be more fuel efficient. Read on to find out our tips on how to make an old car more fuel efficient.
Improve Fuel Efficiency in Your Car
When looking for ways to become more fuel efficient we often start by looking at ways to save energy in the home, but what about petrol and diesel prices and the fuel efficiency of your car? Here we look at ways to help you improve fuel efficiency and fuel consumption in older vehicles and classic cars.
Check your tyre pressures
If you are not sure what the correct tyre pressures for your car should be, check the manual or look online. Some very clever bods arrived at that number to deliver an optimal driving experience, and that includes for your fuel economy.
Tyres may naturally lose a little pressure every month, increasing resistance, and the energy required to overcome it. In short, flatter tyres means reduced fuel efficiency. That does not mean however that you should ever over-inflate your car tyres to compensate, this can reduce driving comfort, and result in damage to your tyres and your car. Over-inflated tyres may blow out causing an increased likelihood of an accident or loss of control of the vehicle. So, always ensure your car's fuel efficiency is optimised by keeping your tyres at the recommended tyre pressure.
Driving more economically can do wonders for your fuel consumption. Turn on engine stop, eco mode, change up early, accelerate slowly, use cruise control, and brake gently to not only improve driver and passenger comfort and road safety, but your fuel economy too.
Have you ever noticed how taxi drivers are always looking at least two cars ahead? How they take off and brake gently and ensure a smooth drive? This is not only for the comfort of their passengers, but also to help them improve fuel efficiency, a huge cost on their line of work.
If you choose to follow the taxi driver's example and look ahead to pre-empt what you need to do next and prepare for that change good and early. This may help improve safety and improve fuel efficiency.
Don't carry unnecessary weight
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve fuel efficiency is to have a clear out. Lugging around stuff you don't need is a chief culprit of reduced fuel efficiency, and also one of the easiest to fix. Clear out the boot, and other storage areas, all of which add up to add weight to your vehicle and reduce fuel economy.
Only use air conditioning when you really need to
It is generally accepted that switching on air conditioning in cars reduces fuel efficiency, but what can you do to make it more efficient?
You may be aware that an air conditioning regas is recommended every two years, but sometimes car owners adopt an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' view and don't get their air con regassed until it is pushing out warm air.
When air con refrigerant starts to get low the car has to work harder to produce cold air, and you may stat to notice that it is not as cold as it could be. The extra work involved uses more fuel, and the system may still not be able to produce truly cold air, meaning a loss on two fronts, so make sure you keep your a/c in top condition with regular checks and regas at a maximum of every two years.
Ensure regular maintenance of your car
Every car deserves regular servicing and maintenance to keep them running in top shape, but some aspects can have a significant impact on fuel economy.
Take spark plugs, for example. These nifty little parts sit in the top of the cylinder head and create the spark that starts the combustion process in your engine. The National Institute for Automotive Services reports that damaged or worn spark plugs can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30%. Signs that your spark plugs need replacing include starting issues, rough idling, misfiring, sluggish acceleration, and of course increased fuel consumption.
You may assume this goes without saying, but ensuring you have a fuel cap in place, and that the seal is undamaged. A missing or damaged fuel cap results in evaporate of fuel and escaping gas, meaning you pay for fuel which literally evaporates into thin air and reduces your fuel economy.
Even the quality and condition of your engine oil can have an impact on fuel efficiency. Using the wrong engine oil can have a range of negative and possibly damaging effects on your car engine, but one of the less critical issues you may experience is reduced fuel economy. One size does not fit all and using an engine oil with the right specification and viscosity can help improve the fuel economy of your car at any age.
How to Improve Fuel Efficiency in Classic Cars
While many of the fuel efficiency tips above can be used to drive better fuel economy in classic cars, there are a few other things you can do to help your vintage vehicle run more efficiently and save fuel.
Drive your classic car regularly
Classic cars need to be driven just as modern cars do, to help prevent seizing parts and ensure smooth running for longer. If you rarely take your classic car out for a run, start driving it more often and you should see an improvement in fuel efficiency fairly quickly.
Mods and Tune Ups
For many classic car owners, the idea of replacing older parts with new, or modifying the engine may be abhorrent. But to save fuel and get better fuel efficiency from your vintage runner, it may be worth considering a more modern approach. It's not for everyone, but if you are happy with some mild modernisation to your engine you can improve fuel economy and get more miles per gallon on each trip.
Older vehicles should have an engine tune up every 10,000 - 15,000 miles to keep gas mileage effiicent and ensure smooth running for many years to come. Modern cars could benefit from improved fuel efficiency from tune ups as they get to a higher mileage, but it is not common practice unless the car is a performance vehicle.
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