Driving Habits: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
It’s no secret that fuel prices are on the rise, and that driving habits can affect how much money we spend on fuel. What may be less known, however, is which driving habits are the worst offenders when it comes to fuel efficiency. In this article, we explore some of the most common bad driving habits that can hurt your wallet and your car in the long run. We’ll also offer some advice on how to improve your fuel economy.
Bad Driving Habits That Can Impact Fuel Economy
If you want to save on fuel, it all starts with your driving habits as different behaviours can affect your car in many ways, including fuel efficiency and long-term damage. By understanding these techniques, and avoiding some of them, you could save on fuel and money.
Driving Too Fast
One of the biggest culprits for reduced fuel economy is driving too fast with aggressive acceleration and braking hard when you don’t need to. This type of aggressive driving causes your engine to work harder, burning more fuel in the process. It can also wear your brake pads faster and reduce tyre life due to sudden stops and starts.
To improve your fuel economy, try to maintain a consistent speed and plan your deceleration ahead of time. This will also help reduce the amount of exhaust released into the atmosphere. Did you know that reducing your speed from 80mph to 70mph could save as much as 25% on fuel? Going down another 10mph to 60mph can help you save an additional 10%, according to the AA.
Unnecessary And Excessive Idling
Another major contributor to inefficient driving is excessive idling. When you leave your vehicle running while parked or stopped in traffic, it’s still burning fuel even though you’re not going anywhere. This not only wastes fuel but also pollutes the air with more toxins than necessary. Instead, if you don’t know how long you are being delayed, it’s better to turn off your engine and conserve fuel until you’re ready to move again.
Revving The Engine When It’s Cold
While all vehicles start from cold, it’s important to never rev the engine until it has had a chance to warm up properly. Not doing so could cause abrupt temperature changes and possibly damage components. It can also lead to wear on engine parts that have not yet been lubricated with the oil circulating as it should. Let your car idle for a minute or so to give the oil time to warm and circulate around the engine.
Bad Driving Habits And Not Maintaining Your Car Properly
Improper maintenance can also decrease your fuel economy significantly. Dirty oil, clogged air filters, low tyre pressure, and faulty spark plugs can all lead to decreased engine performance and reduced fuel efficiency. To ensure you get the most from your tank, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance and inspections according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
Contact your nearest Elite Garages today if you need a standard or premium service. You will find our service centres across the south and southeast of England, including Brighton, Portsmouth, Newport (Isle of Wight), Southampton, Shaftesbury, Maidstone, Caterham and Bournemouth among others.
Using The Wrong Gears
One of the best ways to achieve high mpg is by driving in the highest gear possible for your car while staying within the speed limit. The best tactic in urban areas is to change gears at lower revs, approximately 2000rpm as the faster your engine is spinning, the more fuel consumes.
Not Inflating Tyres To The Correct Pressure
You may already know that under-inflated or over-inflated tyres can affect your vehicle’s handling but they can also significantly increase your fuel consumption. Since tyres naturally lose around 2 PSI of air each month, it’s important to check your tyre pressure regularly and to the correct pressure. This will help prolong the life of the tyre tread and improve fuel efficiency and rolling resistance on the road.
Driving With Excess Weight
Another bad driving habit is carrying extra weight. Remember, the heavier your vehicle, the more fuel it will use, especially in stop-and-go traffic. We’re all guilty of using our cars as storage places for everything from golf clubs to prams, files and books. On average, an extra 50kg of weight can increase fuel consumption by 1-2%. So we recommend that you only carry essential items and declutter your car regularly.
Using Roof Rails or Roof Racks
Roof racks increase air resistance which impacts the engine’s performance and reduces your mileage. Carrying items on a roof rack, such as bicycles, skis and storage pods can decrease your mpg by up to 8% in city driving and 25% on motorways.
Driving Habits That Could Damage Your Car
Over time, bad driving habits can cause damage to your car’s engine and other components. To ensure your car lives longer, here are some of the most common driving habits you should avoid:
- Don’t ride the clutch as this can cause premature wear
- Avoid pushing the engine too hard as the sudden surge of power puts extra strain on the engine
- Unless you’re changing gears, don’t rest your hand on the gear lever as it adds weight to the transmission and selector fork which could cause premature wear
- When going downhill, don’t drag your brakes but rather shift into a lower gear, lightly apply the brakes and then release the pedal to help cool the brakes
- Don’t drive with a low fuel tank as it could cause the pump to heat up and wear out faster. Keep your tank at least a quarter full
The Importance Of Vehicle Maintenance And Practicing Good Driving Habits
One of the best ways to get the most out of your vehicle and save on fuel is to keep it well-maintained. Regularly checking your oil and other fluid levels and tyres can make a big difference in how well your car runs. Vehicle maintenance also helps improve safety as many fatal motorway accidents in the UK involve under-inflated or worn tyres.
In addition to keeping your vehicle in good condition, certain driving habits can also help, including driving at a steady speed and avoiding highly congested routes by planning your trips. You can also benefit from fuel-efficient technologies such as cruise control and energy-saving settings in newer cars.
Car Servicing At Elite Garages
At Elite Garages, we understand how important high-quality service is for vehicle maintenance, which is why all of our technicians are highly trained and experienced. We also have state-of-the-art equipment and the latest diagnostic equipment to help diagnose and fix any issues.
We offer a range of services depending on your vehicle’s needs and budget, such as servicing, MOT testing, engine repairs, batteries, clutch replacements, cambelt replacement and tyres to name a few. By avoiding certain bad driving habits, you can help keep your car in good condition while saving money on fuel and expensive repairs.