15 tips to reduce fuel consumption: Mechanical technique

After spending so much money on a car, you might continue to spend more to fill up the tank. Let’s look at some tips that are useful for cutting down your fuel budget.

1. Eco modes

The first tip jump into minds might be the Eco mode, which is available for most car nowadays. This automatically controls the vehicle to save fuel: it keeps the vehicle moving at low engine speeds, switches off the engine when it is not running and regulates the operation of the automatic climate control. 

However, this option also has disadvantages. Since the car itself makes all decisions when the eco mode is switched on, this operating mode can lead to certain inconveniences (e.g. if you urgently need the full performance of your car – for emergency overhauls, etc.). So if you are not driving the car to-and-fro for city routes only, you might as well need to listen to the following tips to save money.

2. Reduce the load

The fuel consumption depends directly on the weight of the luggage in the car. It would therefore make sense to regularly relieve the car of old magazines, shoes, toys, i.e. everything that we do not need or have not used for a long time. This way you can make your car a few kilograms lighter.

During city trips you can do without a heavy spare wheel in favor of a small pump. A damaged tire usually lets the air out slowly, so that you can use this pump to easily drive your car to the next tire service.

3. Minimize air resistance

All protruding parts such as roof racks, bike racks or spoilers not provided by the manufacturer increase the air resistance, which has a direct impact on fuel consumption. It is therefore highly recommended to dismantle them.

Also make sure to keep the windows closed while driving – open windows create additional drag.

4. Don't step on the accelerator when starting (MT only)

It was necessary in older models, but no longer these days – press the accelerator pedal every time the engine is started. The amount of fuel required for the start is automatically adjusted.

You can read more about the special features of the manual transmission here.

5.Start driving as soon as the engine is running

Get started as soon as the engine starts to run smoothly.

Every second of downtime means fuel loss.

The engine reaches operating temperature more quickly while driving, and should not be overloaded for the first few kilometers.

6. Shift into second gear as soon as possible (again, optional for MT)

As soon as the car starts, you should change to second gear. When you pull the first gear, the fuel consumption is much higher.

7. Pay attention to optimal gear changes

First question you should consider when talking about gear changes is: When?

It is one of the most frequently asked questions related to economical driving. The answer is: when the engine reaches its maximum torque. If high-speed motors are excluded, then no later than at 3500 rpm.

This keeps the engine running in the area of ​​low fuel consumption. Surprisingly, the fuel consumption is not influenced by the dynamics with which the accelerator pedal is operated.

In vehicles with automatic transmissions, it is important to avoid kickdown and sport modes. In addition, operation in winter mode is recommended, because in this case the gear change takes place at lower engine speeds and lower fuel consumption.

8. Do not exceed the economical speed

Start the car slowly and calmly and accelerate smoothly and constantly. Don't drive at a steady pace and brake unnecessarily. The fuel consumption depends very much on the speed of your vehicle. This means that for every car whose speed is more than two thirds of the maximum speed, the fuel consumption is very high.

According to the calculations, the most economical speed is 90 km / h.

There are obvious reasons for this: With increasing speed, running and air resistance also increase. If the running resistance increases linearly with increasing speed, the air resistance increases exponentially. In other words: doubling the speed means four times the consumption.

9. Use the engine brake (you know the drill – MT)

You should use the engine brake more often. In this case, the fuel supply is switched off automatically.

Make sure to change the gear to a lower one at 1200 rpm at the latest, otherwise consumption will increase. The upper speed limit is irrelevant.

Mastering engine braking is also important for driver safety.

10. With red, engine off

Many vehicles have a stop & start option. Since a car does not require any fuel when it is at a standstill, the engine is switched off by the computer and restarted at the driver's request (eg by pressing the accelerator pedal).

It turned out that a 6-second standstill at a traffic light with the engine switched off is also economical. If the stop & start option is missing in your car, you can still turn off the engine manually. However, it should be noted that the car must be ready to drive.

Amazingly, the engine uses a relatively large amount of fuel when idling, so switch the engine off when engine operation is not required. Here is a simple rule of thumb: If the car is stationary for more than thirty seconds, switch off the engine.

In the next chapter, you’ll find more tips given from a psychological perspective to help you save money.