Maximise your vehicle’s potential by exercising care to cut costs

We all need to address the financial ‘pinch’, not just in the run-up to and after the festive season, and motoring journalist, Iain Robertson, a several times winner of MPG awards, offers some practical advice to stretch out every mile you drive.

Personally, I love the freedom and accessibility that my car gives me. However, I am intensely aware of what it costs to live with, in terms of fuel, maintenance, tyres, insurance and road tax. Some years ago, I decided to tackle my first fuel economy run, in which I finished second overall. I wanted to win, so I took some action.

While ‘accelerator management’ is a priority, it is only one important aspect of driving that also includes steering, braking and the overall maintenance of the vehicle. The first element to consider is that of mind-set. You must want to save money, a factor that will help you to control everything else. Smoothness and progression are of secondary considerations.

Although commuting is not the easiest of conditions in which to obtain good fuel economy, which is hurt by constant stop-starting, try to avoid revving the engine too hard, or slipping the clutch too much. Use the accelerator pedal, as though it had a raw egg placed beneath it and you did not want to crack the shell. Instead of moving one car length at a time, wait until you have a slightly larger gap to fill but keep your wits about you for the impatient overtaker.

Longer trips will yield the best results and avoiding the use of full throttle will help, although brisk acceleration to your cruising speed, shifting up the gears quickly, while avoiding any labouring of the engine, will make for surprisingly swift progress. However, plan as far ahead as you can. If you spot brake-lights in the distance, slow well in advance of the hold-up, without applying the brakes. Keep your vehicle in as high a gear as possible, until you need to shift down the ratios. Most cars will pull from 30-40mph in top gear on a trickle of accelerator.

Do not coast, or select neutral, as you will not be maintaining maximum safe control of your car. Also do not make sudden steering movements, unless you are avoiding something. The smoother you handle the controls, your fuel economy will be improved. Interestingly, the difference in fuel economy with any car travelling at 60mph, instead of 65mph, can be as much as 5 to 10mpg overall and doing so will have very little impact on your arrival time.

Of course, vehicle maintenance is also vital. Good quality oil, clean fuel, the correct tyre pressures and even clean bodywork can help to reduce running costs significantly. Mr Clutch Autocentres can ensure that their menu of cost-effective services can keep vehicle overheads within tighter bounds. A typical scheduled service will ensure that the spark-plugs and their leads are in good order and that the engine is firing cleanly and smoothly, regardless of its age. You can book a service and take advantage of a 5% online booking discount by clicking the link: https://goo.gl/pFpRGC/>

If you think of the engine as a living, breathing thing, clean air and oil filters will help it to inhale without coughing and spluttering, while checking that its suspension, brakes, power steering and exhaust system are working efficiently, all form part of a typical Mr Clutch Autocentres service. If your car is overdue such a comprehensive check, you will be surprised at how much better off you will be, once it has been given a clean bill of health. You can locate your nearest Mr Clutch Autocentre and its contact number by clicking on the link: https://goo.gl/phyZZ1/>