When a person purchases a car, one important factor many people take into consideration is its consumption. This is especially true in Malaysia. Unless of course you happen to be the son of a Sheikh in Saudi Arabia. Or maybe the grandson of Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, the founder of the Genting Highlands Resorts.
In Brunei, I have been told, rich students who attend colleges and higher institutes of learning there, travel in large, expensive limousines such as Rolls Royces, Jaguars, BMWs and Mercedes Benzs. I have been told students who attend classes down there, normally do not switch off the engines to their vehicles. This is to ensure that the interiors of their vehicles remain cool and comfortable, with the air-con unit kept running all day long.
The question of fuel consumption has been touched upon again and again in other articles elsewhere. Bearing in mind, that most motorists are concerned with this subject, it has therefore been decided to talk about it once again in this article.
The ways and means suggested in this article represents the personal opinion of mine, who incidentally has been driving since 1970, a period spanning over more than 40 years. Through my associations and my relationship with many of mechanic friends of mine, Wah Chye, Ah Keng, Raman, Abbas and so forth, have have learnt a lot of things about cars from them. I feel this valuable advices should be imparted for the benefit of readers of this blog.
How does one go about getting a better mileage or consumption for the vehicle you are driving now?
Amongst the ways and means one can do to obtain a better mileage are:-
1) Choosing a smaller c.c. car
A Kancil, being a small vehicle, obviously gives a better consumption. Compare this to say a Mercedez, which is over 2,000 c.c. and you’ll know what I mean. The Kancil, is said to be able to give approximately 40 miles to a gallon. So, if you are using a Kancil as your personal car, without a doubt, your monthly petrol bill will be very much lower, when compared to a bigger car such as a Mercedez Benz or a Volvo.
2) Changing to RON 95 instead of RON 97
In Malaysia, RON 95 costs approximately RM1.95 per litre. RON 97 obviously costs more. The later is recommended for newer and more expensive cars. RON 95 is said to be less powerful. It also causes some engine knocking. If you are currently using RON 97, try using RON 95 indeed. In reality, there is very little difference between 2 types of fuel available here in Malaysia.
The air-con unit of your vehicle will work equally well, irregardless of whether you use RON 95 or RON 97. But if you should take my advice, you will definitely find your petrol bill per month will eventually be lower by at least RM20 – RM40 a month. Think about this advice carefully. If you wish to get a better value for the fuel that you use, well, you know what you’ll have to do.
3) Switching off your engine while waiting for a friend to arrive
An engine which is kept running, wastes a lot of petrol. Likewise, if you’re waiting for the traffic light to change to green and it takes some time, switch off your engine. During jam situations or you have to wait for quite a long time at junctions for instance, be wise, and take my advice, switch off your engine.
By switching of your engines, you are infact assisting to avoid polluting the atmosphere. This leads to a greener and cleaner environment. Exhaust gas is said to contain carbon monoxide. These fumes are reportedly said to be bad for our health.
So what do we do about it? Do you think you ought to shut off your engine while you are a waiting for a friend of yours to arrive?
4) Maintain your spark plugs well
A good set of plugs, my mechanic friends advise me, not only makes your vehicle more powerful, it leads to better consumption or better mileage in the long run. Good, clean and powerful sparks from a good set of spark plugs goes a long way to making your vehicle run efficiently, thereby saving you lots of petrol that used by your car.
Startings are also reported to be much better too. A good, strong start, in case you are not aware, saves a lot of petrol eventually. Therefore, change your plugs regularly. You will surely reap its advantages should you take my advice faithfully.
5) Change your air filter regularly
In an internal combustion engine, which most cars use these days, the air filter plays an important part. An air filter that is clogged or dirty, will fail to filter dust and pollutants that exist in our atmosphere. Furthermore, air filters represents one of the cheapest items of a vehicle.
Tyres for instance costs RM120 each. A good battery can easily cost around RM120 – RM150. But an air filter for most cars costs only RM20 or RM30 at the most for conventional cars. Of course more expensive models like Satria Neo, Myvis, Altis or Innovas, might cost slightly higher amounts.
New filters in the above cars, will go on to ensure that the timings to these vehicles will remain smooth and the cars more powerful eventually.
6) Ensure that you change your car engine oil and oil filter regularly
New engine oil or lubrication oil for engines have better viscosity. They are said to make engines run smoother and more efficient. Most cars are recommended to have their oil changed at intervals of 10,000 km. While changing the lubrication oil of engines, do not save or scrooge on oil filters. As a matter of fact, the item of oil filters does not cost very much at all. Most oil filters costs around RM25 or RM40 each.
Oil filters protect the engine. It makes the engine lasts longer, eventually cutting the cost of engine maintenance in the long run. An engine that has its engine oil changed regularly and faithfully by the owner, will without a doubt, give a better mileage or consumption to its owner. Isn’t that what is anticipated by drivers out to obtain a better mileage?
7) Rid your booth of unnecessary things or items
The booth of most cars are surprisingly filled with unwanted items or things. It is not a surprise that in the booth compartment, we can find items such as shoes, assorted tools, additional jacks and tyre openers, umbrellas and so forth. Such unwanted items should by right be discarded by car owners to make vehicles lighter.
A lighter car, will give a better mileage or a better fuel consumption. Besides this, some motorists fix spoilers at the back of their vehicles. These spoilers, as a matter of fact restrict the flow of wind, thereby increasing the fuel consumption of a vehicle. Consider this problem in greater detail. Make a wise decision to do away with spoilers that are being currently fixed behind your vehicle.
8) Have your brake pads or brake systems of your vehicle serviced regularly by your mechanics
Brake pads and brake systems are liable to be jammed up due to the accumulation of dust and grime. Have a good mechanic check over the above diligently. A jammed up brake system will prevent your vehicle’s ability to run or move smoothly, thereby causing your vehicle’s wheels from rotating properly. If this should happen, it will cause your vehicle to have a poorer mileage capacity. Your fuel consumption will become much higher.
9) Try to drive at a cruising speed and attempt not to speed excessively
Mechanic friends used to advise me, to get the optimum mileage or good consumption, one is advised to be light footed and avoid stepping on the accelerator heavily. In short, one is advised to cruising along, travelling at a speed of 40 – 50 km/h. Driving at a speed which exceeds 70 km/h or more, will result in a vehicle getting a lower consumption. You will then get a poorer mileage for you litre of petrol.
So, if you are out on a highway or expressway, maintain a cruising speed. Do not be hasty and speed along with a heavy foot if you desire to get a higher mileage for your litre of petrol.
10) Inflate your tyres to recommended pressures, balance, align and your tyres
To get the best consumption for your car, you are advised to balance your tyre well. The alignment to your vehicles’ wheels have also to be dealt with too. One other thing regarding tyre is the tread itself. A tyre with less than 60% tyre tread on it will cause tyre drag which will eventually cause poor consumption.
And finally, the question of tyre pressures have to paid proper attention as well. Tyres should be inflated in accordance to specifications laid out by the car manufacturers. Ideally, to get the best mileage that can be obtained from a litre of petrol, inflate the tyres a few pounds higher that what has been recommended.
For example, if the recommended pressures suggested is say 26 p.s.i (pound per sq. inc) inflate it by 2 pounds higher. In doing this, the vehicle on the whole, becomes much lighter and as a result, a better consumption or better mileage is thus obtained.
I have put forward 10 ways and means to enable you to a better consumption for your car. Follow the steps faithfully, and I remain confident that you will get a better or higher mileage for your litre of petrol. Good luck in your efforts to increase the consumption of your car!
In my last article, I wrote about the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) engine. In today’s post, I’ve included a video presentation of an EFI engine. It shows you all the essential components of the engine.
When I wrote an article entitled “How To Restart a Car That Has Run Out of Petrol”, my intention was to enlighten readers how to deal with one emergency that they might possibly face one fine day. It did not cross my mind, that there might be readers who might write in to ask a few questions regarding the above.
Infact one reader, a Mr. Kelvin, did contact me. First of all, he commended me for writing an informative article. Then followed up with a question: What if my car is a diesel, without a carburetor? Are the procedures the same?
To be frank with readers, I’m first of all, a driving school instructor, not a mechanic. Maybe, I may have more years of experience about cars than some of my readers. But I’m not shy to reiterate that I have very little notion of what fuel injection vehicles are all about.
Before proceeding any further, let me explain distinctly the difference between a conventional vehicle using plugs and a carburetor system, as a compared to a diesel engine vehicle which uses these days, electronic fuel injection, in a diesel engine, the absence of plugs and a carburetor is distinctly visible. In place of plugs, diesel engines are supplied with fuel injectors instead.
Now let’s come back to my reader, Kelvin’s query, can the procedures put forward by myself in the article on how one restarts a vehicle that has run out of petrol, be applied to vehicles using diesel? As petrol driven vehicles and diesel driven cars are dissimilar in many aspects, obviously the procedures recommended cannot therefore, be used.
To answer reader Kelvin’s question, I have to seek the assistance of my current personal mechanic, Ah Siang, 40. The above mechanic, was employed formerly by Messrs Tan Chong motors, who are the agents for Nissan vehicles in Malaysia. My conversations with the above mechanic, has given me a better comprehension of how electronically fuel injection systems function.
To state that my conversations with my mechanic alone, has enabled me to pen an article on fuel injection systems, would be telling you a lie. Without a doubt, further readings and researches into the subject, would have to be conducted as well, to enable me to write this article.
What then is E.F.I.?
It is actually electronic fuel injection system. EFI has a matter of fact, replaced the conventional carburetor system these days. Most modern cars of today, use it. In EFI engines, injectors spray fuel into the intake manifold of engines. Electronic fuel injection systems are said to be divided into 2 types. They are:
i. Throttle body injection or single body injection
ii. Multi point injection system.
In throttle body injections, fuel is sprayed into the air as it passes through the intake manifold. In multi point injections, there is a presence of an injection free cyclinder which sprays fuel directly into the intake valve port.
How does an electric fuel injection differ from that of a conventional carburetor system?
To understand the above, it is imperative that we look at the basics of an electronic fuel injection system. The various parts or components of an electronic fuel injection system are as follows:
1. The fuel tank.
As for conventional cars, an EFI vehicle also has a storage tank for petrol or diesel.
2. The fuel pump.
Some mechanics term it as AC pump or electronic fuel pump. This pump is to circulate petrol/diesel and provide pressure necessary for a car engine to function.
3. The fuel filter system.
This system ensures that the vehicle is supplied with clean fuel, which protects the injectors.
4. The fuel pipe.
Fuel pipe lines are intended to supply fuel to the vehicles engines via injectors.
5. Injectors to spray fuel into the intake valve ports.
6. Pressure regulator system.
This unit controls the pressures system in the vehicle.
7. The throttle body.
The throttle valve is intended to control air into the engine.
8. Air cleaner.
The air cleaner is to provide clean, measured air which the engine requires.
9. The Search Chamber or Planum Chamber
This unit is to damper the flow of air.
10. Electric control unit.
A computer, processes the data around the engine. It processes the starter and uses the results to operate the injectors.
Now that we know all the major parts and components of an electronic fuel injection system, what then do we recommend drivers do when faced with a vehicle that has broken down due to the lack of fuel, especially diesel?
The steps recommended for a diesel powered vehicle are more or less similar for petrol driven cars. They are:
i. Pour the fuel (diesel) in this case, into the fuel tank, with a funnel shaped cardboard or paper contraption.
ii. Like a petrol powered engine, the AC pump or electronic fuel pump will then function to circulate the fuel (diesel) into the vehicle’s system.
Unlike in ordinary or conventional vehicles, one therefore cannot pour fuel into the carburetor system of the vehicle. However, it is believed that the fuel pump will supply the injectors with fuel needed. This will then automatically restart the vehicle that has unfortunately run short of petrol or diesel.
Well, Mr. Kelvin, now you know what you have to do when your diesel powered vehicle should run low of fuel.