With fluctuating fuel prices and our daily budget, any tip for saving a little extra anywhere seems most welcome. And when it is about saving fuel, then we are all-ears-up. The selling point for most family cars, apart from the comfort, is their fuel efficiency. But how about adding a little extra mileage to your drive with our tips and pointers?
The secret of best fuel utilisation lies in the way we handle our car and its gear. Let’s tell you how to increase the mileage of your car.
Right gears and fuel efficiency
A lot of fuel is lost in the friction between various parts of the car like the piston inside the cylinder, bearings in the crankshaft, and gear wheels. In a manual transmission, smoother shifting of the gear is ensured with the help of the clutch pedal. Hence it is necessary to properly apply the clutch to avoid friction of the gear wheels. When the car runs on the highest gear, there is low friction between the gear wheels and you get better mileage.
We answer a few questions to help you get the most mileage and go further for longer.
What gear will give me the best mileage in the city?
Driving in the city is an art, especially in India. You’ve to dodge pedestrians, hawkers, and cattle plus you also have to save fuel. As we know that the top gear helps us in getting the most mileage, which however is not possible to engage in the city. Even if you try at lower speeds, higher gears would induce engine lugging and ultimately your vehicle would stop. The solution is to find a gear which doesn’t pull much and at the same time doesn’t let the engine lug. Try to find the rhythm between 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears. The 2nd is still a bit of a pulling gear but at places where you have to move dead slow, it is better than the 1st gear. 3rd and 4th can be switched according to the space and the speed you can move, for example you can engage the 4th gear at speeds of 30 to 40 km/h, which is seldom possible in heavy traffic conditions. And if in any case you are able to reach speeds of 40 km/h engage the 5th gear.
What RPM range should I be in to get the best mileage?
RPM basics 101: Lower revs mean lower fuel consumption. This happens because there is lower friction between the engine components and hence lower fuel consumption. That is the reason why the 1st gear consumes a lot of fuel, while the 5th with a lower rev range consumes less. In normal conditions the ideal rev range for high mileage ranges from 1500 to 2000 RPM.
When should I change gears for the best mileage?
As quick as you can. If you’ve seen heavy trucks changing gears you would notice the speed at which the gears get changed. That being said, if gears were changed too early that would induce engine lugging, too late and you would be over revving, which would consume copious amounts of fuel. For better mileage you have to change gears in the middle rev range and this ranges from 1500 to 2000 RPM.
What is the effect of frequent gear shifting on mileage?
Frequent gear shifting is a norm in the city where lower speeds are required. However, too much of changing gears and you would be reducing the life of the clutch plate plus increasing fuel consumption. Like mentioned previously, it would be better to find the rev range and speed where you can run the vehicle properly without lugging or over revving, going further for longer.
Which gear should I use to drive in the city?
There is no particular gear that can be used to give better mileage in the city as traffic dictates how you drive. That being said, try optimising the use of 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears while driving in the city. Once you cross the 40 Km/h mark engage the 5th gear.
Why do lower gears consume more fuel?
The key is momentum. To get a 800 kg to 1000 kg car moving requires energy and a substantial push force. Push force is given by the gear and the energy is derived by fuel, this is the reason why lower gears consume more fuel. Once the car gets moving it is all rosy then, as all the higher gears are doing is maintaining speed.
What is RPM?
Revolutions per minute. This is used to determine the rotation of the crankshaft. The higher the RPM the more your engine consumes fuel.