12 Golden Tips to Increase your Mileage

With petrol prices skyrocketing to over 100 rupees, fuel is no longer a commodity that can be used without a thought. Even with leading car brands trying to offer vehicles that are more fuel efficient than ever before, mileage has quickly become the sole deciding factor that is now deciding the fate of iconic models, overtaking the importance that price once had. After all, no average buyer would like to spend their hard earned money on a vehicle that returns mileage in single digit. 

But more than claims and ARAI figures, what truly determines a vehicle’s mileage is the way you utilize its actual potential. From heavy loads, hard acceleration, incorrect gear changes to tyre pressure and improper servicing, there are a lot of factors that affect your vehicle’s mileage. If you are wondering what you can do to achieve maximum mileage out of your vehicle, then these 12 golden tips can help you achieve maximum efficiency, savings and mileage.

Drive only if you have to

Cycling in Bicycle lane

As shocking as it may sound, the key to maximum efficiency and savings is being smart enough to figure out when and where to take out your car. Yes, you read that right. With both cities and towns equally flooded with traffic, if you’re planning to visit a place nearby, make sure to just walk or cycle to your destination. Not only will you do your bit towards maintaining good health, you will also reduce harmful emissions that would have been released from your vehicle had you driven. Small distances can easily add up to a large fuel consumption bill at the next fill up. So put on your fitness bands and watches, and start walking to unlock super savings and maximum health.

Consolidate your Trips

It is a known fact that every time you take out your car, you end up burning precious fuel. This is a reason why consolidating your trips can be a better, smarter and efficient decision. From local grocery stores to extravagant malls, we are always on the run for one thing or another. But instead of completing everything at once, we often break up the task into a series of smaller ones. While this might be a smarter way when you’re trying to divide work throughout the day, it isn’t as smart when it comes to saving fuel.  Since your vehicle drinks up more fuel when it is started off from rest, it is better if you can consolidate shorter journeys into one single drive. Because two short trips will aggregately eat up more fuel than one slightly longer trip.

Plan your Route

Google Maps route from Spinny HQ to Connaught Place
Check for traffic stoppages on your route and be ready to change routes when you encounter traffic

In order to achieve maximum efficiency and saving, another important thing you can do is planning your route before your trip. Since constant traffic jams end up taking a toll on your mileage, go for routes that are usually congestion free even if they are long.  If you are not time bound to reach a particular place, make sure you drive during the non-rush hours. And if you happen to be a daily commuter, make sure to leave 10 to 15 minutes before rush hour to achieve better mileage on the trip. Alternatively, you can also use the internet to find alternate routes that are free from heavy jams and traffic snarls. As an added advantage, planning your trips beforehand will also save you time which is quite a commodity these days.

Service your Vehicle

Car Maintenance

The key to maximum mileage and efficiency is a happy and healthy engine. And this can only be achieved if you service and maintain your engine. After all, an ill-maintained engine will continue to spoil your average fuel efficiency over time. This is the reason why opting for a timely service is a smarter decision to make. While taking your vehicle for service make sure to check the engine oil, spark plugs, air and fuel filter, since a choked air filter can feed dirty air inside the engine which will result in more fuel being burnt. If you are a regular driver, make sure to get the oxygen sensors checked every 60,000 km. as a faulty oxygen sensor can reduce efficiency by over 20 percent! Thus, the next time you face low mileage, call up the service center and schedule a service appointment right away.

Engage in Efficient Driving Habits

No matter how high the ARAI efficiency of your vehicle is, your driving habits are the only thing that will determine whether or not you will hit the highest number on the efficiency scale. Thus, make sure to indulge in efficient driving techniques. The first step towards doing this is by shifting gears correctly. Since vehicles eat up more fuel when accelerating in lower gears, down shifting gears correctly can unlock great mileage. If your car does not need the extra crunch of power, make sure to downshift the gear and avoid engine knocking. While at the same time, if you feel the need for more power, shift up and stop punching the maximum number on the RPM and over straining the engine. 

Another great technique to follow is to practice coasting. In simple terms, coasting is a technique that improves fuel efficiency and also reduces brake wear. The technique of coasting is based on the fact that even when you are not accelerating, the kinetic energy of the vehicle already produced takes it forward. With coasting, this momentum can be used to replace the need for accelerating when it’s not needed.  For example, if you see a red light approaching, there is no point accelerating towards it. Instead you can practice coasting by taking your foot off the accelerator and letting your car roll towards the junction on its forward momentum. This will give you free kilometers while you spend zero fuel reaching the red light. It also reduces the time you are idle at the red light, thus helping save more fuel.

Keep Tyre Pressure in Check

Tyre Maintenance Guide

Something that is often ignored by many, tyre pressure is a crucial element that plays an important role in achieving exponential mileage. The science behind this is simple. When you drive your vehicle with low tyre pressure, the contact area between the tyre and the road increases. As a result the friction between the tyre and the road increases, resulting in higher fuel consumption. Similarly, overinflated tyres would surely lead to a better economy, but at the cost of tyre grip and safety. Thus, one of the best ways to ensure that you achieve maximum mileage as well as safety, is by keeping your tyre pressure in check at all times.

Roll up your Windows

Open Window with hand out
Good for a photo but an open window hurts fuel economy

Another important thing that is often ignored is your vehicle’s aerodynamics when you drive. Since vehicles run at high speeds throughout their lives, they are aerodynamically designed to cut through the air as they move. This aerodynamics is directly linked to how well your vehicle will do in terms of mileage. Opening up windows, even slightly at higher speeds leads to higher drag that can ruin your plans of achieving maximum mileage out of your vehicle. Contrary to popular notion, you will end up saving more fuel when you keep the windows shut, and even turn on the AC, as compared to when you drive at high speeds with your windows open. 

Keep your Vehicle Light

Car with heavy load

Not just speed, but even higher fuel efficiency can be achieved when you keep your vehicle light. Thus, if you want to get the most out of your vehicle’s mileage, make sure to remove any unnecessary loadings that you’ve put onboard your vehicle. So get rid of those heavy spares you don’t use, the spare tyre that’s gone bad, the child seat that’s no longer needed and the trash that has accumulated, to see the mileage improve. And before you plan on loading something heavy in your boot, remember that the heavier the vehicle, the more is its thirst!

Mind the Accelerator

Foot on Accelerator

The roads are roads and not a racetrack! Therefore make sure to go easy on that accelerator, not just for the safety of you and your loved ones, but also for savings, efficiency and mileage. Rather than pumping excess power to the engines, make sure to accelerate in a gradual manner, since over acceleration leads to faster fuel consumption. At the same time, make sure to drive at constant speeds as much as possible. Also avoid pressing the clutch pedal when cruising to prevent wastage of precious fuel. Finally, make sure not to zoom through traffic by engaging in high speed overtaking and drag racing through the streets.

Use Correct Grade of Engine Oil

Engine Maintenance Guide Spinny Drive

While getting our vehicle serviced, most of us tend to ignore what grade and quality of engine oil is being used. But this is where our ignorance gets the worst of our vehicle’s mileage. Every vehicle that is built does its best when it gets the best. This is the reason why each vehicle should always be topped with engine oil that is meant for the car. Often ignored things like engine oil grade oil viscosity and oil quality are directly linked to how the engine will perform and what mileage the vehicle returns. This is why you should make sure to top up only high quality engine oil with correct viscosity and grade.

Do not Idle

Car idling

Burning fuel when moving is okay, but burning fuel while not moving at all is simply pointless. Thus, idling can be the greatest mileage killer, sometimes even more than any other malpractice. After all, why burn precious fuel when you are standing still? Therefore the best practice is to turn the ignition off when you are about to stop at a long halt. This can be done when you are waiting at a signal that’s long, or simply waiting for someone. Another important thing to avoid idling, is to start your vehicle only when you are ready. Don’t waste precious fuel while you fix your hair, wear your glasses and get ready to actually drive.

Invest in Hybrids

Hybrid

This is more of an advice than a tip. Since idling burns fuel for no reason, if your pocket allows, invest in hybrid/start-stop technology equipped vehicles. Because when you have a hybrid/mild-hybrid vehicle onboard, the engine would automatically stop when idle and then silently start when optimal conditions are met, both in manual and automatic transmissions. Moreover, these vehicles usually come with Lithium Ion Batteries that store energy generated during braking to assist the engine’s idle start-stop. One of the best examples of this technology is the mild-hybrid variants of iconic Maruti models such as the Ciaz, Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ertiga, XL6 and the S-Cross.

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