Maintenance is a fundamental part of your car’s upkeep. It’s not just vital for safety reasons, or even ensuring that it doesn’t break down at the worst possible moment; it also can play a big part in achieving the best possible MPG, helping you to eke out a few extra miles from every tankful of fuel.
Over the course of a year, that can add up. So what is going to make the biggest difference?
Replace air/fuel/oil filters when due
Properly working filters ensure the right amount of fuel and air are mixing in your car’s engine. Sometimes, a partially-blocked or old filter can lead to an imperfect mix.
If the engine is ‘running rich’, there’s an imbalance that means too much fuel is finding its way into the combustion chamber, relative to the amount of air available. Without the air it needs to burn, the excess fuel simply gets expelled from the exhaust as black smoke – a complete waste.
Fresh filters can also improve the performance of the car more generally, therefore meaning you need to accelerate less hard (and use fewer revs). This is also good for fuel economy.
Use the right oil
Make sure you’re using the correct engine oil, as specified by the manufacturer. If you’re using an oil that is too heavy, this can increase friction throughout the engine. This friction means the engine has to work harder to produce the pulling power it needs, worsening fuel economy.
Set the right tyre pressures
Tyre pressures don’t nearly get the attention they deserve from the average driver. They play an enormous role in motoring safety, can change naturally with the seasons, and impact on your fuel economy.
Under-inflated tyres create additional drag, sneaking away a mile or two from each full tank – and even more if you’re carrying a full complement of passengers and luggage. Heavily-laden cars need extra air in their rear tyres especially, as the suspension alone often cannot account for all of the extra weight.
Refer to your owner’s manual or look online to find the correct PSI figures.
Remove junk from the boot
Extra weight is the sworn enemy of fuel economy, so remove anything from the car that needn’t be there.
Tempting thought it is to leave your festival tent, DIY tools, charity shop donations and sports equipment in the boot for months at a time, it’s costing you more than you realise. Unless it absolutely needs to be there, find a more permanent home for it elsewhere.
Clean fuel injectors
The fuel injectors control the flow of fuel into your engine, and in time can become clogged – working at less than their best, and costing you a little in fuel mileage. Cleaning them can remove all that built-up gunk (usually carbon deposits), solving the problem for a reasonably small outlay and also helping the car to run more smoothly. The spark plugs can also be affected by carbon deposits.
If your car has to work harder than necessary to cut through the air, it’ll be affecting your fuel economy. Remove bike racks and roof boxes, and get your wheel tracking and alignment checked; even the slightest misalignment can create drag.
If you’re not getting the fuel economy you’re expecting from your Toyota, a simple service could identify the cause. Book in at your nearest Inchcape Toyota service centre at a convenient time.