Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel
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Ahead of autumn and winter drivers across the UK will likely try anything in their power to save money on petrol and diesel. As the colder months approach, motorists can expect to pay 163.13p per litre of unleaded and 180.78p per litre of diesel on average.
With that in mind, Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, shared a little-known engine warming trick with drivers.
The hack involves not leaving the car to warm up before driving. Instead, drivers should start driving straight away and later use the expelled engine heat to help power the heating.
The hack could come in very handy for drivers, especially when temperatures start to drop.
Mr Hixon told Express.co.uk: “Although advice can waver, it is perhaps a sensible suggestion to not leave your car engine to warm up for considerable amounts of time.
“De-icing spray and scrapers are the first port of call instead of solely relying on heating, and driving slowly instead of sitting still will help warm the car up quicker to be more efficient in the process.
“The car heater does use fuel, but when the engine is running excess heat is usually recycled to help power the car.
“You can also act accordingly to avoid such a situation by looking at the forecast and using a windshield cover when you are expecting frosty temperatures.”
Drivers have also been urged to fill their fuel tanks to the brim when visiting a petrol station to save money this autumn.
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Dorry Potter, car and scrappage expert for National Scrap Car, told Express.co.uk that it is “a lot better” to fill up the car when refuelling.
She said: “Although affordability is a huge issue for motorists at the moment, causing many to top up by £10 or £20 here and there as and when they can afford it, it is actually a lot better to fill up your car when you refuel.
“When you are just topping up your fuel by a small amount each time the oil deposits and bad quality stuff which falls to the bottom of the fuel tank gets pumped around the vehicle for a prolonged period.
“This can cause damage to the fuel filter, which can lead to the fuel pump overheating and the engine clogging.
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“The latter can be very dangerous as it could cause the engine to cut out while doing higher speeds, potentially leading to a fatal accident.
“At the very best it will land motorists with a hefty repair bill as new fuel pumps start at around £200 minus labour, and this can vary from car to car.”
Ms Potter added that although having a lighter load is a legitimate tip for improving fuel efficiency, the benefits of having a full tank outweigh the difference the weight will make to the fuel usage.
She continued: “Of course, there is the added risk of breaking down when you run out of fuel too which is more of a risk if you are only adding small amounts each time.
“For an unleaded vehicle this would just need refuelling but for a diesel engine, it could lead to your fuel pump sending air through your fuel system instead of gas.
“If that happens, your vehicle will shut down and not restart until the air is removed- this process is called bleeding, similar to a radiator at home, and although motorists can find ways of doing it themselves, it is probably a job for a mechanic, meaning even more costs.”
Motorists can also save hundreds of pounds a year by avoiding premium fuels, especially for standard cars.
Retailers often claim that premium fuel offers performance and economy advantages and can even protect the engine.
In reality, unless a motorist is driving a performance vehicle, they are unlikely to see many improvements.
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