Believe it or not, your car’s manual gearbox or automatic transmission is an ideal tool to help reduce fuel consumption as you drive.
However, you, as the driver, will need to make a conscious decision to adjust your driving technique to save fuel.
Your car’s rate of fuel consumption is directly linked to your right foot’s behaviour on the accelerator pedal. That behaviour is determined by your attitude behind the steering wheel. If you’re aggressive; a speedster; competitive, you will need a massive mental gear change to be able to adopt a more placid style of driving.
A light foot on the throttle translates to low engine rpm at pull-away, and gentle acceleration to match traffic conditions, or the prevailing speed limit.
The gearbox or transmission allows your car to multiply the limited rev range of the engine – from about 1000 rpm to about 5500 rpm – into ever-increasing road speed.
The slower you accelerate the less fuel you will use. The earlier you shift up to the next gear, the less fuel you will use. On a level road, try using the engine’s torque to accelerate (instead of the more obvious high rpm) and shift up each gear at around 2000 rpm.
A car with automatic transmission usually has an economy mode.
This emulates the low-rpm early-upshift process described above. Some auto transmissions also enable you to manually shift gears, and the low-rpm upshift technique can be used here too.
The earlier you can get your gearbox or transmission up to top gear for cruising, the sooner you attain maximum fuel saving capability. Using 5th or 6th gear for suburban driving at 60 – 80kmh is perfectly acceptable.
Who says you HAVE TO travel at 120kmh on the highway? Cruising in 5th or 6th gear at 100kph uses less fuel than cruising at 120kph.
That explains the actual technique of driving frugally. You will need some mental discipline to stick to this way of driving. Always stay calm behind the wheel. Don’t react to other impatient motorists. As you will probably be travelling slower than motorists in the fast lane, be prepared to spend most of your journey moving in and out of the slower lanes.
In the same vein, be considerate to traffic behind you when travelling on single lane roads by driving at the given speed limit.
Free-wheeling down hills is not recommended as a fuel-saving measure. But if you do decide to try it, do it safely. Free-wheeling with an automatic transmission is NOT advisable. Always leave the transmission in ‘D’ or ‘DRIVE’.
Only freewheel downhill in a car with a manual gearbox. Do this by depressing the clutch but leaving the car IN GEAR. The engine rpm will drop to idle speed. Only perform freewheeling when it’s safe i.e. when traffic conditions are light.
Use the brake to regulate your speed. Be ready to release the clutch slowly when necessary (to resume throttle control at the bottom of the hill). You can blip the throttle lightly to bring the idling engine up to cruise rpm. Always remember that car control and road safety is paramount in this situation.
Another positive outcome of your economical driving style is reduced speed. Less speed means less stress on your vehicle, engine and gearbox. Less speed means more reaction time. More reaction time means more safety.
If you look after your gearbox, it will look after you. Regardless Rex Diff and Gearbox are here for you all your gearbox repairs !
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