With the price of petrol and diesel sky-rocketing in the current economic climate, we are all looking at ways to reduce our fuel costs without necessarily having to resort to lift clubs or public transport. As cost effective as these options may be, we all value and appreciate the independence that having our own transport affords us.
Many motorists remain unaware that by keeping tabs on the condition of their tyres and driving sensibly, you can save significantly on your fuel bill.
There are a few simple measures that can be taken to ensure that any vehicle travels lighter on fuel, and easier on the well-worn pocket – and most of them begin with the correct maintenance of the tyres fitted to your vehicle.
• Fit the right size for the job
Incorrectly sized tyres affect the vehicle’s gear ratio and place the engine under unnecessary strain, which ultimately increases fuel consumption. It is important to make sure that your tyres are the correct size, as originally specified by the vehicle manufacturer or, if you are considering customising your vehicle, enquire for expert advice at your closest Dunlop Zone for assistance in finding a tyre/rim combination that will not produce a negative effect on the performance and fuel economy of your vehicle.
• Regular checks reduce rolling resistance
The key to decreasing fuel consumption is to reduce the friction your tyres have on the road. Tyre inflation, tread wear and wheel alignment, all affect a tyre’s ‘rolling resistance’ (the measure of the friction between the tyre and the road) and this has an impact on petrol consumption.
Therefore, regular tyre pressure check-ups are essential. Rolling resistance is increased if tyres are under-inflated. Under-inflation can increase a car’s fuel consumption by up to 10%! Remember that tyre pressures should always be increased by 20 to 30kPa above normal when carrying an extra load and/or towing a caravan or trailer.
• Irregular tread wear and tyre rotation
An irregular tread will increase a tyre’s rolling resistance and adversely affect fuel consumption, while incorrect wheel alignment causes a drag on the vehicle, forcing it to work harder and use more fuel. Correctly aligned, well-balanced tyres will increase tyre life and lower fuel consumption.
Remember that rotating your tyres at regular intervals will reduce the chances of irregular tread wear patterns developing. Dunlop advises that tyres should be rotated at least every 10 000 kilometres.
• Dunlop Tyres’ fuel-saving silica compound
The advanced silica compound used in the manufacture of Dunlop Tyres’ SP Sport passenger range can reduce rolling resistance by up to 20%, producing a significant fuel saving of up to 5%. So, if you’re looking to reduce your costs at the pumps these days, try the SP Sport passenger range as a replacement option. You Dunlop Zone dealer will advise you as to the SP Sport tyre best suited to your vehicle.
• Change your driving patterns
The major step that most South African motorists need to take to conserve fuel is a mental one. Aggressive driving patterns are one of the major causes of high fuel consumption.
‘Pedal to the metal’ acceleration, hard braking, and fast cornering will turn any car into a gas guzzler. So plan your journey in advance, to avoid the need for high speeds and unnecessary stop-start situations. Erratic driving techniques directly affect your fuel consumption, and diminish a tyres’ tread life.
So, driving carefully and sensibly will also help you lower that petrol bill.