The awaited subsidy removal has finally come, and if you are reading this from my home country Naija you now buy PMS (petrol) between ₦488 and ₦600 (June 1st 2023).
Here are some tips to ensure you make the use of every last drop of PMS economically and efficiently.
Let’s split the matter into parts so we don’t loose focus.
A. Engine Electronics
* Buy a personal scan tool
Buy a portable scanner so check for errors when they appear, if you don’t know what the codes mean, enter into cartalk, post the codes and we will guide accordingly.
Some vehicles have had their warning lights removed by technicians and car dealers, this is the time to restore and scan.
* Scan Code Results
Scan code results that have to do with the following will seriously affect your vehicle fuel efficiency by as much as 40-50percent.
Engine running rich or lean codes
02 sensor codes
P0128 coolant threshold
All timing related codes
Evaporative emission codes
Catalytic converter codes
Exhaust gas recirculation codes
Variable timing codes
Boost pressure codes
There are more, but these are the common ones. Have them solved properly (not by clearing code) and you will save a lot on petrol.
* Tyre pressures
Keep tyre pressures at recommended levels (check drivers door or fuel tank cover) vehicles with low tyre pressures, consume more fuel than vehicles with the right tyre pressures.
* Wheel Alignment
Ensure your alignment is on point, when you have front wheels fighting with themselves and asphalt, it causes unwanted drag, which results in more fuel consumption.
Keep windows up when on long trips, this will reduce the amount of wind resistance the car makes, less drag more savings on fuel.
The abuse of vehicle suspension in the name of raising vehicle height usually has consequences when done poorly, when you have the head up and tail down, you are fighting to get through the air, and constantly loosing efficiency to wind resistance. Same thing happens when you load 4 adults at the back and fill the trunk with load.
* Sticky Brakes
Brake binding is a situation where the vehicle is being held down by the brake pads without application of the brake pedal. Could be caused by work done on the brake switch near brake pedal, rusted calliper pins rusted calliper prisons, faulty abs pump.
Whatever the case, if you get home, splash some water on each wheel, if you have instant steam from any wheel it is binding and should be checked .
C. Service and Maintenance
* Filters sparkplugs and MAF
Some cars never get a replacement engine air filter all their days in Nigeria , replace your engine air filter with each oil change , clean and re gap your sparkplugs to the required spark gap.
Carefully clean MAF sensor with the required MAF cleaner, please do not do MAF cleaning unless you are sure it is required, it is not an item to clean regularly.
* Fuel Pressure
We don’t have very clean petrol, so if your car begins to feel lazy especially after a long trip, might be time to check the fuel filter and strainer inside the fuel tank , if clogged replace, you will get better miles per gallon. In most vehicles, low fuel pressure will not show up as an error when scanned.
* Blocked Exhaust System
The inability of exist gasses to quickly leave the engine into the atmosphere, will cost you more on petrol.
Some vehicles are naturally predisposed to catalyst blockage e.g Honda, Acura, Ford, Kia and Hyundai. If your vehicle is one of those you might want to get it checked out, also if your catalyst has been stolen in the past and was refilled will wire mesh or a catalyst clone which also gets blocked easily you should have it checked.
Know your vehicle, if a vehicle starts dragging, something is off and should be checked. Blockages in exhaust in exhaust systems will not show up on scan results for most vehicles, it takes a smart tech/owner to detect it in early stages.
Bad Driving Habits
* Vehicle Idling
Starting the car and leaving it to idle for 10-15 mins before leaving the house…. It’s gone! Start the car, put it in drive and drive cheesy, don’t waste 10-15mins of fuel.
* Aggressive Driving
Let me tell a short story, on my 1.4L 2009 Kia Rio I traveled from Lagos to Benin on 18Litres driving at a max speed of 100km/h I filled up in Benin to confirm.
Repeat of same journey took 30L driving at a max of 140km/h and aggressively.
Slow consistent driving, and not powering uphill will save you a lot on petrol, avoid the quick races, remember that for each race you win or loose, you lost about ₦500 wink, slap the throttle pedal gently .
* Google maps
I use Google maps for the shortest of distances, I always avoid traffic and choose the best routes, learn to use Google maps with the traffic prompts on so you can make better decisions. Also teach your drivers to use the map too.
* Avoid fuel additives
Those cans they sell in the petrol station will not get you any better MPG, use the money to buy petrol, it will also not keep your system clean.
There is a difference between a full tank you the owner buys, and a full tank a third party buys, temptation to steal is now higher… Stop sending 3rd parties to buy full tank. You get cheated easily.
Do not let the full tank needle be your guide, a 100l tank will get to the full needle with 100L and also with 93L wink you could be loosing 5-8L of fuel (2500-4000) on every fill up when you send a 3rd party.
Note your mileage when you drop off vehicle with a third party e.g, mechanic, painter etc. It is very common for a technician to use the vehicle with the most amount of fuel to run errands in the shop.