Living in South Africa we have plenty to be thankful for. One of those aspects is our climate and the generally warm temperatures that are not just more enjoyable for us, but for our vehicles as well. However, there are two sides of the coin for hot weather fuel economy.
Your car’s engine enjoys the heat because it warms up to an efficient temperature faster. Cold air is heavier than warm air, and when driving through warm air there is less aerodynamic drag or wind resistance. These are just two ways that help with fuel economy.
On the other hand, the discomfort of hot weather causes us to seek a cooler environment, such as either winding down the windows or switching on the air conditioner – and both these behaviours tend to reduce fuel economy.
Depending on the conditions, there are ways to be as fuel-efficient as possible without being over-deprived of our comfort and driving pleasure:
Use a windscreen shade, or park in the shade wherever possible to prevent as much heating of the interior as you can.
Open windows as you drive off to let the hot air circulate out with cooler air before turning on the airconditioner.
Choose when to use the airconditioner versus when to wind down the windows. Use the air conditioner at higher speeds such as when travelling on the highway. Let the cool breeze through the windows when you’re city driving. You’ll get a decent breeze flowing through from the passenger side if you prefer not to open both windows.
Use the air conditioner as conservatively as possible.
Though not a fuel saver but rather an energy saver, turning the dial of your air conditioner to a slightly warmer temperature setting instead of on full power will put less stress on your car’s battery. Also, a well-tuned air conditioner with the proper level of antifreeze will run more efficiently.
With rising temperatures and endlessly rising fuel prices, making just a few small changes in your driving habits will ensure a lowering in your monthly petrol expenses.
Looking for a more fuel efficient car? See our extensive range of second hand cars, search for a specific make and model, or pop in to the nearest Auto Pedigree branch.