More so than the health and societal effects of COVID-19, Malaysia like many other countries in the world are just now beginning to understand the effects this deadly pandemic has had on the economy and financial sectors – which has been vast and far-reaching to say the least.
Now more than ever, Malaysians have to be frugal with their financial resources before the economy can slowly recover and grow to healthy levels again. More importantly, a penny saved is a penny earned.
But how do you save money with your car? Can you really save money and be eco-friendly while you drive?
The short answer is yes, there’s a lot you can do to save money with your car, and it’s not just with fuel but overall maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle too. So in this report, we have listed the Top 8 things – ranked in order of importance – you can do to travel more efficiently, and save money while you’re at it.
No. 8: Don’t overload, travel light…
The heavier your car, the more fuel it will use to move. So, ensure any extra weight is removed from the car before each trip – this includes roof boxes, roof racks, and even shoes and tools that you will not need on your commute. Don’t use your car as a storage space!
No. 7: Timely maintenance… better to be safe than sorry
We have said this before and we’ll say it again, a properly maintained car runs better, cleaner, and far more efficiently than a car that is not cared for. While times may be tough, it pays to do the minimum amount of maintenance to keep your car running smoothly – these include timely oil changes, engine coolant renewals, and brake pad replacement.
No. 6: Always check your tyres
If your tyres are underinflated, not only is it dangerous, but you’ll also use more fuel, which is bad for the environment. Make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly – ideally every two weeks, or weekly if you travel more frequently. A further step is to get the car’s alignment and rotation done every 6 months, to ensure your tyres last as long as they should.
No. 5: Switch off your car when not moving
In cases when you are waiting in the car, i.e: when receiving your “tapau” food or while a family member runs into the store – turn off the engine as soon as you find a safe place to stop. Roll down the window for ventilation and save fuel while you wait.
No. 4: Plan ahead…
Perhaps in recent times, we have not seen too many traffic jams on our roads given the travel restrictions, but it still pays to plan your journey. As most Malaysians get back to work, and more cars get back on the roads, it pays to always plan your journey before you start driving. The easiest way to do this is to switch on your Waze app just before you start driving, to check out the fastest way back home. The less you stop-and-go, the more fuel you save, and the more enjoyable your journey is.
No. 3: Chill out…
Air conditioning can really increase your fuel usage, so where possible try to open windows rather than automatically putting the air con on. So if you’re driving early in the morning, when it’s not too hot, crack open the window for ventilation and keep the air-conditioning off. However, the one exception to this is when driving at speed – then the air-conditioning is actually more efficient than opening a window which will cause more aerodynamic drag. Yes, we know we live in Malaysia and it's hot so this is not always practical, that's why it's number 3 on the list so chill...
No. 2: Ease off the accelerator instead of braking
The first difference between a regular driver and a racing driver is their ability to look ahead when driving. Looking ahead allows you to plan your acceleration and braking better. When approaching traffic lights or a turn-off, if it’s safe, try reducing your speed earlier and more gradually, first by easing off the accelerator, rather than having to brake. If you can avoid stopping completely, you’ll increase your fuel efficiency.
No. 1: Be smooth…
This is by far the best thing you can do to save more fuel while driving. If you’ve got the rest of this list checked off, being smooth while you brake and accelerate will help you save more fuel. Less overzealous acceleration, especially when you’re in traffic at slow to medium speeds can vastly improve your car’s fuel economy. Braking sooner and more gradually not only means your brakes last longer, it also means your engine can settle into an idle with less fuel burnt, maximising every drop.