As 4WD owners, we’re accustomed to paying more for fuel than 2WDs but we also get to travel through rough terrain to isolated places filled with beauty and breathtaking views. When we’re packing up our 4WD for a weekend adventure with some mates, the last thing we’re thinking about is our fuel economy! But what about during the week when you use your 4WD to ravel to work in the city?
Let’s face it, 4WDs aren’t the most fuel efficient vehicles and there’s many ways we can improve our fuel economy to save money to spend on more 4WD adventures with our mates! While it may not seem like much, a couple of litres saved per hundred kilometres can add up to big savings at the end of the year. If you’re interested in saving thousands of dollars on fuel each year, then read on to discover the best ways to improve your 4WDs fuel economy.
- Regularly service your vehicle
Regularly changing your oil and servicing your vehicle makes a big difference to your fuel economy. The oil in your engine acts both as a lubricator for moving parts and a cleaner, and a cleaner engine will offer better fuel economy. At the very least, you should regularly replace fluids such as engine fluids, transmission/gearbox/transfer case fluids and ensure your brakes are working well to prolong your vehicles lifespan.
- Drive more economically
Your driving style also plays a role in your 4WDs fuel economy. Rather than accelerating and braking quickly which consumes more fuel, it’s far more effective to accelerate slowly and let resistance do a lot of the braking for you. Additionally, the faster you drive on the highway, the more fuel you’ll consume per hundred kilometres. Beyond 80kph, most vehicles consume 15% more fuel for every 15kph above this speed. Obviously you’ll need to drive faster than this on the highway but keep this in mind next time you feel the urge to go over the speed limit!
- Using bigger tyres
Many 4WD owners increase the size of their tyres to improve their ground clearance which is ideal for off-roading, but your engine needs to work harder to keep them rotating. While you’ll notice that your RPM has dropped, you’re actually using more fuel and you should consider re-gearing your vehicle.You’ll also need to calibrate your speedometer and odometer as they’ll be incorrect. Even a 30mm increase will significantly affect your fuel economy and the smaller the motor in your 4WD, the more a tyre size increase will affect your fuel economy.
- Reduce your weight
It should really go without saying but the more your 4WD weighs, the harder your engine needs to work. If you only use your roof racks a few times a year then it’s best to remove them until they’re needed. Camping gear and tools also add significant weight to your vehicle so if they’re not needed, take them out and you’ll be surprised at how much fuel you’ll save. It’s estimated that 4WD owners save roughly 2% of fuel for every 50kg in weight.
- Clean your air filter
When you have a dirty air filter, you’re virtually choking the engine of proper airflow and oxygen which has a large impact on how much fuel you consume. You don’t need to replace it every time it gets dirty either, simply unclip the filter housing, remove the filter and give it a few taps against the tyre. It only takes a couple of minutes and the fuel savings are massive. Alternatively, you can always purchase an air intake snorkel which ensures your engine has clean air all year round!
- Tyre pressure
Having the appropriate tyre pressure is vital to both your fuel economy and the wear and tear of your tyres. The more air you have in your tyres, the better your fuel economy will be as there’s less rolling resistance. Too much air pressure will reduce your handling and you’ll wear out your tyres faster, so it’s vital that you have the correct tyre pressure for the conditions you’re driving on. Also remember that the larger the tyre, the less air is needed to keep your 4WD rolling.
At the end of the day, the amount of fuel you use is proportionate to how hard your engine needs to work to keep you moving. Weight, incorrect tyre pressure, dirty air filters and oil, and accelerating too quickly all result in your engine working overtime and therefore consuming more fuel. While the savings might not appear to be much, they add up quickly over the year!
If you have any further questions relating to your 4WD’s fuel economy, get in touch with the specialists at TJM Australia by phoning their staff on 07 3865 9999.