Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Top 5 Causes of High Fuel Consumption

Part of the ‘Save £520 in 2012’ Series

There are a whole range of factors which will cause high(er) fuel consumption. Some of the factors play a large part and some not so much, ranging from total distance travelled, to driving style and vehicle maintenance.

However, the fact remains that fuel consumption can be significantly reduced by following the tips & tricks we outline in the coming days and weeks.

1. Distance Travelled

It sounds obvious, but the further you travel the more fuel is used. So with the average commute now taking 200 hours per year and a general reliance on our cars to get to the about, fuel consumption is directly related to how far you travel.

This is the number one method to save real money, either by combining journeys or reducing the amount of driving you do. Look out for ‘5 Ways to Realistically Reduce Driving Distance’.

2. Driving Style

Inefficient driving styles result in poor fuel efficiency, which ultimately leads to higher fuel consumption. A few changes to your driving style could provide a really noticeable difference and a very important method of reducing your fuel consumption. There are a number of ways to improve your fuel efficiency (MPG), including:

  • Avoid heavy braking.
  • Driving at the most efficient speed.
  • Adopt a smooth driving style.
  • Plus many more...

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook, where we’ll be sharing daily driving style tips, starting on Monday 23rd January. Also stay tuned for our

3. Vehicle Drag & Air Resistance

A motor car is designed to carve a path through the air, minimising the effect of air resistance. The greater the air resistance, the greater the power required to accelerate and maintain speed on the road. Aerodynamic shape can be hampered in a number of ways, including open windows, a roof rack or anything else which restricts the flow of air across your car.

Correctly inflated tyres also play an important role, in minimising drag of the road surface on the vehicle. Optimally inflated tyres will run more smoothly on the road surface and reduce the effort required (by the engine) to accelerate and maintain speed.

4. Vehicle Age & Maintenance

For optimum engine performance, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. Clean, fresh oil and new air filters, are just a couple of ways of ensuring optimal performance of the engine.

That said, engine wear and tear will naturally reduce fuel efficiency over the life cycle of the vehicle. Prevention is difficult, other than to consider the purchase of a new car. Vehicle manufacturers are continually striving to produce more fuel efficient engines, so it might be time to consider a newer model.

5. Electrical devices

The electrical systems in your car include the car stereo, air conditioning, electric windows, windscreen wipers & lights. All of the electrical systems require power from the car battery. To recharge the battery, the alternator uses power from the engine to replenish the lost battery voltage, which adds up to increased fuel consumption.

Whilst it’s impossible to stop using your wipers in the rain or your lights in the dark, it might be possible to reduce your overall usage of electrical systems. The overall impact on fuel consumption might be small, but it’s a combination of the factors discussed above which will produce the greatest benefit.

Next Up

'10 Top Tips for Reducing Fuel Consumption.'

Friday, 30 December 2011

5 Reasons to Reduce your Fuel Consumption

The ever increasing need to save fuel

The rise in fuel prices coincides with one of the worst economic environments we have faced. Unemployment is rising and wages are being stretched by the increasing cost of living.

Our dependence as a nation on the motor vehicle and the amount we all spend on petrol or diesel, makes fuel consumption a number one target for saving money.

1. The Cost of Filling Up

According to the Daily Mirror, the average yearly fuel bill of a two child family is £2445. Add that to the cost of maintenance: Tax, MOT, insurance, tyres and other repairs – and there has never been a more appropriate time to reduce fuel consumption.

2. High Fuel Prices

Petrol and diesel prices are at an all time high, with the AA reporting that the average price of fuel in the UK now at a staggering 133.7ppl (pence per litre) for petrol and 140.9ppl for diesel!

3. Inflation of Fuel Prices

Who remembers when fuel was below a £1 per litre? Well I can tell you that it wasn’t that long ago. For arguments sake, let’s just say 2 years ago: that’s inflation of 20.5% per year! There doesn’t seem to be much of a recession on the global oil markets!

Consider then, that based on the current Retail Price Index (RPI), fuel has risen approximately 15% above inflation. Can there be a better reason to try and cut down?

4. The Distance we Travel

How far do you drive to get to work? With the average employee now spends nearly 200 hours per year commuting – the price of fuel at the pump makes the drive to work much more expensive and eats into your wages that little bit more - pinching an increasing proportion of your monthly income.

5. Do it for the Environment

We now travel further than ever before in our automobiles. But if cost doesn’t matter, or you like to be green, do it for the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.

Don't Forget...Tell Your Friends & Family

We’re sure your friends and family would also love to save £10 per week. Invite them to subscribe to the series now via the Starter Motor Blog.

Reduce Your Fuel Bill by £520 in 2012..

Top Tips for Saving Fuel in 2012...

Would you like to save £520 in the next year?

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to share some great insights with you. Our aim is simply to help you save £10 per week (£520/year), by reducing your fuel consumption.

Our useful hints & tips will cover:
  • How to reduce fuel consumption
  • How to improve your fuel economy (MPG)
  • Fuel efficient driving styles
  • Effective vehicle maintenance for optimal fuel efficiency
  • A daily tip via Facebook & Twitter

It’s a completely free to view series and it’s sure to provide a welcome saving! What better way to save a few quid, than to get from A to B for a little bit less?

What’s up Next?

We’ll be releasing the 1st article in the series really soon and we’ll keep you posted. Look out for ‘The Causes of High Fuel Consumption’.

In the mean time, why not check out something else we’ve prepared for your information: 5 reasons to reduce your fuel consumption.

Stay Tuned

Every article will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and on the Starter Motor Blog, so you can stay tuned in many different ways.

Daily Hints & Tips

For our daily fuel saving tips, you’ll need to become a fan on Facebook or Twitter.

Tell Your Friends & Family

We’re sure you friends and family would also love to save £10 per week. Invite them to subscribe to the series now via the Starter Motor Blog.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What is a Starter Motor and how does it work?

The Starter Motor's Role

The starter motor is an electrical motor which is required to start your engine. Powered by the vehicle’s battery, the starter motor is a rotating component, which, once engaged, provides the initial drive required to start the engine.

Starter motors are found on internal combustion engines. They have a distinctive shape and connect directly to the flywheel of the engine.

How does a Starter Motor work?

The diagram on the right illustrates the workings of the starter motor circuit.

When you turn the key operated switch (the ignition) on your vehicle, electrical current from the car battery is applied to the solenoid within the starter motor.

This action causes the starter motor to rotate, thus providing drive to the engines flywheel. The flywheel then releases its stored energy to the crankshaft, which kick starts an internal combustion engine.

What is an Alternator & What does it do?

Quite simply, without an alternator your car, or whichever vehicle you have, would not start. The alternator is part of a very important electrical charging system in your vehicle and is integral to starting the engine.

So, What is an Alternator?

To prevent battery failure, most vehicles are fitted with an Alternator, whose purpose is to provide continual charge to the battery whilst engine is running. This supply of power prevents the battery from going flat.

But why? Every vehicle is fitted with a battery, which has a dual purpose:

1. Providing the power to turn the starter motor
2. Running the vehicles electrical systems e.g. car stereo and headlights

A problem common to all batteries is that their charge (power) is used up over repeated usage, eventually resulting in failure. Not a problem in your TV remote, just replace the batteries every 6 months or so. But a car battery costs significantly more and is not something you want to be replacing every few weeks!

How does an Alternator work?

The alternator’s role is to charge the battery and it does so by converting kinetic energy from the crankshaft, into electrical power. The alternator is connected to and powered by the crankshaft, by a drive belt. Most modern vehicles are fitted with a serpentine drive belt, which drives multiple rotating components. When the engine is running, the drive belt rotates the alternator, which converts the kinetic energy into AC electrical current (alternating current), via a process known as electromagnetism.

However one problem remains, the fact that the battery requires DC power (direct current). Before power can be sent to the battery, the vehicle’s electrical system first needs to convert the AC power to DC power and it does so by passing the AC current through the diode pack, where the rectifier converts it into DC current.

After successfully navigating the rectifier, the DC electrical current leaves the alternator along the thick B+ terminal, providing the required charge to ensure the longevity of your battery.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Safely Working in the Engine Bay

There are some basic safety precautions that you should take when working in the engine bay of your vehicle.

Safety Equipment Checklist:

1. Safety glasses - always wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from debris or chemicals.
2. Chemical resistant gloves - to protect your hands against chemicals.

General Precautions:

1. The engine contains many moving parts. Work with the engine off unless its necessary.
2. Connect the vehicle exhaust to an exhaust evacuation system or park outside – carbon monoxide is a deadly gas.
3. Park in gear and apply hand brake.

Engine Wont Start

Engine Won’t Start or Problems Starting Engine

Summary: Car won’t start, general engine starting problems, faulty alternator or starter motor?

If you’re having trouble starting your car, van, lorry, boat, industrial or agricultural application, there could be a number of faulty engine parts causing the problem. This short guide will help you to identify an alternator problem or a faulty starter motor.

First Things First – Tell Tale Signs

Turn detective and look for evidence of a faulty alternator or starter motor. If you’re experiencing any of the following then a problematic alternator or starter motor may be the cause.

Common Symptoms of Alternator & Starter Motor Failure

•    Abnormal noises, such as knocking sounds or clicking
•    The engine is not turning over at all
•    The engine struggles to turn over
•    Nothing happens when you turn the key i.e. ignition doesn’t come on
•    The engine cut out whilst you were driving
•    Some electrical systems stopped working e.g. car radio or lights
•    The lights are shining less brightly than usual
•    A flat battery

Proceed to Testing

If you can identify with any of the symptoms above then it’s possible that you have a faulty alternator or starter motor. The next logical step is to test your alternator or test your starter motor. Our testing guides follow a systematic approach and will enable a correct root problem diagnosis.

Next Step: Visit our alternator testing or starter motor testing