Depressing as it may be, the tottering economic situation, in this country and across much of the world, is a fact. This means we must live with it but we needn’t merely accept it passively. We can take active steps to keep costs down, and in regard to our motoring and especially our car tyres, there are plenty of tips and tricks for saving money.
The deductive powers of a Sherlock Holmes aren’t needed to figure out where car tyre factors could be costing us money. The key word is ‘efficiency’, and here’s how inefficiency can affect motoring costs.
All cars give a certain power output. Whether this is quoted in kilowatts, pferdestärke or good old horsepower is irrelevant, power can be wasted by inefficiency. A certain amount of power is required to make a car progress, and anything that impedes this progression is wasteful. Under inflated car tyres require more power to make progress, because the lesser tyre pressure increases their rolling resistance. Run your car tyres at the correct pressure, or even a little higher, and you’ll soon see rewards at the fuel pump.
Of course, it isn’t just car tyres that can cause drag, which in turn increases fuel consumption. The current warm weather makes it tempting to use the car’s air conditioning. Would you use it so readily if you knew it could worsen your car’s fuel consumption by up to 11 per cent? You could open some windows, but this creates aerodynamic drag – it seems you can’t win. In fact, it makes sense to cool the car interior by opening the windows at slower speeds. When motoring at 40mph or over, use the aircon – it costs less.
All car tyres create some drag, that’s also a fact. All car tyres also carry weight, and it’s a fact that the amount they carry can be trimmed, in some cases radically. What you carry on a regular basis in your car depends largely on how you use your car. That said, a lot of people carry unnecessary objects in the car at all times. You could argue that you really need your Wellington boots, snow shovel, overcoat and Thermos flask on board. Well, argue away – you’re carrying what represents dead weight for August and it’s you who are buying the fuel. A combination of ruthlessness and good sense about what lives in the car and when isn’t hard to apply.
Similar thinking should apply to your car’s roof rack or roof box. Sure, it’s well away from your car tyres but what’s on the roof costs you fuel simply by being their. Each has a weight, which you’re paying to transport. Each has a degree of air resistance, even if your roof box has sexy, aerodynamic styling. Again, you’re paying to push that roof-mounted deadweight through the air. Remove it when not in use and your pocket will thank you.
There are a more fuel wasters than car tyre rolling resistance. Driving too hard and/or too fast when you needn’t are money guzzlers, as are speed camera fines and the increased insurance cost of points on your licence. Use the most efficient route, use the highest possible gear and above all, use your head. Everything in this article comes under a single heading, common sense.