Drive at an optimum performance level

by By Latashni Gobi Nathan (latagn@sph.com.sg)
published on 21 June 2016

Want to improve your driving experience, stay safe and save more?

Getting to know your car is a good way to start.

Talk to the dealer or read up on your car’s manual to familiarise yourself with its features. Some features may help you to reduce fuel consumption or even allow for a more comfortable ride. Conduct research on driving techniques that will not only improve your car’s performance but keep you safe.

Here are some driving techniques and tips you can consider.

Smooth driving

While driving, it is always best to drive at a steady speed instead of going fast. This reduces the need for you to brake often when other vehicles get in front of you or when you have to make a turn. Braking often may mean you will need to change your brake pads more often. 

Driving at a steady pace will also allow your car to use its built-up kinetic energy more efficiently. If you need to slow down, lift your foot off the accelerator to allow your car to cruise comfortably before slowing down.

Mr Darren Wong, a manager at Volkswagen's Das WeltAuto Singapore said: “Eco driving is a term used to describe the energy-efficient use of vehicles. The technique helps to reduce the fuel consumption.

“These days, engine technology and performance of cars have improved rapidly. Eco driving represents a driving culture which suits modern engines and makes the best use of advanced vehicle technologies.”

While on the road, it is also best to keep a safe distance from the cars ahead of you. This way, you need not rely on how quickly you react, but can assess the situation and think of what to do in advance.

Motor oils

The electrical devices in your car work off the fuel in your car. As much as you can, reduce the usage of devices like the air-conditioning or radio. This will reduce the fuel consumption in your car and allow you to save costs.

Remember to change your car’s engine oil regularly. The oil acts as a lubricant, and reduces friction and excessive heat when the engine is working. Changing the oil once every few months will allow the engine to run smoothly and at its optimum level. It will also remove accumulated dirt that could possibly damage your engine and cause you to pay hefty repair costs in the long run.

Take note of the other motor oils in your car, like the transmission fluid, coolant liquid and brake fluid.

Tyre pressure

Depending on the size of your car, the required pressure in your tyres may vary. Ensuring your car tyres are inflated at the right air pressure can improve your car's road performance and ensure your safety.

Over-inflated or under-inflated tyres can cause unnecessary wear and tear. Tyres with the correct inflation pressure will evenly distribute the car’s weight and make full use of all the treads.

After prolonged driving, tyre treads can get worn out badly, which can affect how your car brakes and put you at risk of skidding on wet roads.

Mr Wong said: “Make sure you check your car's tyre pressure at least once a month, especially before a long trip or when travelling at higher speed.”

Fuel consumption may also go up when your tyres are under-inflated and worn out, as your car would have to use more energy to move and maintain its stability.

Keep a tyre pressure gauge handy to help monitor when you need to increase the tyre pressure.