Knowing your engine

  • Jun 27, 2014
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Engine is the heart of your car. Knowing it well and keeping it healthy can save you a lot of fuel

BMW M3 Engine for representation purpose only

Buying an efficient vehicle is half the battle won. You can read our guide on how to buy one for that. But making your fuel efficient vehicle deliver the desired economy is purely up to you. A major part of getting good economy out of your car is knowing your engine. The internal combustion engine does one thing – burn fuel to develop power to propel your car forward, or backward. Clearly then, an engine in good working condition will be easier on the wallet.

But first, once you have selected the type of fuel – petrol/diesel for your car, selecting the right engine to power your car is important. Larger engine capacity is not entirely directly proportional to fuel economy. Of course a car with a 4-cylinder 1.2-litre engine will return better economy than a V6 or V8 unit but when engine capacities aren’t too far apart, it isn’t necessary that a smaller engine will be more efficient than a slightly larger one. The reason is simple; a smaller engine is strained more easily and driven closer to the red-line more often. So first you need to know your usage. Do not go for an underpowered vehicle if you do a lot of driving in the hills and the highway as the engine will be strained at most times. 

Secondly, keep your engine maintained. This essentially means filling good quality fuel and changing engine oil at prescribed intervals. Let us emphasize on the quality of fuel here… There are a handful of fuel marketing companies in India so you must be presuming the quality of fuel will be standard across pumps, but it isn’t. Several fuel stations indulge in adulteration which affects the engine. Compromised fuel can affect acceleration and negatively impact output. So test the fuel stations in your area one after the other every time it’s time to fill fuel. If the car gets too jerky or doesn’t deliver the power you were getting earlier, move to the next fuel station the next time. Once you find quality fuel, stick to that fuel station. A smooth running engine is a more economical one.

Refer to our guide on the right kind of oil for your car. Engine oil maintains health of the engine and prolongs its life. Wear and tear can be delayed by filling good quality oil at regular intervals. Next you need to keep the engine cool. For that check coolant levels regularly. It’s the bright fluid in the translucent tank in the engine bay. Coolant is radiator fluid circulating through the engine to keep it cool. 

Clean your air filters from time to time. Fuel needs air to combust. This air is filtered by the air filter first so if the filter is clogged, you aren’t getting enough air to combust fuel leading to lower rate of combustion. If all is ignored, the least you can do is pay attention to the warning lights on your dashboard. If the check engine light is on, it’s best you get it checked at the earliest.  A smooth running engine is a fuel efficient engine.

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