Vishal Khanna Senior Content Executive at GoMechanic | Automobile Enthusiast | Automobile Engineer | Blogger | YouTuber | The DIY Automotive Guy

Car consuming more fuel?

4 min read

“Why is my car consuming more fuel?”

This is the most common question that troubles most of the car owners in India. All of us consider some factors while buying a new car and fuel efficiency is the most commonly preferred thing that Indians want their cars to have. Maruti Suzuki is the largest selling brand in India and this is only because they have delivered the maximum figure to the question ‘Kitna deti hai?’

Fuel efficiency is definitely a thing that a car should have. This one is counted over all the other features. A car delivering low fuel mileage can indicate many things. You can correct some of them by yourself if you read this article till the end. On the other hand, there are some serious issues for which you need trained mechanics to diagnose your car. Here are some of the reasons due to which your car could be consuming more fuel.

  • Faulty Engine/Engine Issues

    Starting with the most extreme case that a car could be suffering through is a faulty engine. A damaged engine cannot work properly and in turn, can consume more fuel. Now you might be thinking that the engine itself can’t be faulty when the car has run only a few km. You are right. The engine may be fine but the crucial components that contribute to the combustion cycle could be faulty. For instance, a faulty spark plug or O2 sensor in a petrol engine and a dirty fuel injector in a diesel engine can cause more consumption of fuel resulting in low fuel mileage. Your engine may function normally for a while but the fuel won’t be burnt efficiently. This will eventually cause your car to consume more fuel than usual.

    Faulty Engine can cause low fuel mileage

  • Wrong/Incorrect Engine Oil

    One of the reasons for your car consuming more fuel could be the engine oil. This is a vital element that your engine needs to function properly. For your information, there are several engine oil grades available. You should be careful while selecting one for your car. Engine oil which is thicker than the recommended grade makes the pistons move less freely causing the engine to overheat and ultimately cause consumption of more fuel thereby resulting in low fuel mileage.

    Poor fuel mileage due to Wrong Engine Oil

  • Poor Fuel Quality

    You should always be careful about what goes into your engine. A poor quality fuel can severely affect your engine’s efficiency and its life also. There are many additives available at fuel stations that make your car run better with the same fuel. But again be careful while selecting any additive for your car. A wrong or duplicate additive can ultimately cost you much more than what the fuel would have done! A good fuel additive cleans the intake valves of petrol engines and injector nozzles of diesel engines to reduce the accumulation of after-burn deposits. This can easily avoid a car from delivering low fuel mileage.

    Fuel Quality affects mileage

  • Using the AC all the time

    Using the air conditioner is also one of the reasons why your car could be consuming more fuel. Your car AC extracts power from your car’s engine only. Therefore the engine undergoes more pressure due to which it has to do more work and ultimately consume more fuel. Keeping the windows down would be a wise decision until the temperature is bearable. This will help you avoid low fuel mileage. However, if you are driving the car at higher speeds, then opening the windows increase the drag causing the engine to work more as well. So if you are driving at a high speed, your car AC won’t cost you much extra fuel.

    How a Car AC work? Automotive Air Conditioning Explained

  • Worn Out Tyres

    If your car tyres are worn out, the grip is lost and as a result, they spin more to move. This can be a major reason which can cause your car to consume more fuel. On the other hand, if your tyres are inflated below the recommended pressure, your car will consume more fuel in this case too. Looking after your car’s tyres regularly is a good habit that will not only help you avoid low fuel mileage but also help your vehicle’s suspension to remain young for long.

    Tyre Condition affects the fuel mileage

  • Poor Maintenance and Short Trips

    Poor maintenance also causes the car to consume more fuel. If you ignore your car’s service intervals then you will surely burn more fuel as your engine won’t run smoothly. The air elements will be clogged and therefore, more fuel will be required by the car to run for the same kilometre range. Also, if you take your car out on short trips often, then you will also notice your car consuming more fuel. This is because all the vehicles are least efficient and most polluting at thew start of their journey and during short trips. Trips which are less than 5 kms don’t let the engine to reach its optimum operating temperature, therefore, the engine uses more fuel.

    Regular servicing helps avoid low fuel mileage

  • Driving in the Wrong Gear

    This one is strictly for manual car owners. Driving a car in a lower gear will make the car consume more fuel and cause it to deliver bad mileage. Similarly, driving the car at a higher gear will also cause more consumption of fuel. In order to extract the maximum efficiency from your car’s engine, you need to drive your car in the optimum gear just as the automatic transmission does it for you!

    Driving in a wrong gear affects fuel mileage

  • Erratic Driving Style/Habits

    If you drive your car at a higher rpm range, you will definitely consume more fuel. Also, if you shift gears often, your engine goes through fluctuation of torque output which causes it to consume more fuel. Hitting the pedal to the metal doesn’t make any sense. Be slow and steady when you start accelerating. Same is the case with braking. Keep a careful check on the road. Repetitive braking and sudden acceleration cause low fuel mileage on your car so try avoiding that on a busy road.

    Sudden braking and accelaration causes low fuel mileage

  •  Unnecessary Idling

    Modern-day cars don’t need to be warmed up before you set off on your journey. Switch the engine on once you are ready to leave. While you are travelling, you can save even more fuel by turning the engine off at times where you need to halt for long intervals. For example, you can turn your engine off on a traffic signal where you need to stand for 1 minute or more. FYI, it takes less amount of fuel to restart the engine than it takes to keep the engine idling for that particular interval of time. The wear and tear are also negligible therefore you can get rid of your car delivering low fuel mileage.

    Avoiding unnecessary idling saves fuel

  • Worn out Clutch

    This is also one of the reasons why your car might be consuming more fuel and your fuel mileage will be low. You didn’t know this one we bet! A worn-out clutch makes the plates slip rather than one of them rotating the other. A new clutch has minimal slippage tendency but this increases as the clutch begin wearing out with time. This results in a loss in the overall power that the wheels receive from the engine and thereby decreases the transmission efficiency which leads to car consuming more fuel and delivering low fuel mileage.

  • Overloading

    Last on the list, but this one can also lead your car to consume more fuel and result in delivering poor fuel mileage. Just have a look at your car’s user’s manual and you will see how much load it can carry. The recommended limit of load that a vehicle can carry is tested by the manufacturer and the performance of the vehicle doesn’t get affected until that point. Not only fuel mileage but overloading your vehicle can badly affect your car’s suspension, tyres, transmission and at last, the engine!

    Do you know that some of the cars that have racks installed on their roofs also deliver poor fuel mileage? Yes, all the cars having load-carrying roof racks are not meant to have those! The roof racks badly affect the airflow when the car is running and result in poor fuel mileage. Just to let you know, using a roof rack to carry cargo can decrease your mileage anywhere from 2% in city driving to 20% at highway speeds.

Vishal Khanna Senior Content Executive at GoMechanic | Automobile Enthusiast | Automobile Engineer | Blogger | YouTuber | The DIY Automotive Guy