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Friday, December 19, 2014

How Much Fuel Are You Wasting?

Although there are a wide variety of solutions on how to get from point A to point B, most people choose to go by car. Owning a car tends to cost a lot of money, but if you look at it from a different perspective, this big piece of movable machinery can also save you a ton of cash in the long run. 

Unless you can walk or bike everywhere you want to, you still have to spend money to get around. Whether you are jumping from one bus to another, or using a taxi, you can still find yourself spending the same amount of cash that you'd spend if you had a car. The only problem is that you don’t enjoy all the luxuries that go along with it.

Sure, cars tend to take a certain amount of money from your pocket almost every day, but some of these expenses can be reduced. First on the list is petrol. The vast majority of car owners in today’s world don’t really know what factors have a significant impact on their vehicle’s fuel usage.

 How much fuel are you wasting?
How much fuel are you wasting? Click image to learn more.

In order to save you money and improve your overall driving experience, here are some tips on how you can save on fuel:

1. Reduce your speed 

The faster you go, the faster your vehicle will suck all the fuel out of your tank. Sudden changes of pace tend to stimulate the motor and encourage it to take more and more petrol. Recent testing has shown that quick acceleration and heavy braking can reduce fuel economy by up to 33 percent on the motorway and 5 percent around town.

Don't race to that red light and then peel out when it turns green. You know you’ll have to stop. Instead of punching the gas pedal in an unnecessary attempt to close that distance, let your car coast to that light. When it turns green again, ease into traffic one more time and don’t force your motor to work more than it has to.

If you want to save yourself from a trip or two to the petrol station, cut down on aggressive acceleration and aggressive braking.

2. Drive steadily 

Drastically increasing your cruising speed can raise fuel consumption to as much as 20%. Driving up an incline of just 5% increases the amount of fuel you need by up to 30% in heavier cars.

This is just simple maths, really. For every kilometre per hour you're driving over the standard speed limit, you’re raising the price of the petrol you’re spending per kilometre. In order to avoid this, one must keep moving in a steady manner.

3. Avoid idling your vehicle 

Doing this gets you nowhere. Not only does idling waste fuel, it also causes harm to your engine. Many mechanics will advise that it’s much better to turn your engine off instead. Warming up the engine is one of the most common culprits when it comes to idling your car. Modern engines don't need to be warmed up when the weather is cold. In fact, driving will warm up your car faster than idling in the driveway, so your car's heater will actually start working faster if you just hit the road.

4. Air Control 

There's something of a debate about when it's more fuel-efficient to run the car's air conditioning rather than rely on open windows to cool you down. While running the AC drains power from the motor, driving with the windows down increases drag and costs you more kilometres per litre by making your car less aerodynamic.

So, what’s the best scenario? 

Playing with electrical accessories in your car tends to have an effect on your petrol usage. According to the test performed, if you are diving below 89 kph, it is more efficient to have your windows down than use AC. On the other hand, if you are driving faster than that, rolled windows would only increase the drag, and AC proves to be more economical.

If you decide to use AC anyway in an average car, it will use 2 - 3 % of fuel when driving approximately 80 kph, while the number rises to 6 - 7% when going even faster.

Although these numbers tend to vary from car to car, in general you want to rely on your windows for inner-city driving and use your AC only when you’re on an open road, driving fast without constant interference.

5. Travel light 

Removing unnecessary load from your car can most certainly have a noticeable effect on your petrol economy. Every one of us has tons of junk in the car that we don't use every day. Sure, it's ok to keep an extra set of tools and gloves in the truck, but do we really need to cruise around with such things as a baby seat if we're not currently driving kids? Do we need to constantly carry baseball bats, golf clubs and fishing gear if we're not immediately driving to a certain place where we’re going to partake in these activities? It seems not.

Making your car junk free can help you get more from your fuel tank. Think about this next time when you try to turn your car into a moving hangar.

6. Keep your tyres properly inflated 

Under-inflated tyres can increase your fuel intake by as much as 6%. In order to prevent extra petrol usage, you should check your tyre pressure at least once a month.

It's not always that easy to register if your tyres are under inflated. Radial tyres can be under inflated and yet still look normal. It is best to ask your mechanic or local petrol station clerk for assistance where possible. If your tyres are inflated too much, you could have a serious problem on your hands. 

While we’re still on the subject, there is just one more thing: badly aligned tyres increase drag and bring down fuel efficiency as well. Make sure you get your tyres checked for pressure every month or so.

7. Always be in the right gear 

Driving in a gear lower than you should wastes petrol. It makes it harder for the engine to run the machinery, thus it requires more petrol to push on through. Listen to your engine and help it smoothly pick up and decrease speed.

8. Use the correct motor oil

You can improve your mileage by 1%–2% by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your mileage by 1%–2% with the same amount of fuel.

Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

9. Detailed and smart trip planning 

In order to save you from mindlessly cruising and spending litres and litres of petrol in vain, sit down, check the map and find the easiest and most efficient way of how to get where you’re going. Running around in circles and missing one turn after another can cost you some extra bucks. Before you hit the road, take some time to think, do your homework, and you’ll have some extra money to spend on things other than petrol.

10. Think about aerodynamics when purchasing a car 

Wind resistance plays a key factor here. You can improve the aerodynamics of your car by keeping windows closed at high speeds and removing any roof racks when not in use. Weight can also increase fuel consumption, so remove heavy items from the boot when they’re not required. 

Transport plays a big part in our everyday lives. Next to food and water, transport stands as one of the most important things a modern man has to think about and often, it is not a luxury but a mere necessity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carzoos - Safety Features 101.

Safety is and should be a huge priority for any car purchase. However, it can be hard to determine between what you 'need' & what you 'want'. We here at Carzoos HQ have put together a little article of what’s important, what’s significant and what’s a bonus, when it comes to the safety features on your next car.

What's Important?

Stability Control - This tech is required on most new cars since 2012. Stability control will engage your engine to help combat loss of traction - invaluable on wet and slippery roads. This tech is arguably the biggest safety feature since seat belts.

Airbags + Side Airbags - Now, almost every car has a standard airbag these days. But these days having side airbag’s can be very important. T-bone accidents are quite common, and without a side-air bag there isn't too much between you and the front of the colliding vehicle.

What's Significant?

Reverse Camera - More and more modern cars (especially bigger utilities/SUV's) are coming with this feature as standard. Reverse cameras are more then just making sure you don't hit the letterbox as you reverse out. Many lives can be saved if you have clear vision of what's behind your wheels.

Blind spot detection - Your 'blind spot' becomes just a regular 'spot' with this feature. When your cursing at 100km/h on the motorway it's handy to know you have all blind spots covered. Not essential, but very handy.

What's A Bonus Feature?

Tyre pressure monitor - Unfortunately many drivers neglect to routinely check their tyre pressure. Low tyre pressure will significantly reduce the life of your tyres and worn tyres can affect your driving (especially in wet conditions). Simply routinely checking your tyres can negate the need for this feature, but if it's part of the package - all the better.

Advanced airbags - Advanced airbags have the ability to judge the weight and size of the person in the seat and ill then adjust its deployment accordingly. This feature can help determine if children are in the front seat etc. Not essential but a nice feature to have.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Obama & the BEAST.

The "Beast"

When it comes to protective vehicles there is reportedly nothing more enduring then President Obama's wheels.

The most recent vehicle to be customised as the presidential car is a Chevrolet Kodiak-based, Cadillac-badged limousine often referred to as Cadillac One. (A reference to the presidential aircraft - Air Force One)

It's armour plating is said to be 8+ inches thick with it's doors weighing as much as those on a Boeing 757. The windows are a staggering 5 inches think, enough to repel some seriously heavy gunfire. The tyres are Kevlar reinforced run flats. Pop the boot and you will find firefighting equipment, oxygen tanks and even a cache of the Presidents bloody type - for transfusions on the run.
When you're as influential and powerful as the President of the United States, a vehicle this excessive is justified.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trucking Into 2025

Is this the future of trucking? Late last month Mercedes-Benz released their vision for trucking in 2025. 

Dubbed the "Future Truck 2025" - this concept was showcased at the International Commercial Vehicles Show in Germany. It's high tech and it's sleek. The LED lighting seen in the grill illuminates white when the truck is underway but will then turn blue when the truck is in autopilot.

That's the distinguishing feature - An array of radar sensors (in addition to the latest blind-spot system) scan the road and traffic around the truck to move down the highway free and easy and clear of other vehicles.

This technology is not that far away, so, by the time 2025 rolls around, this tech should have had the kinks worked out. With an interior as groovy as this, and the ability to go autopilot, we predict many folks will be putting up their hands to jump into the trucking industry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From The Military To The Masses.

From saving lives to your car.

Creativity and innovation are often shackled by the lack of funds, fundamentally it's expensive to create and experiment. Where the budget never seems to be lacking, especially in the US, is in the military sphere. There is no great surprise to know that many innovations we use on the roads today were initially conceived to help take and save lives.

The military can be thanked for many great innovations which have be adapted to the mass consumers. Let's take a look at a few we use on todays roads.

The Global Positioning System, was originally developed for American Air Force and Navy use. Between 1973 and 1978, Dr. Bradford Parkinson worked with both military branches to develop the Navstar GPS system. The system uses multiple satellites to triangulate users’ location and help navigate. Today, almost every car, truck, plane & phone has a GPS system as standard with American, Chinese and European networks in use.

If you know what a car is, you know what a Jeep is. 4WD technology has actually been around since the turn of the 20th century. By the 1930s, the military needed a scout car that could have speed and versatility in addition to hauling power and all-terrain capacity. The problem was that these two features were mutually exclusive from an engineering standpoint. The first Jeep that made it to battle, the Willys-Overland MB, provided the answer as the perfect army scout vehicle. Its performance in the war was so outstanding that Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “America could not have won World War II without it.”

From fighter pilots to your car.
or 'Heads Up Display" is that floating readout graphic you see in front of fighter pilots helmets. HUD's evolved from weapons sites during 1940s, utilising reflections. It wasn't until the 1960s when the first modern version of the HUD was used by a french test-pilot Gilbert Klopfstein. In the 1970s HUD was introduced into commercial aviation and now it is a standard extra in most modern makes of cars. 

The classic Tom Cruise Aviators from the movie Top Gun were in fact originally designed for fighter pilots. A design that prevented as much sunlight as possible from reaching the eye led to Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, which became standard gear for men enlisted in the military during World War II. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Run Flats vs. Regular Tyres.

Picture this.. You're on the side of the road, your tyre is blown out. You have 2 options, either call for roadside assistance or you can roll up your sleeves and change the tyre yourself. What if there was a 3rd option? Well there is, and this is where 'run flats' come into their own.

'Run flats' give you the ability to continue to drive your vehicle for an additional 80km's* following a puncture or blowout. This gives the driver the ability to exit the road safely and drive (a considerable distance) to the nearest repair shop.

Even though changing a tyre is an important skill, the idea of 'run flat' tyres sounds pretty handy. The added benefit of losing the weight of a spare tire and tools could help with fuel efficiency too.

There are two main types of 'run flat' tyres: Self-Supporting, and Auxiliary Supported. Self-Supporting tyres have stiffer and tougher rubber, which can temporarily carry the weight of the vehicle under lower tyre pressure. Auxiliary supported tyres don’t have stiffer and tougher rubber, but are attached to a special rim which has a steel support ring that is attached to the wheel and can support the weight of the vehicle.

So whats the catch? You probably guess it  - price. On average 'run flats' are one third more expensive then regular tyres, and can be dramatically more then that.

Performance. As you can imagine driving on a tyre with next to no pressure will affect your vehicles performance and handling. It has been documented some users have expressed concern whereas others felt the car responded fine, considering it had no pressure.

If changing a tyre is an uncomfortable or intimidating process, then 'run flats' are ideal for you. You will be paying for convenience. If you're on a budget or you can't justify the effort vs cost then your standard tyre is more then adequate for the job.

*Distances can vary - always check with the manufacturer for the specifics of the tyre you are using.

Check below for all the technical details.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Weirdly Functional Designs

Is this the greatest "Surfer" vehicle ever created? Road tripping is a big part of any committed surfers passion and if you had these wheels and this level of comfort - no wave would be too far away. Construction artist Jay Nelson, from San Francisco has created an 'Ewok' inspired custom camper truck.

Nelson, a respected surfer and fine artist from San Francisco, is who you call when you need a tree house or bicycle camper. His weirdly functional designs are all totally unique and are made to order.

If you're a surfer or a natural explorer, these are the rides you want. If Carzoos ever get their hands on one of these rides we will be a bunch of very happy 'campers'.