TEN 4WD-FRIENDLY TIPS
Your rig will chew fuel in proportion to the resistance it encounters, whether it’s wind resistance, road resistance and resistance caused by strain on the engine.
Let’s be honest here, due to the shape of the vehicle and the nature of touring you’re going to be spending a fortune on fuel, but if you play it smart it can mean the difference between a small fortune and large fortune.
- PACK LIGHT: Well, as lightly as possible. Drawers, fridge slides, jerry cans. If you’re not straying too far from the tarmac there’s no need to go any further.
- WORK OUT THE ESSENTIALS: We’re talking wind resistance here; bullbars, yes; roofrack, probably; rooftop tinnie, take another look and make sure it’s worth the extra amount of fuel.
- SLOW DOWN: When towing a trailer on a highway, you can save 25% on fuel consumption if you’re driving around the 80kph mark instead of at 110kph. This knowledge also comes with a caveat. Please do not be that guy who’s not aware of other traffic on bendy one-lane highways (We’re looking at you caravan folk between Rocky and Mackay), looking all smug because you saved a couple of cents at the expense of other people doing an already arduous stretch. Let as many people pass as possible when you get to the overtaking section, most of them have jobs to get to while you’re on holidays.
- CHILL OUT: Keep it real behind the wheel and don’t jerk around, always accelerate and brake smoothly as the stop-start nature of twitchy driving causes major increases in engine strain and, by proxy, fuel consumption.
- GET AN AIR COMPRESSOR: Drive to the conditions, and drive so the ride’s as smooth as possible. To do so it’s best to be running at the optimum tyre pressure for your rig. The correct road PSI is printed on a placard inside the driver’s door jamb, so be sure to maintain that when on the applicable surfaces. Which is where your air compressor comes in. Use it as when hitting the road after any offroad work. Driving around with rubber to your rims not only makes it look like you’re a ‘perp’ on Wildest Police Chases, it can also screw your tyres and cost wads extra in fuel.
- LOOK INTO CHIPS AND EXHAUST UPGRADES: If you’re running a diesel system, you’re likely to see a decrease in fuel usage when paired with the optimum exhaust system and, most importantly, when tuned by a diesel specialist.
- KEEP MOVING: Hate to be a killjoy here but the energy taken to stop and start over and over again on smaller trips will cost extra in fuel.
- THE ALTERNATOR IS YOUR FRIEND: Be kind to it, when running excessive stereos, air con, battery systems and other forms of electronic ephemera it will place a burden on your alternator and will make your engine work harder. Make sure you’re only running the essentials. If it’s not hot, turn the air con off entirely. This can make a huge difference.
- CHOOSE YOUR RIG WISELY: Manufacturers will also underestimate their fuel consumption. Using a best-case scenario, with a tail wind, down a hill. So while this should still be taken into account, do plenty of research with people who own the same model.
- KEEP YOUR VEHICLE CLEAN: If you wanna get weird and nerdy, you might save a couple of extra cents by driving through the rain or blasting grime off with a hose. It’s fitting that this is the last tip, because we reckon it’ll be negligible if you’re carrying an extra couple of kilos of caked mud on the panels. (Not much interesting happens where clean cars wander anyway).