Extend the life of your Volkswagen
Tips on driving and maintaining my Volkswagen
You have chosen a fuel-efficient vehicle to meet your everyday needs, you can now achieve additional savings and reduce your impact on the environment by following some helpful tips.
- Follow Volkswagen recommended maintenance schedule. A poorly maintained vehicle can consume up to 50 percent more fuel and significantly increase emissions.
- Measure your tire pressure at least once a month when they are cold. Inflate tires to the recommended pressure, usually indicated on a sticker found on the car door, glove compartment or in the owner’s manual. For every 14 kPa (2 psi) of under-inflation, fuel use increases by about 1 percent. Properly inflated tires will last longer, can save fuel and make your vehicle safer to drive.
- Use a block heater in the winter to warm your engine before starting. A cold engine is at its worst for fuel consumption, engine wear and exhaust emissions. Block heaters can improve overall winter fuel economy by as much as 10 percent by pre-warming the engine, coolant and oil. Use a timer to automatically turn on the block heater two hours before you plan to start your vehicle.
- Use your air conditioning sparingly. Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by 20 percent in city driving because of the extra load on the engine. Use your car’s flow-through ventilation or open a window. If you use your vehicle’s air conditioning, set the controls to a comfort level that allows the system to shut off the air conditioning once the interior of the vehicle is cooled.
- Drive at or below the posted maximum speed. Increasing your highway speed from 100 km/h to 120 km/h can increase fuel consumption by about 20 percent.
- Reduce unnecessary idling. Idling for more than 10 seconds burns more fuel than it takes to restart the engine. The best way to warm up your vehicle is to drive it. In most cases, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days; of course, make sure that you can see clearly out your windows before driving away.
- Don’t overuse your remote car starter. People with remote car starters tend to start their cars long before they are ready to drive. Remote starts result in unnecessary idling and wasted fuel. If you use a remote car starter, start your car shortly before you are ready to drive away.
- Take off the roof rack. A loaded or empty roof rack increases fuel consumption through aerodynamic drag. A removable roof rack, installed only when needed, is your best option.
- Check fluid levels once a month. Check engine oil, engine coolant, transmission fluid and power steering fluid as indicated in the owner’s manual, and change fluids according to the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual. Also check around and under the car for fluid leaks.
- Check for wheel alignment and brake drag that can increase fuel consumption. Check for uneven tire wear. Have your vehicle serviced regularly, and don’t rest your foot on the brake pedal when you are driving.
- Remove unnecessary weight. If you add weight to your vehicle for extra traction in the winter months, remember to remove it when the snow melts. Unnecessary weight results in wasted fuel and unnecessary emissions.
- Make one long trip instead of several short trips. Taking short trips (less than 5 km) burns more fuel, regardless of the season, because the engine and drivetrain don’t reach their most efficient operating temperature.
- Adopt fuel-efficient driving habits. Plan your driving by looking ahead of traffic. Anticipate problems: keep a sufficient space between your vehicle and the one ahead to avoid sudden braking. Accelerate smoothly. Abrupt starts and stops waste fuel.
- Leave the car at home or somewhere partway to your destination. Walk, cycle, carpool or take public transit whenever you can.
*Natural Resources of Canada