I have previously shared with you a number of myths and misconceptions about efficient driving . By far the most common mistake is to use the highest gears even in driving conditions that would require more power, such as driving up a hill or driving around town at very low speeds.
What is the problem?
If you choose to use the highest gears under these circumstances, the engine is most likely to stall and eventually stall.
Some people mistakenly do not downshift, thinking that this will prevent increased fuel consumption. Instead, they are forced to depress the accelerator pedal fully in order to maintain speed.
Unfortunately, the effects of this practice are devastating. Not only will you end up consuming more fuel, but it will cause irreparable damage to the engine.
What are the most serious breakdowns caused by incorrect “efficient driving”?
Cylinder head gasket
Fully depressing the accelerator will cause the combustion chamber temperature to rise, which can lead to cylinder head gasket rupture, especially in cases where the vehicle does not have an engine temperature clock. The repair of this type of breakdown can cost 3,000 euros.
Main bush and connecting rod foot
The combination of low revs and full throttle causes the fuel to ignite prematurely and thus the piston to drop before reaching the end of its stroke. In such cases, the crankshaft and connecting rod bearings are subjected to extreme stress that can cause the connecting rod to break and bore holes in the entire block.
For the same reasons that I have already described repeatedly, the piston does not rise or fall in a rectilinear way, but oscillates, increasing friction, wear and temperature. In addition, oil and water pumps lose efficiency and move less flow.
But there is still more …
If you think that these types of breakdowns are serious enough, wait until you read the added complications in diesel engines. The dirt they generate only gets worse when you step on the accelerator while the engine is at low revs.
What are the most serious breakdowns in diesel engines caused by incorrect “efficient driving”?
In addition to those already cited above, diesel engines can experience the following complications:
Gas recirculation systems
The intake ducts as well as the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve are clogged as a result of ash build-up. The consequent breakdowns can range between 60 and 400 euros, depending on the type of part affected.
The turbo is a relatively delicate part, the shaft of which can seize as a result of the accumulation of soot. If it is not cleaned periodically, it will be necessary to replace it and face the corresponding cost.
Anti-particulate filters (FAP)
Excess soot caused by combustion is also the cause of the particulate filters becoming clogged very quickly. Diesel engines incorporate an anti-particulate filter regeneration cycle that involves post-fuel injections, whose purpose is to clean the filter by burning the ash present inside.
The problem with these post-injections is that they represent a notable increase in fuel consumption, which is totally contradictory to the purpose of efficient driving. In addition, frequent washing of the cylinder walls causes the cylinders to lose lubrication and wear out more quickly.
Excess diesel – as a consequence of low revs and full foot on the accelerator – ends up rushing into the crankcase, rapidly degrading the oil. Just replacing a particulate filter can cost between 4,000 and 5,000 euros.
Is Start & Stop really an efficient driving resource?
The well-known Start & Stop system has always been considered an excellent efficient driving mechanism, designed to reduce fuel consumption and noise pollution in large cities.
Certainly that is correct. With today’s technology, vehicles consume more power in idle than with a stop-start process.
So what is the problem?
Unfortunately, this is not always compatible with a greater longevity of the mechanics and, therefore, better health for your pocket.
- Every time you proceed to perform an immediate restart and start, you are preventing the engine from lubricating properly. This may be unnoticeable when driving in isolation, but using the Start & Stop device makes this happen several times during the driving process, especially in the city. The repeated lack of lubrication of the engine before starting off causes it to wear out more quickly.
- The service life of engines with a Start & Stop system tends to be shorter, despite the fact that they have a reinforced starter.
- The cells inside the battery weaken more quickly, as a result of the continuous demands of voltage during the stop and start of the march. In fact, these are special batteries, more expensive than conventional ones.
- The alternator is also overused, which will cause it to deteriorate much sooner.
Efficient driving advice should be applied, as long as its fundamentals are known. Otherwise, you can get into absurd situations that generate a detriment to the mechanics of the vehicle and counteract any beneficial effect