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Brakes, tire-pressure, or weight – which ones improve fuel economy?

Heavy trucks are a reliable method to transport cargo safely through roadways. Many owners are interested in ways to better the fuel economy of their vehicles. Less fuel consumption directly translates to greater savings. At RJames Management Group Ltd. you can choose from a variety of heavy trucks that feature fuel-efficient and cost-effective designs. One of our recent blogs discussed the ways to improve the fuel economy of your heavy truck, and in this blog, we focus on the three fundamental elements of fuel consumption – brakes, tires and weight.

Harsh Braking Increases Fuel Consumption

Best practice suggests you should brake and accelerate smoothly and gradually. Harsh braking occurs when you press brakes suddenly, even when it is not required. Whenever you do this, your truck’s engine consumes more fuel. Use progressive shifting techniques by shifting at the slowest rpm possible. Brake gently, let the engine rest and allow your truck to gradually slow down.

Harsh braking also damages tires and wears out the braking system sooner. It also increases your chances of colliding with another vehicle. Increase your vehicle’s fuel economy by not driving aggressively – speeding, rapid acceleration and braking.

Schedule Preventive Maintenance

Plan regular inspections and truck repair services for better fuel economy. You can schedule it every month or based on your metre reading. You can get the following services:

  • Change of engine oil and filter – Dust, dirt and debris from the environment can clog the engine over time.
  • Check other fluid levels – You can keep a tap of the engine coolant, power steering fluid, and washer fluid. Checking them routinely is an important part of maintenance.

Rolling Resistance from the Tires

Rolling resistance is the energy your vehicle requires to set the tires in a forward movement and maintain it. Rolling resistance utilizes 13 per cent of truck energy use. Any energy lost during the rolling of the tire results in fuel wastage.

Tires that are not properly inflated produce heat and increase the rolling resistance. When the tire pressure is inflated 10 psi below the recommended levels, the fuel economy reduces from 0.5 to 1 per cent. Moreover, the vehicle experiences more wear and tear which increases the chance of tire failures. It is recommended to check the tire pressure every week. Don’t ignore the tires of the trailers. Since the load is carried by trailer; an underinflated trailer tire has twice the impact on the fuel compared to a drive tire.

The wind drag and road conditions also contribute to rolling resistance. Low-speed winds offer minimum interference. Irrespective of the road surface conditions, tire type and tread pattern, friction between the tire and the ground contributes to only 10 per cent of the total rolling resistance.

To save you time, you can get an Automatic Tire Inflation (ATI) system installed to monitor the air-pressure in the tires while your truck is moving.

Heavier Trucks Require More Fuel

When trucks are carrying heavy loads, more fuel is needed while accelerating and climbing hills because the heavier the vehicle, the inertia and rolling resistance are greater. Choosing light weight tractor and trailer components can significantly decrease your fuel consumption.

Lightweight components like the following, you can reduce the weight of your truck:

  • Wheels made of cast aluminum alloy
  • Aluminum axle hubs, clutch housing and cab frames instead of ductile iron or steel
  • Composite front axle springs
  • Better quality brake drums

Aluminum components of the trailers like floor joists, upright posts, hubs and wheels will also contribute towards decreasing the total weight of your truck. Lighter weight components may cost you a little extra, but help you save fuel costs in the long run.

These practices help extend the life of truck-parts and decrease expensive repair costs. Contact us to speak to our service team, or to browse our heavy truck and trailer inventory.