Drivers warned of autumn road dirt as it hugely affects fuel economy

Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel

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Motorists across the UK are being urged by an expert to clean their cars this autumn and winter. Following the simple tip and getting rid of mud and any other kind of dirt may hugely aid a vehicle’s fuel economy as petrol and diesel prices remain high. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, said: “A cleaner car is in fact more fuel efficient. Experiments found the vehicle was more fuel-efficient when clean, averaging two miles per gallon (mpg) more than when it was dirty.

“The average fuel mileage of the dirty car fell to around 24 mpg, while the clean car was 26 mpg.

“If you extrapolate that over an entire year, and with a driver covering around 8,000 miles, there’s a potential saving of around £200 annually just by keeping your car clean.

“The main determining factor here is when the car doesn’t have dirt around it, it is much more aerodynamic.

“The surface area of a vehicle can impact mileage and fuel efficiency because when it has no debris, it can travel through the air much easier and freely.”

Mr Conway added that manufacturers will cleverly design the body shape of a vehicle so that it is as aerodynamic as possible.

An aerodynamic-efficient vehicle shape tends to be one as smooth and as streamlined as possible, minimising drag.

The expert continued: “Dirt also adds weight, which also has an impact on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

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“So as motorists continue to battle with the cost of living crisis, keeping their vehicle clean will most likely help to save on fuel costs, since dirty surfaces limit airflow and increase friction for a lower mpg rating.

“As the dark winter nights draw in, it is also recommended to keep your windscreen clean and smear-free to avoid potentially blinding glare from the headlights of other motorists.

“If your windscreen isn’t clear and you are involved in an accident, you can be charged with careless driving.

“That is even if any accident you encounter isn’t your fault.”

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Drivers should also follow several other cleaning tips this autumn and winter to ensure safety. These include: 

Clearing windows of dirty air-con film build up

Whether they are steaming up or are dirty, there’s plenty of barriers between drivers and having clear visibility in winter nights.

Experts stressed that it’s important to regularly clean the windows, as car heaters can blow dirty air at the glass and cause a hazy and distracting film.

Keeping windows clean and streak-free will also prevent condensation from clinging to dirt, grime and dust.

Having regular eyesight checks

The human eye naturally adjusts to the darkness, but it can take up to 30 minutes for eyes to adapt fully.

Driving at night puts strain on eyes to see more in the dark and handle bright lights from oncoming traffic.

What’s more is when the roads are wet and icy the reflections can cause drivers to miss important signs or traffic lights.

Drivers should get regular eyesight checks and wear any necessary eyewear to improve their visibility.

An optician may even recommend an anti-reflection coating to reduce headlight glare when driving.

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