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Saving fuel: 5th or neutral?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of S.J.M S.J.M 1 year, 9 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #131620
    Avatar of sato113
    sato113
    Participant

    I drive a 5-speed 1.25L ford fiesta. I was wondering, if I am coasting down a hill on a countryside lane, is it better to be in 5th or neutral in terms of fuel saving?
    and why?

    #204852
    Avatar of Mads
    Mads
    Participant

    In a modern car you should just leave it in 5th with the clutch unpressed and without applying any throttle. The engine will simply be driven by the momentum of the car, without burning any fuel.
    It will slow you down, but down hill it can stop you from using your brakes and save fuel while doing it.
    The same can be done while coasting to a stop at a red light or the like.

    #204853
    Avatar of S.J.M
    S.J.M
    Participant

    I got a 1.9 TDI and I always leave it in 6th, not neutral. If the hill is steep enough, ill gain speed/or not loose much speed at all and the computer is telling me im not consuming any fuel at all.

    With fuel economy its best to play around and see what gives you the best MPG. For instance, if im cruising on a 30mph road, 5th is better MPG then in 6th. And just remember, the heavier the car, the more fuel is used so make sure the boot isnt crammed with needless bits.

    The rule (apparently) is to change up a gear when the car goes from a “Pulling” feel to a “Pushing” feel when you are on the throttle.

    #204854
    Avatar of MuzzleFlash
    MuzzleFlash
    Participant

    Always in gear, whichever one is appropriate for the speed. With the throttle closed the engine is kept turning my the vehicle’s momentum but in neutral it burns a little bit of fuel to keep cycling. Engine braking is also kinder to your wheel brakes.

    Another reason I had to do it was my old Vectra was prone to stalling when left in neutral, which lost me power steering and braking. I learned to heel-toe in that car out of necessity, since it would often stall when changing down.

    #204855
    Avatar of robk23
    robk23
    Participant

    I always stay in 5th which uses no fuel, it’s especially useful when coasting to a standstill to extend the range.

    #204856
    Avatar of F1Yankee
    F1Yankee
    Participant

    With fuel economy its best to play around and see what gives you the best MPG. For instance, if im cruising on a 30mph road, 5th is better MPG then in 6th. And just remember, the heavier the car, the more fuel is used so make sure the boot isnt crammed with needless bits.

    at 30 mph, you shouldn’t be anywhere near 6th (or top gear) , which is a super-tall overdrive ratio for highway cruising while the engine just putts along. to get better mileage, keep the engine revs at the beginning of the power band, or in newer cars upshift before the engine switches to high-power mode (vtec, etc.)

    the effectiveness of engine braking diminishes with lower revs, so keep the revs higher (lower gear) than if you were accelerating. *not responsible for burnt clutches or other breakage*

    in many u.s. states, canadian provinces and so forth it is against the law to keep a car in neutral while operating.

    #204857
    Avatar of S.J.M
    S.J.M
    Participant

    @F1Yankee is that to do with a large % of cars being Automatics? I plead ignorance as Ive only ever driven Manual as over here in Europe its Manual as standard. The only time we ever should use neutral is when at a standstill (Parked, at the lights etc) and even then I just press the clutch in and leave in gear.

    Oh and the other thing ive read, modern cars dont need to be heated up in winter for a few minutes before driving off. Diesels especially do not actually get heat into the engine until their actually moving, so your just burning those pennies away.

    #204858
    Avatar of F1Yankee
    F1Yankee
    Participant

    i don’t know the logic behind that rule, i’m guessing it’s safety related and dating back to when manuals where a real pain to operate. technically, holding the clutch in for prolonged periods wears/damages the throw-out bearing on the clutch. i use neutral at lights because i find it lazier than holding the pedal down :P

    true, new cars don’t need to warm up nearly as long as older ones. i still wait a minimum of 1 minute, just to make sure the oil is circulating and coating everything that should be coated. another reason new cars are better than old (out of millions) is there’s plenty of heat available almost instantly. ages ago i had a jetta that took so long to warm up i was almost done driving by the time the heat would do anything

    #204859
    Avatar of S.J.M
    S.J.M
    Participant

    The only thing i allow to warm up is the Turbo in the engine, easy on the throttle for a few miles to allow the oils to warm up as a broken turbo is the last thing I need. But damn that thing makes driving fun, im sold on the turbo-diesel thing and love my once-a-month fillups, but its shocking to see the MPG plummet when the revs go up and the turbo kicks in! Ive actually found having the fuel MPG digital screen help me in my fuel economy in that I challenge myself to keep to a set MPG for my journey…and try to better it each day (its boarderline OCD now) .

    Looking back, this thread might be better renamed for Fuel economy tips, which is quite relevent to the modern drivers wallet.

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