Motorists can enjoy the same prices for their fuel for the remaining 5 days of this month as the KPDNKK (Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism) is not making any changes for yet another week, which leads into May. Although oil prices have certainly fluctuated during the month, the ministry is willing to ignore them and start fixing prices at a certain level. Well, if they can keep it like that through May as well, it would be great!

With no increase in prices, there’s obviously no reason to rush to the station this evening to full up. However, it’s still a good idea to top-up the tank if it is at around a quarter full, which is the subject of this week’s tip though it’s not so much about saving fuel but just a good practice for maintenance.

There are people who will wait till the warning light and alert come on before they head to the station. Some might even be so familiar with the distance they can travel on the remaining fuel that they will wait till the last possible moment. They may have their own reasons for doing so – perhaps because they don’t have enough money – but experts in the automotive business will tell you that’s not a good idea.

Frequently running on low fuel levels in the tank will cause the fuel pump to run hotter, overwork and therefore wear out faster than the service life it was designed for. This means that you will have to spend money to replace it earlier and in an extreme case, it could fail suddenly too.

When the fuel level is too low, the fuel pump has to work harder to send fuel from the tank to the engine. The reduced level also means that lubrication is poorer, which is always a bad thing for mechanical parts.

While on the subject of fuel pumps, it’s also worthwhile to mention that the fuel filter is something that requires changing after a while. Although fuel sold in Malaysia is generally of a high quality, there will still be tiny impurities which the filter catches. Over time, there impurities will accumulate and if they get thick, then fuel flow will be affected and in a worst case, could cause stalling.

Fuel filters don’t need to be changed like oil filters which are every 10,000 kms or more (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation). They may need to be changed after 50,000 kms or 100,000 kms, again depending on what the manufacturer recommends. They are not very expensive to replace so make it a point to ask your service advisor about this the next time you send your vehicle in.

[Chips Yap]

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