FUEL ECONOMY AND MAINTENANCE FOR COMPACT CARS

One car I helped a friend to get back in school was one sweet gold coloured Honda Civic. It was a sweet compact car with a 1.6L engine that was great in fuel economy. I taught him how to drive with that same car in three days – I always teach people driving in three days…sometimes four. He only had to drive with me sitting beside him for a very short while longer before I abandoned him as is my custom.

We bought that car from a youth corps member who came to serve at Ogbomoso from somewhere in Ondo state. He had some fun ideas and had some cash to play with. It was a great buy because cash Daddy’s boy did not know the true value of his ex-car. His dad imported the sweet car and they both hadn’t used it for a year as at the time we bought it from him. The car was in excellent form that my client had nothing to fix on the car, not even servicing.

I drove that car some two years after and told him that the car was close to heavy expenses time that he should let it go. He sold that car after over two years of heavy use and a crash for the same price we bought it. That is another gist for some time later.

I took him to the then new Ogbomoso/Ilorin expressway on the third day of our driving lessons. He drove from Ogbomoso to Ilorin and back though I had to help him here and there. On our way back, I pushed the car hard at some points, did an handbrake turn and went into reverse and went on reverse hard for a short while and then did a steering flick to flip the back to face Ogbomoso. He shouted,’osi le se nibeyen o egbon’ meaning you did rubbish right there bro -fear and confusion written all over him. I did quite a few stunts with cars and I always enjoyed it. I always felt cool with good cars and also messed around with some pretty bad cars. I have driven cars no one would drive over long distances; the car without brakes, the car without clutch, the car I connected its throttle with a cord to myself in the car so that I was pulling when I should be pressing the pedals.

I had a BMW 518 which I got from my Dad. It was a rear wheel drive car. That car was my guinea pig on many occasions (I had a Toyota Carina before the BMW which was equally a rear wheel drive car). Its rear wheel drive train made it a great car for my craze except that it didn’t have as much horsepower as the inline 6 cylinder 520. It also didn’t have power steering. I still miss that car till date.

Anytime we had to go to Lagos from Ogbomoso (we were both Lautech students), we bought a little above #4,000 fuel. This is the essence of the gist. Whenever I went fast on that car, we came back with our fuel gauge with the reserve light on. Whenever we went calmly, we had our fuel gauge at almost a quarter of the fuel tank. It was always a trade on trade off thing – either save time and burn more fuel or save fuel and lose time. To get that car to 150kph was hard work. That was because it was a little 1.6L engine running it. There was a 2010 Kia Picanto I drove for a while which was tough to get to 130kph. I remember driving a VW golf from Cotonou, Benin Republic which I pushed really hard for hours. The Golf heated up and couldn’t proceed until it had rested and some work done on it to pacify it for giving it more work than it was designed for.

The bigger your engine, the better the performance of your car and the more expensive maintenance would be. An average 6 cylinder engine will take more than 4 litres of engine oil for servicing. Some smaller cars won’t take up to 4 litres of oil to service them. The bigger your car and engine, the more weight it will have which implies faster tyre wear. Your compact cars and smaller would not do too well on speed especially over long distances or with heavy load. They however would support fuel economy, low cost of maintenance, tyre wear will be low as well. So, if you want more power or performance, look elsewhere.

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