Third Eye

Fuel system costly mistakes

Saturday, February 5th, 2022 10:30 | By
A fuel station attendant refills a car. The high fuel prices have been blamed for the rising cost of living. Photo/PD/FILE

By Mayfellow Waithaka

The fuel system is probably the most important but overlooked element of a car. It can affect performance and fuel economy, which in turn affect the cost of running the vehicle. At times, it can go full haywire and torch the car, and you’ll be left feeling like what you’ll be looking at, a shell.

It is, then, of utmost importance to take a few steps in the direction of ensuring the fuel system is operating within certain tolerances. Here are a few at which you can swing.

1. Replace the fuel filter at recommended intervals. Since it’s Kenya, however, you may want to shave a bit of that duration, half it in some cases. The rumour that fuel here is adulterated is likely true – because as Kenyans, we have nurtured a dishonest culture. What this means is that what your manual recommends as the interval is only applicable in Canada, where people are umm…nicer.

2. Don’t let the fuel drop below the quarter tank. Don’t be poor, is what that sounds like. Running a car low on fuel means your pump is going to wear out prematurely, as it gets hotter. With diesel cars, common knowledge is that running out of fuel leads to air being trapped in the system, and reversing this process is described as tedious.

3. Have your tank cleaned every few years. A friend of mine – yes, I have a few, recently got an old Galant VR-4. Every time he went for a drive, the car just didn’t feel as powerful as it should. It turned out to be fine sediments in the tank, that would then clog the fuel injectors. The problem comes in many forms. Water is one of them, and rust can be a result in cases of metal tanks.

4. Fuel at reputable stations. This is a tough ask, but if you’re well wired to the grapevine, you’ll hear something. At this point in this country, however, that’s still difficult to do. Every ‘reputable’ station already has red flags placed by disgruntled clients.
All the best. Really.

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