Automotive FAQ, Let engine run in the morning and other questions

Q: How much petrol consumption when a car is idle?

A: There is a lot of talks that a car consumes more petrol when it is idle. But you need to know certain facts before shutting off the engine each time you are at the traffic lights. The most significant factor is the engine type. At average, it burns about 0.5 to 0.7 liter of fuel per hour if your vehicle is not moving. In a standard car with a 2.0cc engine, it would be about 0.6 to 1.2 liters per hour while those with a larger capacity will surely be higher.

Q: Should you start your car engine for 5 minutes every morning before driving?

A: There is no harm in doing so but you might not need to do this for 5 minutes. Carburetor engines will require this to have your engine run-in before you seek out to drive. This is more prevalent if you are in cold countries to warm up the car’s interior. A short 1-2 minutes warm-up will be sufficient.

Q: Is it bad for the car if we turn off/on engine more?

A: The answer is NO! It is true that you DO NOT burn more fuel if you shut off your engine and restart it. In fact, it burns more fuel if you leave your engine idle. A short 10-seconds duration will use more petrol than to restart your engine. This is the reason why newer cars today have the ECO function where it shuts off the engine automatically. Take note though that you must ensure your engine starter is in good condition if you are to do this manually.

Q: Is it better to use brake rather than low gear during downhill?

A: This is a common issue when you are going downhill that using the brakes (all the way) might be dangerous. The truth is, IT IS! You should not be using the brakes too much when going downhill. It wears off your brake pads very quickly as there is way too much pressure on them. At some point (if it’s for long duration), the brake pads will overheat and it will no longer be effective. That is when you might notice smoke from the tires and stepping on the brake pedals will yield no result. Use low gears instead. This is easier if you are on a manual transmission while automatic cars will require you to be more tactful.

Q: Is it better to change the engine lubricant every 5000 or 10k?

A: Newer cars today use semi or synthetic lubricants. The service center will recommend you to change them every 5,000 km. However, you can actually go up to 10,000 km before changing the lubricant. For this issue, it would be best if you can change your engine’s lubricant every 5,000kms. When you drive the car, you can feel its efficiency and if it still feels good after 5,000, try to go until 8,000. Pushing it to 10,000 might be too long.

Q: Should you use synthetic or semi-synthetic lubricants?

If you can choose, going for synthetic lubricants will be your best option because they are made to keep your engine clean and efficient at all times. You must check with your mechanic before deciding though because some older cars will not be able to use fully-synthetic lubricants. Semi-synthetic lubricants should be fine for most cars.

Q: Are BMW and Audi really high maintenance brands?

A: This depends largely on the age of the car. BMW and Audi cars are luxury models which mean that maintenance will surely be higher than other brands. However, newer models come with free maintenance packages which means that you do not need to pay that much each time you send your vehicle for servicing. Another factor that must be considered would be the country where you are driving. In Malaysia for instance, such cars are higher maintenance as they are not the most popular models (thereby higher cost for spare parts).

Q: Is it true that Kia and Hyundai cars don’t last that long?

A: To some extent, the answer is true. Kia and Hyundai cars, both from South Korea are known to be made without that extra coating on the body. This means that they wear and tear faster. Having said that, it must be known that Kia has been making cars that date back to the 1940s while Hyundai, some 50 years later. Today, Hyundai owns part of Kia (due to the bankruptcy in 2004), which means there is some similarity in their manufacturing processes.

All about Malaysia Petrol and Diesel

Q: What is the petrol quality in Malaysia?

A: It has been reported that Malaysia has one of the cheapest petrol prices in the Asian region. While this is true, doubters are fast to note that it might mean petrol quality is poor. This, however, is untrue. All the petrol grades in Malaysia (RON95, RON97 and so on) has complied with the international standards which mean that they are of the best possible standard in their own respective categories. Hence, there is no reason to worry whatsoever with the quality of petrol in Malaysia since they are of the best possible standards.

Q: What is the quality of diesel and petrol in Malaysia?

A: In Malaysia, there are 2 types of petrol sold at the stations namely RON95 and RON97 (RON = Research Octane Number). This refers to the level of octane which will not affect the engine system of the car. Deciding which car could run on which grade can be obtained from the car manual that comes with the vehicle. Avoid mixing the 2 grades though.

As for diesel, Malaysia has now adopted the Euro 5 Diesel grade. This actually refers to the exhaust emission standards adopted in Europe since September 2009. What it entails is that your diesel vehicle will emit less Sulphur when you are moving which is the most common factor and concern for owners of diesel vehicles.