Eco-Mode: What is It?

Posted on: December 5th, 2015 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

economy mode

Does Eco-Mode Improve Fuel Economy?

If you have done any shopping for new cars recently, chances are you were introduced to the new economy mode, or eco-mode,  vehicle enhancement which adjusts your vehicle’s performance to maximize fuel efficiency. It almost seems too good to be true – “a button which I press which automatically makes my car more efficient?!” – but automakers are claiming that it can transform your vehicle into a green machine. Accurate Auto Body, you Denver auto body shop, is here to fill you in on what is really happening when you press the magic ‘eco-mode’ button and if it is really helping you save money on gas.

 What Does Eco-Mode Actually Do Under the Hood?

 When it comes to what is actually happening in the engine, every manufacturer has taken a slightly different approach. However, most follow the trend of making your gas pedal slightly less sensitive and adjusting your transmission to upshift earlier so you stay at lower rpms and thus consume less fuel. This generally reduces torque and power (your ability to accelerate quickly) and makes the driving experience slightly duller. Other modes adjust electrical components, such as AC, to reduce draw on the system and thus reduce fuel use. Finally, some vehicles provide feedback to their drivers, such as the Infiniti M, which pushes back and vibrates the gas pedal slightly to discourage ‘lead feet.’

How Much Effect does it Really Have?

Most manufacturers estimate that using Eco-mode can increase your fuel efficiency by 5-10%, so generally 1-3 mpg. This is approximately what you would gain by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure or making sure your engine is tuned up. Additionally, most of these ‘eco-mode’ features can be attained by simply driving less aggressively – for example, not speeding or trying to stay at low rpms by not accelerating too quickly.

To date, no official EPA testing has been done on the effects eco-mode actually has on the various makes and models of vehicles. Thus, the question of how effective it really is cannot be easily answered. The real question is, if the button exists and fuel economy is the desired effect, why have the button at all? Why not pre-design vehicles to always be in economy mode?

What to focus on is that driving in eco-mode can’t hurt your vehicle. If having your throttle response slightly dulled doesn’t bother you then there’s no harm in squeezing out a couple extra mpgs. Go ahead and turn it on and let us know if you see any positive results.

How to use this information

Eco-mode might help you with fuel economy, but that doesn’t mean that you can skimp on maintenance. Keeping your vehicle properly maintained is the best way to make sure you are maximizing your fuel efficiency. If you want to get your car in tip-top condition, be sure to give Accurate Auto Body a call at 303-344-2122 or contact us through our website for more information and we will be happy help!

 Have you noticed a change in fuel economy while using ‘Eco-Mode?’

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