Modern cars are more like computers on wheels and central to that is the ECU. If the engine is the heart of the car, the Electronic Control Unit or ECU is its brain. Your car may develop a fault that you think is mechanical but actually the real culprit could be the electronics, caused by a malfunctioning ECU or one of its sensors.
The ECU is now such a crucial and integral part of our cars that I think it’s worth understanding exactly what it does.
If there’s one thing that has drivers grumbling more than anything, it’s their car’s fuel economy. How many miles a car travels on a gallon of petrol or diesel – or in some cases, with a little bit of electric power in the mix – directly drains money from the bank. The more thirsty a car is, the more expensive it is to run.
A common complaint is that it is difficult to achieve a car’s advertised fuel economy. But wth a bit of practice and a change in driving habits, it’s surprising how much of an improvement can be made to a car’s mpg (miles per gallon) in a short space of time.
To see if you have a sound grasp of those driving techniques, or to simply learn more about making a car travel further on a tank of fuel, take this quiz and discover whether you’re a fuel economy winner or loser.
Failing to achieve the fuel economy that their car is claimed to return is one of the most common grumbles among drivers.
So what would you say if simple driving tips could improve your car’s economy? And in some cases it might even climb by a staggering 60 per cent compared with the manufacturer’s figures.
Most of us would raise an eyebrow and wonder if it’s really possible. But these aren’t the claims of sharp-suited sales execs; they’re perfectly practical tips from normal drivers that anyone can put into practice.
Testing, testing… Drivers can now find real-life economy stats for more than 1000 versions of DS, Citroen and Peugeot models
A car’s fuel economy, makers’ ‘official’ figures and the inability of drivers in the real world to match them is a regular bugbear for many people. But one car maker is hoping to buck this trend and help car buyers choose a truly economical car. A new website lets drivers input details of their vehicle and driving habits. It then gives an estimate of actual fuel consumption. And the idea could catch on with Volkswagen bosses claiming the company is looking into offering a similar tool for its cars.
PSA Group, the French company behind Peugeot, Citroen, premium brand DS Automobiles, and the new owner of Vauxhall, has launched a web tool. By joining forces with independent consultants Transport & Environment and pressure group France Nature Environnement it has come up with a series of tests to measure fuel consumption more accurately. The measurements on 58 of PSA Group’s models make it possible to estimate the real-world consumption of more than 1000 versions of car.
You might think you know how polluting your car is from official figures. On-road tests will be more accurate
Finding your car’s true pollution would have been nearly impossible as recently as a few months ago. But now you can discover the true emissions – harmful and otherwise – pumped out of its exhaust pipe. It’s courtesy of a company called Emissions Analytics which tests cars’ real-world performance for emissions and economy.
By measuring their miles per gallon and pollution output on the road, rather than in a lab like the official figures do, Emissions Analytics can build up a picture of how cars really perform. Just as you’ve probably found out for yourself that your car’s real-life economy differs from that claimed by its manufacturer, so its carbon dioxide (CO2) output is different too. Now, as well as your car’s true output of nitrogen oxide , you can find its real carbon dioxide output, as well as its genuine miles per gallon in every day motoring.
The Volkswagen emissions scandal has rocked the car industry and prompted drivers everywhere to wonder if they can trust anything car makers tell them. The outrage was discovered in the US and involves a programme hidden in cars’ computers. This can tell when the vehicle is undergoing an emissions test. It then switches the engine to a mode where it emits less Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) to pass strict air quality tests. There are 11 million cars world-wide that could be affected. Here’s what British drivers need to know.