The need for more improved, efficient, and eco-friendly cars means new features in every new car. It’s no surprise that you will look on your dashboard and see a button that you don’t know and don’t understand what it does.
Car manufacturers are equipping new cars with new technological innovations at a speed hard to keep up with. One of such innovations that you will find in newer cars is the Eco mode.
With this feature still new in the market, not everybody understands how it works and when to use it. In this article, we have broken down everything regarding the eco mode in cars. Keep reading to discover!
What is Eco mode?
Eco mode is a term used to mean “economical mode”. Economical means it reduces the rate of gas consumption, saving money in the process. The eco mode button is located on the dashboard, the left of the steering wheel. When pressed, it inhibits the engine’s performance by reducing throttle response.
This, in turn, reduces the load on the engine; thus, less fuel is consumed. A more advanced eco mode in newer cars will shift transmission patterns and alter ignition timing and the air-fuel quantity ratio. Some will even work with electrical systems and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine.
Some drivers may argue that eco mode has no difference other than adapting your driving habits manually. This is right to some extent. However, the eco mode will reduce your fuel consumption no matter your driving style. When this mode is activated in most vehicles, the car becomes less responsive to things like acceleration. It will seem slower as a result.
How does Eco Mode work?
Now that you understand what Eco mode is and an overview of how it works, let’s dig deeper and see its technical side.
Whenever the accelerator pedal is pressed, it opens the throttle valve, thus allowing air to travel into the engine. The more air entering the engine, the higher the combustion reaction. Eco mode slows down the opening of the throttle valve. This means less air entering the engine, and less fuel is used to accelerate the car.
Air fuel ratio
During hard acceleration, there is more fuel per unit of air than what is ideal. This makes the mixture richer, providing the engine with more power. However, a hard acceleration wastes a lot of fuel and is also very hazardous to the environment. The eco mode will ensure that the air: fuel ratio is at its lowest depending on your driving condition.
Transmission Shift Pattern
Whenever the vehicle is at its highest possible gear, it moves at the most economical fuel rate. When the eco mode is activated, the vehicle will shift to the highest gear possible at that moment. It will also ensure minimum gear shifting while driving. The vehicle may struggle a bit, but it will be saving a lot of gas.
Switching off the Engine during Idling for manual vehicles
When your vehicle starts idling while in eco mode, the engine is switched off. It’s then automatically restarted when the clutch is pressed.
Electrical systems and other car functions
Depending on your car model eco mode will change many other cars functioning. An unnecessary electrical system will be powered off. Such systems include the AC, interior lights, radio, heated windshield, and Headlight brightness. Other car models, for instance, the Honda accord uses Cylinder deactivation during the eco mode. Powering off all these systems means less power is needed. The power generated is effectively used on rotating the wheels.
When Should You Drive in Eco Mode?
Since the eco mode is wonderful in saving gas and conserving the environment, you may be asking yourself, “When should I activate the eco mode?” “Or when Should I turn it off?” Here are some instances when you should turn the eco mode on and off for effective and enjoyable driving.
While on Uphill Terrain
When a vehicle moves up a steep hill, it needs to shift gears to drive effectively. However, in the eco mode, gear shifting transmission is restricted. Thus, driving in eco mode will end up consuming more power and gas than in normal mode.
Always ensure your vehicle’s eco mode is not activated when driving uphill, muddy terrain roads, and other cases where your car requires more energy to move. On flat roads and down hills, you are at liberty to use the eco mode.
In Hot Sunny Days
Nothing seems so pleasant than chilling in cold air during a hot summer day. Automatically you will never want your AC to be switched off. Eco mode, on the other hand, will save you gas but will put off your AC. AC will never work as you want it when the eco mode is on. Unless you want to tire, sweat, and feel uncomfortable in your car, you should never activate the eco mode during hot sunny days.
Driving in the City vs in the Highway
While driving on the highway, you want your car to remain responsive and move as fast as possible. This is not possible in the eco mode. If your car doesn’t respond as you like on highways, you risk being hit by other vehicles or running into others. Conversely, in cities, there is traffic and a lot of stops. So, in this case, you don’t want to drive fast. Activating Eco mode will be a wise decision to save your fuel as you navigate through the city.
Is Eco Mode Effective?
Yes. Eco mode is very effective. Many people will assume that driving slowly and adopting power-saving practices are equal to eco mode. Eco mode is highly effective and will save more energy.
The exact gas and money you will save are not constant. It varies from one model to another. Some cars will save more than others while in eco mode. But the truth is when it comes to saving energy and conserving the environment, eco mode is very effective.
Is It Okay to Drive in Eco Mode all the Time?
Yes. It is okay to drive in eco mode all the time. Despite reduced responsiveness and performance, eco mode is okay and causes no damage to your car engine. Moreover, there will be no increased maintenance or any other additional problems.
When your car requires more power to move; for instance, when carrying loads and moving up steep hills, the eco mode is not the best. Otherwise, if you are in conditions where you don’t need to move fast and don’t need excellent responsiveness, then eco mode all the time is okay.
Do All Cars Have Eco Mode?
Eco mode is very effective and relevant in the modern world. For this reason, almost all modern cars come equipped with this beautiful feature.
If you are not sure if yours has it, you can contact your manufacturer for more information. Practices to Avoid During Eco Mode You should avoid idling excessively during the eco mode, driving at high speeds, and driving roughly.
Disadvantages of Eco Mode
Unfortunately, even with its energy and environment saving abilities, the eco mode has few negative sides. To save energy, eco mode forces you to drive slower than you may like Since many functions are disabled, and your vehicle will not feel as responsive as usual You will feel uncomfortable sometimes in your car with the eco mode. For instance, during a hot day and the eco won’t allow the AC to run.
Conclusion on Meaning of Eco Mode
Eco mode is a powerful and beneficial tool to have. It ensures your drive responsibly in efforts to save fuel and conserve the environment. With or without eco mode, saving power and the environment are essential practices.
Driving slowly and switching off what you don’t use are examples of ways you can reduce fuel consumption. However, there are other ways that you will never control.
A good example is the transmission and throttling systems. Eco mode gives you a greater ability to save energy by controlling such systems. We hope that now you understand what Eco mode is and how it works.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.