My son says that I am murdering my car’s engine (2.2 non-DPF) 148bhp Toyota Avensis D-4D 2010 6-speed) by driving using far too few revs. I change up as soon as possible and try to maintain as high a gear as possible ñ 30mph in 4th, 40mph in 5th etc. ñ typically tootling along at 1,200rpm. The fact that it has no DPF (one of the last ones, Doc) is ideal for my driving style, as I know it would normally be causing regenerations every ten minutes!
When I bought the car, it had already done over 175,000 miles, and I have only added another 10,000 since. There are 19 stamps in the service book (17 Toyota main dealer, plus 2 by Toyota specialists) and it sails through its MOTs without any advisories. It’s just had an MOT and the tester had difficulty in getting any reading above zero on the emissions test. It read up to .06 when revved hard and then dropped down to zero on tickover.
Anyway, my son, who has driven taxis for a living and now uses a van in his work, insists that I should maintain higher revs, if only to stay nearer a high torque engine speed range. His “when you accelerate hard from low revsÖî gets interrupted by me with “well, I don’t accelerate hard ñ not from any engine speeds!î I also have had a telematics box fitted, for insurance purposes ñ it got me £135 under the next cheapest quote! ñ which also encourages really leisurely driving, but I generally drive up to the speed limit, and never hold people up. I am getting 49 to 50mpg every fill-up. I once had a test drive in a Lexus CT 200h over a specific course, so that the salesman could repeat it after me to show what was really possible to get out of a hybrid. When I returned 72mpg, he said it didn’t matter about going out and doing it again!
So anyway, which of us is right? Am I killing my engine, like my son says, and it just hasn’t shown up yet? Would I get even better consumption by staying higher up the rev range? Thank you for any help or advice you can give me.
Yours, John Groom
I have had some interesting reflections after reading your letter. I wouldn’t say that your son is correct in saying you are “murdering your engine”, although I could be wrong ñ I think it was 2004 when I was last incorrect! But presumably he drove diesel taxis and diesel vans ñ but then they all drive them flat out most of the time anyway!
However, according to my data, retrieved from Diesel Car Issue 279, the 2.2 D-4D 150 engine in your car (peak power delivered at 3,600rpm) offers 251lb ft of torque from 1,800 to 2,400rpm. Now, maybe you should be giving your engine a bit more of a spin, dare I say it, John. To that, having taken a deep breath, I would also have to add that it really is better to accelerate up to your cruising speed fairly rapidly, as it’s actually more economical than it is when accelerating slowly. By all that, I mean dropping into the next gear at a road speed that puts you into that next gear at peak torque, or a bit below ñ so you could try changing up so that you hit, say, 1,600rpm on the new gear.
I really can only challenge you to “suck it and see” as my Dad would say, over perhaps two-to-three tankfuls, and see if you maybe get even better economy figures than you’re getting now. You certainly won’t do your engine any harm by taking it up to, say, 2,200 to 2,500rpm before you grab the next gear. I would be very interested to hear how you get on, if you can force yourself to shrug off those apparent habits of a lifetime. But hearty congratulations for running your British-made Avensis up to such a handsome mileage, although the credit should mostly go to the previous owner. It is all added proof that the Toyota policy of advising servicing and oil changes somewhat more frequently than many other manufacturers do (Toyota recommend a service every 10,000 miles, or annually). Please let me know how you get on, if you decide to give my suggestions a try!
Best regards, and thanks again for writing