How to improve a motorhome's fuel efficiency

We’re here to help you get the most out of your motorhome and hopefully save you some money in the process. 

In this article, we're discussing some of the best ways to improve fuel efficiency, so you can travel further, more affordably, than ever before. Let's get started!

Get the Right Motorhome for Your Needs

Several factors can affect your motorhome’s fuel consumption. They include:

  • Shape (class)
  • Engine power/performance
  • Weight
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Motorhome Class

The most popular motorhome shapes are divided into three classes:

  1. A-Class
  2. Coachbuilt and Van Conversions
  3. Campervans

A-Class motorhomes have a large coach-like shape and offer plenty of space, but they can be slightly more expensive to run. Some manufacturers are making them more aerodynamic, but they're still not the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.

Campervans are generally smaller and don't offer as much room, but they have the best fuel economy compared to the other options.

Coachbuilt and Van Conversion motorhomes are typically medium-sized designs, some with an over-cab section.

Which of the three classes you choose will depend on what your priorities are and how far you intend to travel?

Motorhome Engine Power

Most modern motorhomes are powered by a turbo diesel engine. This is because high-torque diesel engines are perfectly suited to the van chassis-cab that motorhomes are based on.

The majority of motorhomes manufactured in recent years come with a 6-speed manual transmission. There is now an option to have a 9-speed fully automatic transmission that can offer a smoother and more efficient ride compared to the standard 6-speed manual transmissions. This can have an impact on your driving technique, so it's something to bear in mind! 

Motorhome Weight

The weight equation is straightforward: less weight equals greater fuel efficiency. That said, when you’re choosing a motorhome, it can be difficult to know which size and shape will best fit your on-road needs. To get a better idea, consider trying before buying.

Conserve Fuel and Save Money

Fuel is expensive but there are lots of ways to improve your motorhome’s fuel consumption and get more mileage for your money. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Keep your vehicle in good condition
  • Don’t drive in strong winds
  • Avoid carrying heavy loads
  • Plan your route carefully
  • Stick to a steady speed while driving
  • Side-step town traffic and peak times
  • Don't leave your engine running when at a stand still
  • Only use the A/C when you need it

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition

If your motorhome is kept in good condition, it will improve fuel consumption and be cheaper to run. This means that it pays to stay on top of general maintenance and do all the regular checks on things like oil and filters.

You should also inspect the tyres frequently. They need to be balanced properly as misaligned tyres can increase fuel consumption. Performing a tyre pressure check once a month can make a significant impact on fuel consumption too. 

The higher the pressure, provided it’s still within the tolerances recommended by the tyre manufacturer, the lower the rolling resistance will be.

Avoid Driving in Strong Winds 

Strong winds and gales can make a big difference to your motorhome or campervan fuel consumption. This means you should avoid driving in a headwind where possible. Of course, the opposite is true as well and a good tailwind can really reduce fuel consumption!

Don’t Carry Heavy Loads

If your motorhome is carrying a lot of weight, it will need more fuel to keep it moving. Motorhomes are made to carry heavy loads but too much weight can mean increased fuel consumption. Try to cut back on any non-essentials and only take what you need with you.

Plan Your Route Carefully

Half the fun of having a motorhome is getting into it without knowing exactly where you’re going to end up. But, when you’re looking at your fuel spend, it pays to have some idea of where you’re going. 

Otherwise, all that driving around could cost you dear in fuel. Make sure you have a general plan before you set off so that you’re not going around in circles or doubling back on where you’ve already been. Déjà vu anyone?

Maintain a Steady Speed While Driving

Once you’re out on the open road, try to keep to a steady speed as this helps to conserve fuel. The steadier your pace, the better. 

Accelerating uses a lot of fuel so don’t overtake unless you have to and stay in the correct lane at a consistent speed.

Putting your motorhome into cruise control can help because it stops you from constantly adjusting the vehicle's speed. 

That said, if you want to prevent the system from applying an excessive amount of throttle when it’s in top gear, you might need to override it and shift down when you’re driving up hills. 

If the transmission is automatic, you won't have to worry about this.

Avoid Town Traffic and Driving at Peak Times 

It’s not always possible but, if you can, plan your route and schedule so that you avoid busy areas at peak times. 

This is so you don’t have to get stuck in a traffic jam or keep stopping and starting, which will use up extra fuel.

With the joys of modern technology, there are lots of different apps you can use to give you live traffic updates. They will also tell you what the busiest and quietest times usually are in any area.

Try Not to Leave Your Engine Running Unnecessarily

Leaving your engine running can use a surprising amount of fuel so, when you can, switch it off. It might not seem like it will make a huge difference but cumulatively it will save you some cash. It is also good for your green credentials as it helps the environment!

Only Use the A/C When You Need It 

Air conditioning is a great addition to any motorhome, but it can be costly to run. Unless the weather is really hot, you could just do the old-fashioned thing and open the windows. Getting some fresh air into your lungs has added health benefits too.

Happy Travelling

As you can see, there are lots of simple things you can do to make your motorhome more fuel efficient. A few minor adjustments to your driving technique, avoiding heavy traffic, and some routine checks on your tyre pressure could save you plenty.

We hope these top tips from our team at Salop Leisure will help keep your fuel costs down and put more money in your pocket. Happy travelling