Modern vehicles are equipped with many drive modes designed to give you a customized experience based on your needs.
While some cars offer a sports mode for a more engaging ride or an off-road mode for rough terrain, the Eco Mode seems to gain the most attention.
What is Eco Mode, and is it really worthwhile? This economical mode is meant to save fuel and protect the environment, but when should it be used? Today I will examine the benefits of Eco mode, and examine the proper use.
What Is Eco Mode?
Eco mode is an economical mode for modern vehicles. If you activate Eco mode, your car will sacrifice some power and responsiveness for better fuel economy. Therefore, it is a good function for those who want to save fuel.
When Eco Mode is activated, the features of the vehicle are altered to provide more efficiency. However, it is also known for reducing performance in order to achieve this efficiency.
What Does Eco Mode Do?
Eco Mode restricts performance from the transmission and engine to achieve better fuel efficiency. Even if you push hard on the accelerator while Eco Mode is activated, you aren’t going to receive mind-blowing power. Instead, it’s going to only operate within the constraints programmed by the automaker.
Eco Mode can also alter the fuel and air intake to create a better mixture for efficiency. These adjustments further add to the lack of responsiveness and power.
To activate Eco Mode, the driver can push the button or turn the dial. This action can be taken while the car is moving, and doesn’t require any special tools to complete.
Eco Mode Pros
1. Fuel Economy Improvement
When the manufacturer installs Eco Mode, the adjustments are automatically set to save as much fuel as possible. In all cases, this involves throttling back the output of the engine and transmission.
However, some models also adjust the air and fuel mixture to further promote efficiency. It’s estimated that using Eco Mode could cut back on fuel consumption by 3-10% when used in the right circumstances.
2. Easy to Use
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to use Eco Mode. In fact, manufacturers couldn’t make the system any easier to use.
In some vehicles, there’s a special button to activate Eco Mode. Other models use a dial selector for altering the drive modes, with the Eco option as one of them. Thankfully, Eco Mode is just as easy to turn off when you are ready for some on-road fun again.
Eco Mode Cons
1. Loss of Power
To achieve better fuel economy, the automaker puts limits on the engine power while running in Eco Mode. If you are on the highway, you likely won’t appreciate the benefits this fuel-saving system provides.
Additionally, if you like to step on the accelerator and get moving quickly, it’s not going to happen with this system activated. Instead, pulling out from a stop is going to feel a little more gradual.
2. Torque Reduction
There are some times when extra torque is needed. For example, if you are towing or you are facing a steep incline, torque is necessary for a smooth ride.
When Eco Mode is activated, torque is reduced for better fuel economy. That’s why Eco Mode isn’t favorable among people needing high-torque performance.
When To Use Eco Mode?
Eco Mode is beneficial whenever you want to spend less on fuel. However, it’s not ideal when performance is a must. If you are traveling on a busy road where you need quick acceleration or you are moving at highway speeds, it’s often best to turn Eco Mode off.
While you might need more fuel, it’s safer to drive without it in these circumstances.
Urban travel is ideal for Eco Mode, because you typically aren’t trying to accelerate fast, and you are driving slower. Considering these situations often use the most fuel, it seems the perfect chance to try out this driving mode.
While it is okay to drive with Eco Mode activated at all times, you will likely find that it’s not ideal. There will be times when you demand more from your vehicle than what it can give you while the power is being harnessed.
Is Eco Mode Bad for the Engine?
It would seem that anything altering the performance of the engine could cause damage. You might even be scared to push down on the accelerator with the Eco Mode button activated. However, I haven’t seen any evidence that suggests Eco Mode is damaging.
Your driving behavior is what is most important. You can easily damage your engine by pushing it too hard or not maintaining it, regardless of whether you rely on Eco Mode or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Eco mode really save gas?
If used correctly, ECO mode can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%. When in this mode, the ECU will reduce the amount of injected fuel and adequately adjust other running parameters, like ignition and boost. But, while improving gas mileage, ECO mode will also reduce the engine’s power output and torque delivery. Although this will not damage it in any way, your car will be less responsive, and it will take more time to accelerate.
When should I use eco mode?
The ECO mode is ideal in driving conditions when there is no need for sharp accelerations or high speeds. One such example is city centers, where the traffic is slow with a lot of stop-and-go driving. In such an environment, a lot of power is not needed, which makes reducing the engine’s output a sensible option. On the other hand, ECO mode will not be ideal for highway use or when towing a trailer.
Are there any disadvantages to eco mode?
Yes. The ECO mode has one notable disadvantage, and that’s the power. Or, to be more precise, the lack of it. When in this mode, the ECU will adjust the injection and ignition timing so that the engine uses less fuel. But, as a side effect, the car will feel less responsive, and its acceleration will not be as sharp as in normal mode.
Does Eco mode drain your battery?
No. ECO mode shouldn’t drain the battery in your car, as it will still be recharged by the alternator. Still, most cars will engage the start-stop feature while in this mode. With it on, the engine will shut down every time you come to a halt, like when stopping at the traffic light. And once you’ve pressed the throttle, the engine will turn on. This means the starter motor is in action frequently, which puts additional stress on the battery and may flatten it out in stop-and-go traffic.
Does Eco mode affect AC?
While the air-con will still work when the ECO mode is on, its cooling capacity will likely be lower. This is because its operation is set for better efficiency rather than maximum output. Still, the air-con should be capable of reasonably cooling down the car and keeping it moisture-free.
Wrap Up: Eco Mode
In many modern cars, the driver can choose between several modes which change how the vehicle behaves. For instance, the Sport mode will sharpen up throttle response and gear changes. With a Comfort mode engaged, the steering and suspension will become softer. But with the high fuel prices we see these days, a so-called Eco mode is probably the most popular.
When on, this mode will improve gas mileage by setting up the engine for fuel-efficient operation. This may help reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%, but it also reduces the engine’s power output.