Cars have gotten really technologically advanced in the past decade. These days, you're basically driving a computer on wheels! When you’re looking to purchase or you’ve just purchased a new vehicle, there may be a few features that you are unsure of how to use or what they actually do. One of the most common that we get asked about is the ECO button or sometimes labeled ECON. The ECO button does make your vehicle more economically efficient, but to what degree varies on your make/model. It is important to research your exact vehicle and check the manufacturer’s website to not only learn how to make your vehicle run efficiently, but to make use of all the features you have at your disposal.
Though every vehicle is different, here are some things the ECO button can do:
Alter acceleration behavior. Vehicles are not connected the way they used to be before computers. Now, a set of throttle inputs are interpreted by your vehicle’s computer, which then relays information and controls engine activity. The ECO button takes these relays and dials them back slightly. Slower acceleration in turn leads to better fuel economy. Most ECO systems however only dial the relays back when acceleration is already at a low speed so that your control is not compromised for merging and passing. ECO systems also alter transmissions by reducing available torque and throttle response which leads to overall slower acceleration, but improved fuel economy.
Increase engine start/stop activities. We all know idling is bad for your vehicle and the environment. ECO systems have taken on this challenge by affording you the option to automatically turn off your vehicle when it has been idling over a certain period. Shutting off the engine while the car is stopped is an easy way to save fuel and reduce emissions. However, this can be annoying if you are in stop and go traffic, so the feature can be disabled.
These are a few of the main features common with ECO systems. When looking for fuel efficiency, an ECO system may be the way to go. Be diligent with your research and check the manufacturer’s website for your make and model. ECO systems are different for automatics and hybrids and some have features that may be less desirable than others!