What is eco-mode in a car and how to use it

How dangerous is frequent use of ECO-mode in a car

The problem of high fuel costs in the automotive field has always been a problem. To create a powerful car, you need to be sure that people will buy it. After all, such a car is a vehicle that has an increased “appetite”. As a result, the last few years, all the dreams of launching super-fast cars were just dreams. Of course, some manufacturers decided to produce such models, but they did not reach serial production.

How dangerous is frequent use of ECO-mode in your car?

The problem was partially solved when the ECO-mode of the engine was invented. Manufacturers began to massively implement such a function, since in practice it reduced fuel consumption and emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere. Today, the ECO mode is the most economical. Despite such advantages, even this function is not without its negative sides.

The “ECO” mode is now available in almost all modern cars. But budget and base versions are not so lucky – as a rule, they are not provided with such option. But maybe everything is not so bad? Those drivers, who believe the tales about miracles of ECO mode, think, that they save money on fuel. And it is really so. But if to use such option permanently, it is possible to face the necessity of expensive repair of the power unit. To begin with, let’s consider what the ECO mode is.

When the driver turns on this function, the onboard computer switches on and starts to save fuel to the maximum. For this purpose the revolutions are kept very close to idle. At the same time, the automatic transmission engages a higher gear.

Under such circumstances, the dynamics of the car decreases greatly. It takes a lot of effort and time to perform maneuvers. But the fuel is really saved – a couple of grams per one trip. As for the power unit itself, it has the highest load. We would remind you that even at a driving school, an instructor teaches everyone, that it is impossible to drive at low revolutions constantly, because it is possible to kill the engine. Thus, it turns out, that the ECO-mode is harmful to the engine. Under normal conditions, the volume of oil that passes through the system of the power unit is proportional to RPM. Accordingly, at low values, the cylinders receive a very small amount of technical liquid.

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What is dangerous from frequent use of ECO-mode in a car 3

If the driver in ECO mode will force the car to work at full speed, it is safe to say about fast wear and tear of almost all elements of the cylinder-piston group. It is explained by the fact, that engine oil performs several functions at once – it lubricates rubbing surfaces and cools pistons. We conclude – economy on fuel can lead to engine failure in a moment.

For cars with automatic transmission the ECO-mode is also a big test. After all, under such conditions, the transmission tries to drive in a higher gear. Now let’s imagine what will happen to the gearbox, if you drive in ECO mode in a traffic jam. When you start driving, the box shifts sharply from first to second speed, and then back. Too frequent shifting increases the wear of gearbox units. Especially dangerous in such circumstances is the ECO-mode for robotized transmissions.

Another significant disadvantage of this option is low safety on the road. It refers only to those who do not understand when and how to use the function. Suppose, the driver has switched on an economy mode and sees a low-speed driver on the road. A thought arises in his head at once – to overtake and drive further. But it will be impossible to do it so quickly in ECO mode. As a result, an accident may happen.

How dangerous is frequent use of ECO mode in a car 4

Bottom line. The ECO-mode in the car can help in some situations – when you need to get to a place, and the tank is critically low in gasoline. However, this function is not suitable for daily use.

Driving assistance system ECO or “Eco mode”

Leafing through a standard manual, I often noticed the mention of ECO system, which could be in our car, but it does not exist and everybody uses it, as they say, “except us” – Japanese, Europeans and other “foreigners”…

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The essence of the system is to “help” a driver to save several liters of fuel by blunting reaction of a car to a gas pedal. It turns out – “slower” you accelerate = economy :) In addition to this there is also a reduction of the effectiveness of the air conditioner, which also helps to reduce fuel consumption.

To activate this mode in cars which have it from the factory, a special button is installed in a recess under the climate control:

A quote from the owner’s manual: “ECO mode is an ECO driving assistance system that automatically controls engine and air conditioner compressor operation to improve fuel efficiency.” So fuel efficiency is not that important for Russians, their petrol is not too expensive as it is, they can live with it :)

Those, whose car is “rich” in the system Smartphone-Link Display Audio (SDA), which is also called Mitsubishi Connect, is allowed to correct efficiency of work of the conditioner during eco-mode, that is also reflected in the manual:

Depending on the driver’s “pedaling” style, an indicator on the dashboard flashes accordingly, designed to show the user how much fuel economy he is driving in real time, and it does not depend on the activity of eco-mode itself, which is reflected in the upper left corner of the dashboard screen:

Since I regularly successfully “replenish” eco-mode on outlanders currently sold in Russia, I had not a single doubt after all described above that the mode is more than real in my car as well!

After analyzing the diagrams and assuming that the wiring for this system, of course, we “did not put” I planned a quick implementation by installing a native button instead of one of the plugs on the left of the steering wheel.

Armed with the native button, the connector to it mut, I went to tear the plastic of the new car to get to the connectors of the buttons and etax. Removing the panel, I noticed that all of the connectors were plugged into the corresponding buttons and only one was plugged into a plug – it was a 10-pin connector for a manual headlight corrector (which I don’t have, due to the LED optics). After looking at it, I realized that this is a sign – full compatibility with the connector ECO button, but with two rows of contacts instead of one, and there are only 5 wires – there are also two wires of backlight + ground, the only thing left is to pull the control wire to the etax and everything! Quickly put the needed wires in the new 5 pins socket (leaving the unwanted ones in the original socket), wrapped the wire with the pins on both sides and pulled it from the button to the Getax – as expected, the regular one was missing in the connector, so I inserted mine to the place designed for it.

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Each button in the car has its own place and within the same button cluster area the manufacturer uses “keys” to ensure that the buttons are inserted in the correct places and everything fits the description in the owner’s manual. The “key” in this case is the plastic protrusions on the perimeter of the button, which correspond to the recesses in the seat of the panel. After analyzing all the available places with plugs it was found that the key coincided with the one on the ECO button:

Button connectors of one zone most often are technically different, so you can not make a mistake by inserting them into buttons, but still sometimes there are technically compatible, so they are specially made different colors, so those who put them did not make a mistake, even the used connector manual corrector had a nearby “clone” of another color, exactly as the new socket eco button had a “blue brother”:

After putting the panel back together the result was this:

Fitted well, I think will be comfortable to use, but looks a little “foreign” because of the different color of its backlighting:)

Of course the button did not work at once, so I grabbed an invaluable toolkit with which I made the necessary software corrections to the engine ECU + etax and button alive!

The icon appears in the center of the screen when the button is pressed and soon disappears, leaving only an indication of mode activity in the upper left corner

On some pages of the screen when scrolling, such as the page showing fuel consumption, there is a scale showing “instant fuel economy”, which allows you to navigate how economically you move (works even when the eco-mode is off!):

A fuel economy rating page has also been added in the form of an illustration of the tree mentioned in the owner’s manual, designed to show overall driving economy statistics.

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The head unit “pleased” with its “version” of the economy rating in the form of “Score for ECO-mode”:

Statistics also appeared in the menu:

As for the work of the mode – after driving a few hundred kilometers with the mode on and off I realized for myself that this modification is quite worthwhile, in the sense that, for example, it will be useful for me when I do not have to hurry anywhere (when traveling with the family) or when the car will drive his wife, who does not need the agility inherent in this turbocharged car from the factory. If among Outlander owners there are those who can hardly notice the difference when operating the mode, the effect is very striking – the accelerator pedal becomes “cotton-picking” and it is necessary to push it well to accelerate appreciably! Me, of course, when transplanting from Lancer and its 241 factory horsepower to Eclipse cross drive in this mode, to put it mildly, is not usual, but after turning off the mode is quite bearable – impudent temper stock firmware still makes me happy:)

After a while I decided to move the “foreigner” in a separate place, located just below the engine start button, where he, in my opinion, the best place – it does not stand out for its uniqueness to the next buttons (they’re just not there) + it is much more convenient to use – you can almost press it without looking! This place is used only for diesel cars – the button of burning of particulate filter is placed there:

I did not take it to the factory place, because the “foreignness” will appear there again, and both of the buttons there have a power on indicator, which hints that the third button should be the same:)

I had to take apart a bit more to remove the dashboard to put the fabricated extension cord for the manual headlight corrector connector (which I returned to its place):

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This is the kind of extension made for routing to the new location of the ECO button:

Laying the extension cord, I noticed on the left of the dashboard above the button area unused “ear” for a pistol, which immediately forced me to find a suitable and put it on the connector extension, the benefit of this place reached the connector manual headlight corrector:

The button when installing the panel was upsetting the fact that the key this time did not match, but since there is no other buttons nearby this will never be a problem, so I finalized a little button to make it fit freely in the panel:

Put everything back together and voila – the button in this area looks just gorgeous:

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