Car care is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer – up to 50 percent longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians. The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.
• Keep your engine tuned up. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner’s manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
• Check your tires for proper inflation. Underinflation wastes fuel – your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
• Keep your air conditioner in top condition and have it serviced only by a technician certified competent to handle/recycle refrigerants.
• Do-it-yourselfers: dispose of used motor oil, anti-freeze/coolant, tires, and old batteries properly. Many repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local municipal or country government for recycling sites.
• Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 55 mph.
• Have the vehicle towed or driven to a collision repair facility of your choice.
• Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-gos. Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
• Avoid excessive idling. Shut off engine while waiting for friends and family. Today’s vehicles are designed to “warm up” fast, so forget about those long warm-ups on cold winter mornings.
• Remove excessive items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage. Store luggage/cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.