By practicing a few “earth-friendly” car care habits, motorists can do their part to help the environment. According to the experts at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), it’s as simple as timely vehicle maintenance and “non-aggressive” driving.
The following are some specific suggestions from the ASE:
Slow down.Speeding and hard accelerations waste gasoline. Use cruise-control on highways to maintain a steady pace. When waiting for clients or your next job, shut off the engine whenever possible. Consolidate daily errands.
Lighten up.Remove unnecessary items from the vehicle to reduce weight. (During a snowstorm it can be a good idea to add weight to improve traction, but that’s not the case during the rest of the year.)
Don’t pollute.Dispose of used motor oil, antifreeze/coolant and old batteries properly. Some repair facilities accept these items or call your local government for options.
Keep the engine running at its peak.A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%. Replace filters and fluids, as recommended by the owner’s manual.
Get pumped.Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned. Under-inflated tires waste fuel by forcing your engine to work harder. Moreover, properly maintained tires last longer, saving you money and lessening the burden at landfills.
Know your limitations.If you’re not a “do-it-yourselfer,” find a good technician. Ask friends for recommendations. Check the reputation of the repair shop with a local consumer group. Check out the technicians’ credentials – look for ASE-certified professionals, particularly for maintenance on things like engine performance and air conditioning.
Don’t try this at home.Your car’s air conditioner should be serviced only by a technician certified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Air conditioners in older vehicles contain ozone-depleting chemicals, which can be released into the atmosphere through improper service.
In addition to helping the environment, routine maintenance will help your vehicle last longer, get better gas mileage and command a higher resale price. It’s well worth the effort on so many levels.