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Posted on: January 4, 2019

Steps to a “Greener” Car

Checking tire pressure on a car.

It doesn’t matter if the car you’re driving is new or old, big or small. There are preventive maintenance steps every vehicle owner can take to make sure their car is as “green” or environmentally friendly as possible, according to the Car Care Council.

By following a few simple preventive maintenance steps, you can help protect the environment by improving gas mileage, which in turn saves money at the pump.

  • Keep your car properly tuned for optimum performance. Regular engine performance maintenance will help burn less gas, pollute less and prevent car trouble down the line. 
  • How a vehicle is driven has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops, and go the speed limit. Drive wisely and minimize unnecessary miles by consolidating errands, getting good directions and avoiding excessive idling. 
  • Lighten the load. Get the junk out of the trunk and the stuff out of your car, with the exception of emergency items such as a spare tire and a first-aid kit. Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an increase in gas usage.
  • Regularly check and replace dirty air filters. An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture that causes the engine to lose power.
  • Have spark plugs checked and replaced if necessary. A dirty spark plug also causes misfiring, which wastes fuel.
  • Maintain the cooling system. A cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold will lower the fuel efficiency of a car by as much as 1 or 2 miles per gallon.
  • Check tire pressure at least monthly, including the spare. Tires that are not properly inflated add rolling resistance that makes the engine work harder to move the vehicle. 
  • Check the vehicle’s gas cap. A loose, cracked or damaged gas cap allows gas to escape from your tank as a vapor, wasting fuel and increasing vehicle emissions.
  • When filling up a car, remember to stop when the nozzle shuts off. Topping off the gas tank can release harmful vapors into the environment and waste money. 
  • The air conditioning system should be inspected annually, during which a technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures. Use the window to help keep the car cool.
  • By properly maintaining your vehicle’s fuel system, such as replacing your car’s fuel filter every two years or 24,000 miles and having your fuel injectors flushed our every 30,000 miles, you will not only have a cleaner, ‘greener’ car, but you will save money at the pump.
  • Emission systems control a vehicle’s emissions, exhaust and pollutants and keep the engine running cleanly and efficiently in all sorts of operating conditions.

 (Source: Car Care Council)

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