Whether your car is subcompact or luxury sedan…brand new or 19 years old…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. These simple preventive maintenance steps can help you protect the environment by improving gas mileage, which in turn saves money at the pump.
Keep your car properly tuned for optimum performance – A properly maintained vehicle can improve its efficiency, reduce emissions and save you money. Regular engine performance maintenance will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent future car troubles. This maintenance should include: checking spark plugs, replacing the fuel and air filters, replacing ignition system and/or emission system parts if needed and ensuring the onboard computer control system is working properly. Gas mileage is often improved up to 4% on a proper tune-up and 40% when serious maintenance problem such as a faulty oxygen sensor is fixed. Old fouled spark plugs can easily cause the engine to lose power or misfire and waste fuel.
Drive Intelligently – How you drive has a lot to do with fuel economy.
- Sudden Starts and Stops – avoid at every opportunity
- Speed limit – obey & take it literally
- Combining errands in one trip to minimize unnecessary miles
- Drive wisely and minimize unnecessary miles by consolidating errands, getting good directions and avoiding excessive idling.
- Cruise Control features – use whenever practical and possible.
- Air Conditioning – use only when needed. Parking in the shade and using a reflective windshield shade can help your car stay cooler when parked, meaning it takes less to cool it off when you get back in.
- Speeding and Aggressive Driving: Most cars lose fuel efficiency over 50 miles per hour (MPH) at a rate of about $0.24 per gallon for every 5 mph over 50. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) can also reduce gas mileage – as much as 33 percent on the highway and five percent on city streets.
Dirty Air Filters – Check & Replace Regularly – A clogged, dirty air filter restricts air flow and creates a “rich” fuel mixture … causing your engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter will improve your car’s performance and acceleration, but not miles per gallon. The air filter should be inspected at each oil change, and replaced annually or when restricted, torn, water or oil-soaked.
Spark Plugs – Checked & Replace if Needed – A vehicle can have four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as three million times every 1,000 miles. This results in a lot of heat, electrical, and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug also causes misfiring, which wastes fuel.
Cooling System – Cooling system thermostats can cause the engine to run too cold…lowering your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by as much as one or two mpg. There also are improved radiator caps on the market today that allow the cooling system to operate at a higher temperature before boiling over, increasing the system’s efficiency and reducing emissions.
Tire Checks – Tire pressure checks should be done at least monthly, including the spare. Proper tire pressure can improve gas mileage by 3.3 percent or 10 cents per gallon.
A/C Maintenance and Use – Yearly A/C system inspections are highly recommended !
Vehicle Fuel System – 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.”