4 Easy Ways to Protect the Environment (And Save Money) With Your Car
It’s no secret that air pollution is affecting our planet – and a major cause is car emissions. The more fuel we consume, the more carbon dioxide gets emitted into the atmosphere.
So, the easiest solution: decrease our fuel consumption!
Thankfully there are plenty of easy things you can do. None of these things involve any major purchases – although there are plenty of great used hybrid and electric vehicles on the market.
Not only will your efforts help you do your part in protecting our environment, they’ll also save you money!
1. Keep your vehicle well-maintained.
A well-maintained vehicle not only lasts longer and runs better, but uses less gas – saving you money and cutting down on emissions. Make sure you’re do these things on the regular:
- Bring your car in for regular tune-ups. A dirty air filter will lower your gas mileage. Old spark plugs can cause misfires. A faulty cooling system could cause your car to run too cool, which lowers fuel efficiency. Get these things checked out.
- Make sure your car’s emission system is working properly. An emission system limits the discharge of dangerous fumes from the engine and other components.
- Replace your gas cap if it’s damaged or worn. A broken gas cap can reduce your gas mileage up to 2%. And those gas evaporates normally kept in check by the gas cap can pollute with no benefit to anyone.
- Figure out why that “Check Engine” light is on. It could be the result of a faulty mass airflow sensor, which normally determines the amount of air entering the engine (so that the right amount of fuel is added to the engine). If the sensor isn’t working properly, your gas mileage will tank.
- Get your A/C checked out for leaks. A leaky A/C will lower your performance and gas mileage. Just the use of the A/C can decrease your gas mileage by as much as 20% in some vehicles, so don’t let a leak worsen the problem!
Does your vehicle need maintenance? Visit Legend Auto Service and have our expert technicians take a look at it.
2. Maintain the right tire pressure for your car.
Simply having the right tire pressure can save you money on gas and cut down on pollution. When tires aren’t inflated to their pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) rating, they’re less round – so they require more energy to move.
Inflating your tires to the proper pressure can improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. Plus, your vehicle runs more smoothly and safer on the road. Properly inflated tires will wear more evenly and last longer.
- Check your tire pressure monthly (if not even more frequently) using a pressure gauge.
- Wait until your car’s tires are cold to get the most accurate reading.
- Find your car’s ideal tire pressure. Look for a sticker on your door jamb, check the glove compartment door, or check the owner’s manual.
3. Drive smarter.
It’s not just what you drive that affects the amount of pollution in the air – it’s how you drive.
Does this mean driving slowly? Not necessarily. Most car’s peak fuel efficiency lands somewhere between 50 and 60 MPH, and shifting to a lower gear requires more fuel to maintain.
Some habits to avoid:
- Don’t speed, or accelerate too aggressively. Aside from the danger that speeding causes for other drivers, the added wind resistance requires your engine to keep up with your momentum, and use up more gas. Aggressive acceleration can lower your gas mileage by up to 33% on the highway and up to 5% in the city.
- Try not to idle for more than 30 seconds. Whether you’re in traffic, sitting in a parking lot, or at a stop light, zero miles per gallon isn’t an ideal gas mileage! In some cars, you can waste as much as a quarter of a tank every 15 minutes while idling.
- Don’t “warm up” your vehicle in the winter for more than 30 seconds. Auto experts say your vehicle will warm up faster when it’s being driven. Most modern vehicles made in the 2000s or later don’t need to warm up at all.
- Brake more steadily. Any time you slam on the brakes, your car’s transmission will have to downshift to its lowest gears to regain lost momentum. Low gears = more engine revolutions = more gas required.
- Don’t keep heavy items in your car or have a cargo rack on your vehicle when not in use. The more weight your car carries, the more fuel required to keep it moving. Keeping your trunk and backseat clean of excess items can increase your vehicle’s fuel economy by as much as 2%.
4. Use the right oil.
Motor oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. The better quality of oil in your car, the better it can reduce friction and the more horsepower it can free up in your vehicle.
- Get your oil changed regularly. Not only will this improve your gas mileage, fresh oil will keep built-up oil sludge from oxidizing and damaging the engine. How often you change your oil depends on your car’s make and model, the type of oil you use, and your driving habits. But every 5,000 miles is a good rule of thumb.
- Switch to a synthetic motor oil of the right low viscosity your vehicle calls for. A synthetic motor oil has oil molecules of a smaller uniform size, compared to non-synthetic oils. This will decrease friction and improve your fuel economy.
Ready for an oil change? Need some oil recommendations? Set up an appointment at Legend Auto Service.
While reducing fuel consumption is the quickest and easiest way to protect our environment, there are other actions you can take to go green with your car. Try these on for size:
- Take in your used oil and old batteries. Look for a local oil collection center or recycling center that accepts car fluids. Take your old car battery to wherever you’re planning to buy your new one, and they’ll likely take it.
- Don’t dump your old car parts – recycle them. Almost every type of metal you find on your car is recyclable. Talk to your local auto shop before you throw out any car part.
- Wash your car more smartly. Commercial car washes use less water than washing it by hand. If you insist on washing it yourself, use a bucket to cut back on water you’re not using. Use non-toxic cleaners.
- Don’t top off your gas tank. Be sure to stop fueling when the nozzle shuts off. Forcing more gas into your tank will only cause more fumes to leak.
- Recycle your car for cash. There are plenty of companies that will buy a junked car from you. Even if you can’t drive your car anymore, it can easily be turned into parts another owner needs, steel beams for construction projects, new bumpers for other cars, mulch, and lots more.
Do your part.
Whether you invest in a more fuel efficient vehicle, cut back a bit on driving, or recycle a few extra parts, anything you do to help our planet is incredibly valuable. Talk to our expert technicians at Legend Auto Service to make sure your vehicle is running as efficiently as it can.
If you’re in the market for a more eco-friendly vehicle, talk to the friendly sales staff at Legend Auto Sales. Many of our late model vehicles in our inventory are designed for fuel efficiency.
Thanks for doing your part to protect the planet!
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