Car Maintenance is a Must!

By Lina Younes

During last week’s blog on “do-it-yourselfers” and the environment, I mentioned how proper maintenance of cooling/heating equipment and household appliances will help you save money and protect the environment. Well, the same thing applies to cars. Taking care of your car means more than just filling it with gas or changing the oil from time to time. Treating your car well will extend the life of your vehicle, saving you money, and helping to keep the air clean.

Some of the useful tips on car maintenance include:

  • Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended level. When tires are not inflated properly they increase the wear-and-tear of the tire and fuel costs.
  • Getting regular tune-ups will go a long way to increasing fuel efficiency and improving the lifespan of your vehicle.
  • Changing the oil regularly will contribute to a cleaner engine and lower vehicle emissions.
  • Keeping your air filter clean will also protect the environment.

In addition to giving your car the proper maintenance, there are simple steps to contribute to pollution reduction. How can you keep emissions as low as possible? Here are some tips:

  • Don’t top off.  Don’t fill up the car with gas after you hear the click at the pump! Continuing to fill the gas tank after you hear the click is a total waste of money and actually sends harmful gasoline vapors into the air.
  • Whenever you can, combine errands in order to reduce unnecessary driving.
  • Don’t drive aggressively.
  • Avoid stop and go traffic. I know this is easier said than done, but with some planning you can avoid abrupt changes in speed which waste gas, generate emissions, and cause greater wear-and-tear on your car.

For those interested in adopting greener behaviors to reduce their carbon footprint even further, changing your means of transportation might be a good start. How about leaving the car at home at least one day a week for starters? Carpooling, using mass transportation, biking are greener transportation alternatives. And how about good old fashioned walking?

You know, I was actually writing this blog while I was waiting at the service station. These were just some of the green ideas I came up with. As always, I would like to hear your suggestions.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force.  Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.