Car Maintenance

Summer Tips: Get That Car Ready Before You Hit The Road

By Lina Younes

Summer is my favorite time of year. Days are longer. There are more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends. As some of you may be planning a family road trip this summer, there is one thing that you should consider as part of your travel preparations. If you’re driving, make sure the car is ready to hit the road.

Proper car maintenance will make your car more fuel efficient, save you money and protect the environment by producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping tires properly inflated is a simple step that can go a long way to improve fuel efficiency and enhance your safety on the road as well. By following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule you’ll also reduce the overall wear and tear of the vehicle.

Do you want another useful tip to increase your gas mileage without any additional cost? No, you won’t find it in a store. Simply obey the speed limit! Avoid sudden stops and hard accelerations. Aggressive driving only wastes gas, increases emissions, and makes you waste money at the pump.

So, simple steps can go a long way to have a great summer this year. Do you have any special plans? We will love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

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Fill Those Tires!

By Lina Younes

At home, we try to do our best to give the proper maintenance to our cars. Not only does it improve vehicle performance, increases fuel efficiency, and saves money, but it protects the environment as well. So, in spite of our efforts to maintain our cars properly, I noticed that our newest vehicle started to “act up”. Some dashboard indicator lights went on when I started the car in the morning. However, later in the day, the lights went off. After a couple of days, I saw a pattern. If the temperature went below 40 degrees, the lights lit up. When I consulted the vehicle manual I realized that the indicator lights were part of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. The system is designed to alert the driver when tire air pressure is low and tires have to be inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Although the tires looked fine to me from the outside, the system indicated that they needed some air. With cooler temperatures, it was obvious that the tires were not functioning to optimum levels.

Proper tire pressure is important for your own safety. Driving with under-inflated tires can cause them to overheat or even blowout. Furthermore, under-inflated tires will also lower your fuel efficiency and ultimately cost you more money at the pump.

So, visit our website for additional tips on what you can do to improve your vehicle’s performance and reduce pollution. It’s easier than you think. Do you have any suggestions? Please send us your comments. We will love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as EPA’s Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. 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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here 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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.