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Celebrate Earth Day with some Car Care

Celebrate Earth Day with your Car

With April being National Car Care Month and Earth Day on April 22nd, motorists now have the ideal occasion to make sure their vehicles are environmentally friendly and running efficiently to save money at the gas pumps, according to the Car Care Council.

“Poor vehicle maintenance directly impacts the environment, with 10 percent of the nation’s automobiles causing 50 percent of the automotive pollution,” says Rich White, Executive Director of the Car Care Council. “With skyrocketing gas prices, people are wasting more money and polluting the environment if their vehicles are not running properly.”

The Car Care Council and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) provide these suggestions for practicing earth friendly car habits.

• Drive Green – If you have to drive your car on Earth Day, recognize that how your drive has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Jerky and aggressive driving decreases your miles per gallon (MPG) and increases wear and tear on your vehicle. Minimize unnecessary miles by combining errands in one trip.

• Regular Maintenance – Regular maintenance and changing filters (oil, fuel and air filters) will help your car pollute less and burn less gas. Simply changing the car’s air filter can improve efficiency by 10 percent. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.

• 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, flares and a first-aid kit. Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an increase in gas usage.

• Tire Checks – According to the Car Care Council, around two billion gallons of gas each year could be saved if the tires on every American’s car were properly inflated. Optimal tire pressure for your vehicle is listed in the owner’s manual. Tires that are not properly inflated add rolling resistance that makes the engine work harder to move the vehicle. All of this increases fuel costs as much as three to five cents per gallon, and increases the risk of engine damage. You may wish to consider using Nitrogen in your tires to help maintain tire pressure for a longer period of time. The Get Nitrogen Institute estimates that if you drive on average 15,000 miles a year you could save between $200 – $300/year in fuel and tire costs.

• Gas Caps and Fill-Ups – Check your vehicle’s gas cap. Approximately 17 percent of vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing nearly 150 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.

• Don’t pollute – If you are a do-it-yourselfer dispose of used oil, coolant and old batteries properly.

• Emission System – system should be inspected for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise or if there is a strong “rotten egg smell” coming from the exhaust.

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