5 Easy Ways to Greenify Your Ride
Making your vehicle more ecologically responsible isn’t as hard as you’d think
By: Steve English / 04.10.2011
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Eco-friendly ways to greenify your car
Think climate change is too large and complex of a problem for
you to solve? Think again. Little things can have big consequences,
and the road to environmental responsibility starts in your very
own driveway. Auto racer and Car Care Canada spokesperson Kelly Williams shares with us five
simple eco-friendly tips all drivers can follow to reduce their
vehicle's impact on the planet.
1. Let it breathe
Replacing air filters regularly is an easy way to conserve
fuel and reduce emissions. A clogged air filter forces your car's
engine to work harder and burn more gas. "[A dirty filter] is like
having a stuffed-up nose," Williams says. "When your nose is
stuffed, it's harder to breathe." A clean air filter can improve
mileage by as much as 10 percent.
You can replace the air filter on most cars by yourself, but in
some models it can be difficult to reach. In that case, take it to
the shop and get the technicians to change it for you.
2. Dispose responsibly
If you replace your engine fluids, tires and batteries
yourself, make sure you know how to get rid of them properly. Your
best bet is to take them to a nearby garage or service station for
proper disposal, or contact your municipal government for addresses
of approved recycling sites. Since most service stations will take
them off your hands, there's simply no excuse for pouring used
fluids into the sewage system or dumping old batteries and tires
into a landfill.
3. Lose some weight
No, not that kind. Carrying around heavy and unnecessary
cargo like golf clubs or hockey-equipment bags when you're not
using them increases the strain on your engine. An extra 50
kilograms can reduce your vehicle's overall fuel economy by 2
percent, and a loaded roof rack can cut it down by a further 5
percent. If you don't need it for the trip, leave it in the
4. Change your driving habits
Often, the most problematic part of a car is its driver.
Simple things like respecting speed limits (which you should do
anyway), avoiding stop-and-go traffic, using cruise control on open
highways and avoiding excessive engine idling can all help keep
your car running smoothly and efficiently. The hard stops and
jackrabbit starts of aggressive drivers can reduce gas mileage by
as much as 33 percent. "People forget that they themselves are
still the active ingredient in their vehicle's performance,"
Williams says. "They need to check their habits, too."
5. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule
Keep a schedule in your car or garage to keep track of
service milestones. Most cars should get a thorough service station
checkup twice a year, Williams says, but most drivers don't stick
to that. "We've gotten out of the habit of taking our cars in
regularly because they're so much more reliable these days," she
says. "We take it for granted that everything's going to be fine
with them, but we still need to take them in more often."