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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 / Comments | Print | Email

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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 garage.

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."

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