Car Maintenance The Earth Wise Way

Getting the most out of your car means your engine needs to be working at maximum efficiency while burning minimum fuel.  Here are some tips that will enable you to extend the life of your car while saving money and the environment by simply maintaining your car the eco-wise way:

Regular Care And Maintenance Of Your Car

It’s important that you regularly measure your tire pressure.  This has a two-fold benefit:

1. When the tire pressure is at the optimum level you actually use 15% less gas.

2. You increase the life of your tires by 15%.

Change your oil every 3,000 to 4,500 miles if you make short runs under 6 miles at a time, if you frequent city traffic with many stops and starts, if your car tows a trailer or heavy load regularly, or if you drive in salty, sandy or dusty conditions.

If your oil isn't changed often enough this can result in advanced engine wear and tear with the loss of fuel economy and overall performance which means accelerated oil consumption and with it, increased carbon emissions.  Doing this on a regular basis will not only extend the life of your engine but keep your car in optimum working condition while helping it burn less fuel.

Check and replace windscreen wipers when the rubber in them has worn out, if you don’t, not only will they be ineffective, but they may also scratch the windscreen causing you to replace them earlier and pay more money in the long term.

Water Conservation

Most people aren’t aware that how they clean their car can be almost as important to the environment as how you maintain it.  It only takes 1 quart of oil in our waterways to contaminate 1 million quarts of water so it pays to know what we’re putting into our storm water drains.

Before you wash your car, especially as it gets toward those summer months, are there any water restrictions currently in place?  Car washing is likely to be out if your area is experiencing drought conditions and will likely to be the first activity to be restricted.

Hosing your car while on your driveway should be avoided because not only does it waste water but it introduces dirt, grease, detergents, oil and gas residue into storm water drains eventually ending up in our river systems which gradually make their way into our oceans, the very oceans that we depend upon for our survival.

Instead, place your car on a grassy area to minimize the amount of water run-off.

Using biodegradable vegetable oil based soaps to wash your car are a good option as they readily breakdown if any runoff escapes down storm water drains.  If you opt to use car shampoos always wash your car on your lawn as these types of shampoos usually contain phosphates similar to those found in fertilizers.  The reason why this is a disadvantage is because it artificially introduces nutrients to photosynthetic algae where there otherwise would not have been, enabling them to overgrow clogging natural waterways and killing marine life by overwhelming entire ecosystems.  You can opt to use phosphate free alternatives in place of the regular kind.

It’s ironic that manufacturers include this component to their cleaning products knowing that it will eventually end up in our waterways, tighter regulation needs to be put in place while a ban on phosphates in all cleaning products become a reality.  The positive outlook is that at the state level change is gradually taking place.  Through greater awareness policy-makers are working to ban the use of phosphates in cleaning products with the state of Virginia joining the cause to phase out the use of phosphate based cleaning products by 2010.

Using a sponge and bucket or a watering can takes a little more time than using a hose but can save a lot more water, in fact using a hose to wash your car uses four to five times more water than a humble bucket and sponge alone.  This is because when using a hose you’re unaware of the volume of water you use, however a set amount of water as you would when using a bucket not only saves on your water bill but you save our greatest precious resource in the process.

Don’t let water go to waste.  Using “grey” water to wash your car can get maximum usage out of the same water.  Grey water is typically water that has been recycled from the other processes such as water from your laundry for example.  Collect the water in a bucket as it drains off during a rinse cycle to wash your car with.  This ensures you get double the use from the same batch of water.

Washing your car in the shade ensures slower evaporation, helping conserve water and avoids telltale streaks on the paint finish.

Eliminate the use of expensive chemical finishing treatments.  Armed with a simple chamois with some good old vigorous polishing is the best way to achieve a streak free finish.

Getting the most out of your car through eco conscious methods will not only ensure you save money but will extend the life of your car too.

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