7 Ways Vehicle Maintenance Can Help The Environment

We hear of many ways that we can help the environment these days: using less electricity, recycling, relying less on private transportation. On that last note, it can be very helpful to both your wallet and the environment to use public transportation, or at least to car pool with people rather than everyone take their own individual vehicle to work every day. Seldom, however, do we consider how our own personal vehicle, and our treatment of it, is affecting the environment.

Performing regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance can make a huge difference when it comes to your carbon fingerprint. For example, if your tire pressure is lower than is required, it means that your engine will be using more energy to move your car because there is more friction, or resistance, occurring between the tire treads and the road. It seems like a simple enough concept, yet oddly enough most people never stop to think about such things and the broader implications of their actions (or lack thereof). That being the case, here are seven ways you can help the environment by performing these routine maintenance and performance checks.  

1. Keep up the engine’s performance.

Ensuring that the engine is functioning correctly and is not being overworked can do a lot to reduce your environmental impact. Be sure to replace your air filter and get an oil change at regular intervals, as specified in your vehicle manual. You should also maintain the quality of other fluids in the vehicle, and check your battery quality. Older or worn down batteries have the potential to leak acid and provide a less-than-standard flow of energy to keep the engine running, so don’t forget to check on your battery as well.

2. Check your tire pressure and alignment.

Remember, the engine will have to work harder in order to propel your vehicle if your air pressure is too low. This causes you to burn more gasoline, and in turn, cause more methane emissions that further pollute the air.  Making sure that your tires are properly aligned also forces your engine to burn more energy, and can cause your tires to become worn down faster. This means you will be replacing tires more often and dealing with unscheduled repairs that could have otherwise been avoided.

3. Stay in the speed limit.

Driving at high speeds not only puts you at a greater risk for accidents and injuries, it also uses much more gas and causes greater wear and tear to your tires. This also runs down the engine, transmission, suspension, and steering systems in the vehicle. Using cruise control is a great way to stay at a constant pace, ensuring you are not burning unnecessary amounts of gas or emitting too much gas into the air.

4. Proper disposal of materials from maintenance.

If you are one for doing your own vehicle maintenance, remember to utilize proper disposal and recycling techniques. You want especially pay attention to correctly disposing of the battery and any engine fluids that you are dealing with. This includes fluids like oil, anti-freeze, and steering and break fluid.

5. Have more complex parts replaced by professionals.

A lot of repairs can be done in your driveway at home, but if you are not comfortable performing your own vehicle maintenance, or you are dealing with a more complicated problem, be sure to take your vehicle to a reputable mechanic and check on their credentials. Most technicians, or shops that employee technicians that are AES certified, will have been trained extensively in repair and maintenance services. Be sure to do some research on your body shop before decide to leave your car there for servicing.

6. Have professionals replace more complex parts. 

For bigger problems that result from accidents, or from an issue like a broken air-conditioner, it is important that you see a properly trained technician or mechanic. Air-conditioners, in particular, contain fluids and refrigerants that can be harmful to the environment if not properly handled or tended to.

7. Make less trips, and travel lightly.

If you have errands to run or other business to attend to, try to knock out everything in one trip instead of going to one location and then back home every single time. This makes your environmental impact significantly less and also saves you money using less gas per trip. You also want to ensure there are not unnecessary items in your vehicle that can add to its overall weight. This will weigh more on your tires and cause the engine to burn more gas in order to run.