Green Car Maintenance Tips

7 car and driving tips that will make your car more eco-friendly (and save you some money too!)

Photo: Perez Carlo/Flickr

We’re all becoming environment friendly these days, or at least we try to. What with everybody from Al Gore to Angelina Jolie and even Linkin Park talking, blogging, tweeting and making documentaries about it (anyone remember an inconvenient truth? Of course you do!) It isn’t a topic we could avoid even if we wanted to.

Why should we want to avoid it anyway, it does make a whole bunch of sense. The earth’s natural resources are depleting and we need to take stand so that our future generations could enjoy all that earth has to offer, just as we do today.

Don’t worry, I don’t intend on going into a passionate 10,000 word essay on how the environment is getting more and more messed up off late. Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve all been there, heard that and watched the documentary (if you haven’t, which rock did you just crawl out from? And what are you still doing here? Go do some environment reading up now!)

For everyone else who’s already up to speed, let’s talk cars. Not all of us can afford to turn hybrid or go electric because let’s face it those cars cost a bomb and not all of us have the kind of bank balance to buy a new car on a whim.

So what do we do? What we always do, make the best of what we’ve got. By that I mean take our good ol’ everyday combustion motor wielding rides and make them as eco-friendly as possible. How you ask? Well I’m getting to it….right now.

7 car and driving tips that will make your car more eco-friendly (and save you some money too!)

  • Tune that baby up. Car care 101 really, as long as your engine’s running on top form, it’ll save a whole bunch of gas. So make sure you have your mechanic give your engine a tune-up ever so often, and not just when the engine-check light flashes.
  • Drive smart. If you’re one of those guys whose tires screech every time you start moving or come to a stop, you might think it looks cool but it doesn’t, and worse still, it’s the exact opposite of driving smart, so stop it! Instead, drive smooth and stay within the speed limit, your car will give you a better mileage and you’re also less likely to get pulled over by the fuzz, so win-win really.
  • Don’t overcompensate. Putting higher octane fuel will not make your car suddenly give you a better mileage output. Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions in terms of what kind of fuel should be filled. The same goes for the grade of engine oil and amount of air in the tires, all these factors affect your car’s performance, so make sure they’re the perfect match for your car, no more – no less.
  •  Watch the air-con. Don’t turn your car into a refrigerator, the lesser work your air conditioner has to do to with reference to the outside temperature, the lesser fuel it’ll take, so get your car to a comfortable temperature by all means, but don’t try to recreate Siberia inside your car while driving through the Nevada desert. It’s pertinent to point out here also, that if your air-con hasn’t been properly looked after, it will take more of an effort to produce the same result than it ordinarily would, so keep it in prime condition.
  • Shed that excess weight. No, I did not just call you fat! What I’m trying to say is don’t turn you car’s trunk into a junkyard, don’t pile up luggage on your roof till it groans in protest, heck, get rid of the roof rack itself (unless you need to use it on a daily basis) it weighs a lot, and just like that fat kid in gym class will move slower because of it. In the same vein, don’t add something frivolous like a huge wing at the back because you think it gives your car some street-cred (unless your car is auditioning for a Fast and the Furious movie that is) it usually looks quite tacky and does a lot of damage to your mileage.
  • Idling. When the car has come to stop, make sure the engine follows suit. It’s a waste of fuel and an unnecessary increase in CO2 emissions when you keep your car running even when it’s standing still (see! It seems like a stupid, counter-productive idea even when you write it down!) 
  • Plan, cruise and overdrive. Plan your trip before you hit the road so that you don’t waste time and fuel needlessly because you don’t know where you’re going. Use the car’s cruise control and overdrive features while on the highway if available so that you drive at optimum efficiency levels and thus save fuel.

You’ve probably noticed that I mentioned mileage a lot as a part of this list, apart from less fuel consumption meaningless air pollution and reduction in use of natural resources, there’s an added benefit of economy. You won’t just save on the gas money though, but less mileage will also mean a lower insurance premium! That’s right, some insurance firms such as The Hartford, Amica Mutual and Safeway will give you a discount on your premium if you aren’t a gas guzzler, now that’s what I like to call a win-win.

About Author:

Elvis Donnelly is a father of two who works from home and lives with his wife. He is a voracious reader and likes to keep abreast of current affairs on personal finance, technology and innovation, and takes a keen interest in environmental issues. In his spare time, he loves taking on home improvement projects and considers himself a closet chef. He is on Twitter at @NotJustElvis

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