Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How You Can Help Save the Environment by Maintaining your Car Properly‏

Check Engine light on a 1996 Dodge Caravan.Image via Wikipedia

by Gregg Hall

With fears of global warming, the care of our environment is continually becoming more of a concern for all. Vehicle owners are no exception, and in all actuality have more to consider than those without a vehicle. Controlling what goes into your vehicle and what comes out, and how much goes in and out, comes with the responsibility of owning a vehicle.

Basic vehicle maintenance will help the overall well being of your car, but will also help the environment. Maintenance on your vehicle should not be done just when the "Check Engine" light appears.

Maintenance follows three timelines: one-time only, several times a year and regularly. Upon ownership of your vehicle, make the one-time purchase of a high quality gas cap and make a one time read through the vehicle's owner manual. Although you probably have more exciting things to do then read a manual, it will be worth your time. Mark the pages that you might find helpful in the future. If you are purchasing a previously owned car and the manual is not with the car, many manuals can be found on the Internet.

Talk with your general maintenance person, such as the person who typically changes your oil. Do they have any maintenance schedule suggestions as to what should be done when? Creating a maintenance schedule and keeping track of everything you have had done on your vehicle is good for solving future problems or will possibly help increase the value of your car if you plan on selling it.

Included in this schedule should be: oil, transmission fluid and radiator coolant checks and changes, air conditioner checks, fuel, air and oil filter checks and changes, and finally, belt and hose checks. Depending on your tire quality, check your tire PSI often. Tires with low inflation are dangerous, but also require your car to use more fuel.

Many places in the U.S. require emission testing for your vehicle. The discovery of a failing emissions system can mean a decreased fuel efficiency of up to 7 percent. Keep two things in mind about your vehicle's emission. First, it is illegal to take out or damage any part of the emission system in your vehicle. Be cautious when making muffler enhancements on your vehicle as this could potentially affect the main emissions system. Second, catalytic converters have laws pertaining to the warranty, mileage and year of vehicle. Be sure you and your mechanic abide to these laws when making repairs or replacements.

Contact the EPA if you have questions about these laws. The person running your emissions test should also be able to assist you with questions pertaining to your vehicle's emission system.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach Florida. Find more about this as well as paint protection at

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