Monday, July 20, 2015

Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Car Greener

Most people want to go green, whether it's for an intrinsic value of helping the environment or a desire to save money, or maybe a mixture of the two. While there are plenty of ways to decrease your environmental impact at home, there are also ways to make your car greener. Despite what some think, you don't have to purchase an expensive hybrid model to make this a reality. In fact, there are some incredibly inexpensive ways to improve the efficiency of any vehicle, from an aging compact coupe all the way to a large diesel pickup truck.

Every car has an air intake, which draws in fresh air for the engine to use in the combustion process. There is also a filter that is usually housed in a black plastic box in the engine bay. That filter becomes dirty over time as it captures dust and other particles in the air before they reach the engine. Just like in a vacuum, when the air filter becomes clogged with the debris, it starts to block the flow of the air, which in turn lowers the car's fuel efficiency. You should check your air filter every time the oil is changed. If it's dirty, either replace it or at least use a vacuum to clean the dust out.

Most car owners almost entirely ignore their tires until a mechanic tells them they need to be switched out. If you want to consume less fuel without even changing how you drive, pay closer attention to your tires and maintain them properly. Every vehicle has a recommended air pressure level for the front and rear tires. You can find that recommendation either in the owner's manual or in the driver's door jamb. Check the air pressure regularly, like when you fill up with fuel, and add air as needed. By keeping the tires inflated to that level, you ensure that the engine and transmission don't work harder than necessary, which conserves fuel. In addition, your tires will last longer, which also benefits the environment as fewer tires are needed.

You can make your car's battery last longer simply by insulating it against the cold temperatures of the winter. The simple fact is that car batteries are full of toxic chemicals that aren't the greatest for the environment, so anything you can do to cut down on how many batteries are in existence is a good thing. Most automotive stores sell insulation kits for batteries, and it's easy to apply.

Some people treat their car like a giant junk drawer, leaving all kinds of random items in the cargo area or even the backseat and never cleaning it out. All of those unnecessary things add weight to the car, and that added weight causes it to consume more fuel. At least every few weeks, you should go through your car and remove anything that doesn't need to be there, like tire chains in the summer or exercise equipment that has not been touched in weeks. This will also help your suspension last longer and improve your car's handling.

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