Spring Car Care Section: Automobile group offers Earth Day car care tips

Published on Thu, Apr 21, 2011
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When it comes to celebrating Earth Day and helping the environment, vehicle owners and drives should not feel left out.

By changing a few habits, motorists can do their part in helping the environment, according to the experts at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). 

ASE recommends regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits as two easy-to-implement strategies. What’s more, better automotive habits will help your vehicle last longer and command a better resale price.

The following tips from ASE can put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care:  
        
• Keep the engine running at peak performance—a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the manual. 

• Today’s vehicles have much cleaner tailpipe emissions that they did thirty years ago. But a poorly running engine or faulty exhaust system will cause your vehicle to pollute much more than it would otherwise. Don’t ignore that ‘Service Engine’ light.  
• Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the engine’s effort and, thus, gasoline consumption. What’s more, your tires will last longer too, saving you money and easing the burden at recycling centers. 

• Have your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced only by a technician certified to handle and recycle refrigerants. Older air conditioners contain ozone-depleting chemicals, which could be released into the atmosphere through improper service.
• Avoid speeding and sudden accelerations; both habits guzzle gas. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine. Consolidate daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. 

• Remove excess items from the vehicle, since less weight means better mileage. Remove that roof-top luggage carrier after vacations to reduce air drag. 

• If you do your own repairs, properly dispose of engine fluids and batteries. Some repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local government. Remember too that improperly disposed fluids such as anti-freeze can harm pets and wildlife.  
The ASE was founded to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians.

About 400,000 technicians and parts specialists hold current ASE certifications. They work at all types of facilities, from new car dealerships, to national chains, independent repair shops, fleets and more.

Employers often display the blue and white ASE sign, while the technicians wear shoulder insignia or lapel pins identifying himself or herself as ASE certified.

Visit www.ase.com for more information, including seasonal car care tips.