Take Care of the Earth, by Taking Care of Your Car

We know cars are not always the most environment-friendly things on the planet. However, in honor of Earth Day, we’re going to do our part and suggest some ways you can care for your car in a more environmentally friendly manner. How so? Well, try these tips.

Don’t buy a new car. Keep your car well maintained. This column from Scientific American states: “It definitely makes more sense from a green perspective to keep your old car running and well-maintained as long as you can‚ especially if it's getting such good mileage. There are significant environmental costs to both manufacturing a new automobile and adding your old car to the ever-growing collective junk heap.”

There’s another environmental benefit to having your car regularly serviced, though. If you have anything leaking from your car, your Milex Complete Auto Care mechanic is going to notice that. Oil leaks, or any leaking from your car, like antifreeze… well, for starters, that’s a sign something is wrong with your car. So it’s imperative to get those leaks fixed, anyway. But those leaks don’t just remain on your driveway. They can wind up in the groundwater, too. While it may seem minor, if you get enough oil, antifreeze and transmission fluid leaking from your car and it gets into the water system, it becomes and environmental concern.

A Carmel, Indiana government auto fluids fact sheet put it this way: "Auto fluids like oil do not dissolve in water. They last a long time and stick to everything from sand to bird feathers. Oil and other petroleum products are toxic to people, wildlife and plants. One pint of oil can make a slick larger than a football field. Oil that leaks from our cars onto roads and driveways is washed into storm drains, and then usually flows directly into a lake or stream."

That’s also an argument to not change your car’s oil yourself and instead have a place like Milex do it for you, where excess oil can be disposed of safely. The same fact sheet observes, “The oil from just one oil change can pollute up to a million gallons of water.” It also says, “Used motor oil is the largest single source of oil pollution in our lakes, streams, and rivers.”

Buy an environmentally friendly car. While maintaining your car will help the environment, obviously a day will come when you just can’t keep it going any longer. So the next time you do need to buy another car, if you can get one that isn’t a gas guzzler, all the better. You also might want to consider buying a used car. The aforementioned Scientific American column suggests this: “If you simply must change your vehicle, be it for fuel efficiency or any other reason, one option is to simply buy a used car that gets better gas mileage than your existing one.”

Try to not idle your car. Not without a good reason, anyway, and you can stop doing it in the winter, waiting for your car to “warm up.” You’re just wasting gas and releasing emissions, for no real positive impact on your end.  Modern cars take about two minutes to warm up. Often, to warm up the car, all you need to do is get in your car and start driving.

Wash your car less. Some car owners love their cars and wash them every chance they get.  We aren’t telling anyone to stop washing their car. For the sake of the environment, especially during dry stretches of the summer, washing your car a little less can mean conserving more water. And at the very least, if you’re washing your car on your driveway, try to not let the water run from the hose too long.

Clean your trunk. Sometime people treat their trunks like a spare closet? They either forget some of the items they keep in the back or figure the “out of sight, out of mind” nature of keeping things there allows for extra room in the garage or basement.  The more weight you’re towing around in your trunk, however, the more gas your vehicle consumes.

Carpool with your coworkers. Sharing a ride to and from work with a colleague means fewer emissions going into the atmosphere – plus, less wear and tear on your vehicle.

There are many ways in which you can practice environmentally friendly habits with your vehicle.  Earth Day is a great time to put that into action.  

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