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April 18, 2005
Earth-Friendly Auto Care


Debbie Keith (313) 336-1518

Properly maintaining your car is a great way to celebrate Earth Day this April 22, AAA Michigan says. You can become the first line of defense against pollution and save money too. Here are a few tips:

  • Properly dispose of used oil. According to some U.S. government estimates, motor vehicles use a billion gallons of motor oil per year, 350 million gallons of which are not recycled or are sent out the exhausts of poorly maintained vehicles. You can change your own oil and recycle it, or take your vehicle to a professional for service to prevent spills. Many oil change shops will accept at no charge used oil in a safe container for reclamation.
  • Be sure emissions-control devices on your vehicle all work properly. Follow your owner’s manual service recommendations for changing the PCV valve, air and oil filters, and spark plugs. Don’t ignore that “service engine soon” warning light. You could be wasting fuel and your money with an engine problem that could be quickly fixed.
  • Combine trips. A cold engine is less efficient and gets lower mileage than one at normal operating temperatures. Doing several errands on one trip will ensure you get the best mileage for your fuel dollars.
  • If you have an old battery in your garage, recycle it. Nearly all of its components can be reused, and it helps keep lead and acid out of landfills and drinking water. That goes for old tires, too, which are increasingly used in everything from pavement and football fields to power plants.
  • Be careful with gasoline – Flammable and toxic, gasoline also contains benzene, a cancer-causing chemical that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. To protect people and the environment, do not overfill small engines and clean up spills immediately with catlitter or absorbent pads. Store approved containers away from combustible materials. Do not use gasoline or kerosene as a solvent, paint thinner or weed killer.

For tips on how to buy an environmentally friendly car, click here.

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