When was your car’s last tune up? Maintaining vehicles is better for efficiency

Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, contributed to this blog.

Kate Tracy and Amy Rawe | July 1, 2019 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency

Today marks the mid-point of the year (can you believe 2019 is officially half way over?) so it’s as good a time as any to make sure your vehicle has recently had a regular service check to insure your vehicle is safe and efficient.* Through regular “tune-ups,” your vehicle should reach the best mileage and lowest emissions it can achieve without any major additions to the vehicle – saving you money and reducing air pollution for everyone!

Regular service to a vehicle should include:

Checking tire pressure: For all vehicles on the road – electric vehicles, gasoline powered cars or hybrids – inflating to proper tire pressure is an easy way to get more mileage from your vehicle. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure for proper inflation, listed in the vehicle owner’s manual.

Regular oil changes: For those driving gasoline-powered cars, having an oil change every 5,000 miles (or as your manufacturer recommends) makes sure your vehicle’s engine is well lubricated and cooled, resulting in more efficient fuel combustion. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommended oil for proper viscosity, listed in the vehicle owner’s manual.

Changing spark plugs: The key to combustion in a gas-powered engine, spark plugs should be changed every 20,000 – 30,000 miles, depending on the make/model of your car and your plugs. A good spark plug means better combustion of fuel inside the engine, resulting in fewer emissions and more miles-per-gallon.

Replacing the oxygen sensor: The oxygen sensor in your vehicle monitors the amount of oxygen in the exhaust, and tells the engine to either add or reduce the amount of fuel being used. A good oxygen sensor maintains a proper fuel/ air mixture in the engine’s combustion chamber, and reduces emissions and increases mileage. Oxygen sensors could be replaced anywhere from 30,000 -100,000 miles, depending on the year of your vehicle.

Emissions testing: Most major cities perform emissions testing on vehicles, although sometimes these tests are not mandatory. Having your vehicle’s emissions analyzed is an indicator on how well the engine is performing, and if the oxygen sensor may need replacing. Emissions testing is a great way to inform the driver on what impact the vehicle is having on air quality.

When you you take small steps to keep up with the maintenance of your vehicle, the long term benefits outweigh the short term costs. A well maintained car means that your engine needs less energy to run because it’s processing the energy/gas you put into it more efficiently and thus, it will save you money on fuel expenses.Therefore, you’ll use less energy and save more money!

When you’re thinking of upgrading your car after properly maintaining it and enjoying it for years, consider moving away from a fossil-fueled car that furthers our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and instead, embrace an electric vehicle! Learn about how electric vehicles save you time, money, and are just more fun to drive at ElectrifyTheSouth.org.

#UseLessSaveMore #DriveElectric #ElectrifyTheSouth

* All vehicle maintenance should be performed by or under the supervision of a trained automotive technician.

Kate Tracy
This blog was written by a former staff member of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
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