Honor Earth Day with Eco-Friendly Car Care All Year Long

Did you give Mother Earth a little extra love yesterday? You can help protect the planet all year long by following a few simple strategies when it comes to driving and servicing your vehicle. Along with being good for the environment, these easy-to implement practices will help your car last longer and command a higher resale price.

Take care of your car; take care of the planet.

Take care of your car; take care of the planet.

  • Keep the engine running at peak performance. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in the owner’s manual.
  • Don’t ignore your “Check Engine” light. Today’s vehicles have much cleaner tailpipe emissions than they did 30 years ago, but a poorly running engine or faulty exhaust system will cause your vehicle to pollute much more than it would otherwise.
  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. Not only will you reduce the engine’s effort and, thus, gasoline consumption, your tires will last longer too, saving you money and easing the burden at recycling centers.
  • Have your vehicle’s A/C 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 of these habits guzzle gas. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine. Consolidate daily errands to one trip to eliminate unnecessary driving.
  • Remove excess items from your vehicle. Less weight equals better gas mileage. If you have a roof-top luggage carrier, remove it when you’re not using it to reduce air drag too.
  • Make sure your auto repair shop properly disposes of engine fluids and batteries. Improperly disposed fluids, such as antifreeze can harm pets and wildlife.

Check Your Cabin Air Filter and Breathe Easier

Make Sure Your Cabin Air Filter is Doing Its Job

The air along busy roads and highways contains high levels of soot, smog, dust, and pollen. These harmful pollutants can easily enter your vehicle and aggravate your lungs. Children with “young lungs” are even more sensitive to the effects of air pollution than adults, so it’s important to protect drivers and passengers from breathing dirty air inside the car.

Modern vehicles utilize a cabin air filter to do the job. Cabin air filters trap dust, dirt, and grime from the road and pump clean air into the passenger compartment. Over time, however, your car’s cabin air filter can become clogged and actually multiply the dangers associated with these pollutants. That’s because dirty air comes into your vehicle through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system but has no way to escape once it invades your vehicle.

Types of Cabin Air Filters

Happy Kids in the Car

Make Sure Your Kids are Breathing Clean Air in the Car

While more than 40 million vehicles on the road are equipped with cabin air filtration systems, many drivers have no idea that their vehicle has one, or what purpose it serves. Sometimes, the cabin air filter is referred to by various other names, such as pollen filter, air conditioning filter, interior ventilation filter, and dust filter, which can confuse car owners. If you’re not sure if your vehicle has a cabin air filter, a repair shop technician at Aardvark Automotive can check for you.

When to Change Your Cabin Air Filter

Dirty Cabin Air Filter

Time to Change the Cabin Air Filter (Image from Flickr)

Recommendations on when you should replace your cabin air filter vary by manufacturer. Some say every 12,000 or 15,000 miles, and others say longer. Another factor is how often you drive and where. If you frequently drive in heavy traffic, you could need to replace your filter annually or even more often.

You can also look for signs that you need a new cabin air filter. For example, you may notice reduced air flow from your vents when you turn on the heater or AC, or you may smell a bad odor.

Many people are surprised to see how dirty their cabin air filters are when we remove them from a vehicle. Often, we find leaves, twigs, and insects in addition to dirt and grime.

For more information about cabin air filters, see this article from carcare.org.