Monday, November 5, 2012

Becoming an Eco-Driver: Green Car Maintenance Even Your Local Mechanic May Not Know

Becoming an eco-conscious driver doesn’t only mean you have to trade-in your old four-door sedan for an electric or hybrid model. Sometimes the greenest thing you can do is make your current car last for as long as you can. One way to help the car you already have earn its status as the environmentally-friendly vehicle that you’ve always wanted it to be is to find green alternatives to some of the most common car maintenance procedures. Here are just five green car maintenance alternatives that even your local mechanic may not know about.

  1. Oil changes – According to Eric Wilson of, “Choose a re‐refined oil or one made from bio-based animal by-products. Both are API approved and last up to 24,000 miles when matched with our dual stage oil filter.” Using these types of recycled motor oils can increase fuel economy up to five percent and can last twice as long as normal filters and decrease oil use by 70 percent, according to their site.

  2. Leaking tires – He also writes, instead of filling under-inflated tires with air, to find a place that will fill them with nitrogen. This change will cause leakage to happen slower because nitrogen molecules are larger, making them harder to leak. And since properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency, nitrogen-filled tires may improve your car’s average gas mileage over time. Look around for service garages that offer nitrogen filled tires, but don’t overpay. Ten dollars per tire will more than cancel out any possible savings on fuel.

  3. Low or no VOC paint – Paints with low volatile organic compound levels will always be safer for you and the environment than their highly toxic counterparts. So, if you’re thinking about touching up some rust spots or giving your car a new coat or color, consider using low or no VOC paint to do the job.

  4. Windshield wipers – Did you know you can actually buy recyclable windshield wipers? Many windshield wipers are partially recyclable, but now manufacturers are making fully recyclable blades so nothing gets left in a landfill.

  5. Windshield wiper fluid – Most windshield wiper fluid is made from methanol, also known as methyl alcohol and wood alcohol according to If ingested, this highly toxic chemical can be dangerous and even deadly. But companies are beginning to produce fluid without methanol as its base. These plant-derived products may have a higher freezing point but are just as effective.

When it comes to eco-friendly car maintenance, the products aren’t the only things going green. Jennifer Alsever, an contributor, explains how shop owners around the country are aiming for a new level of environmentalism not only to benefit their customers, but also their bottom line. She reports that, “Shop owners say that by going green they can cut operating costs, reduce waste disposal costs, cut long-term liability and improve employee health.” It’s a win-win situation and the options really are endless when it comes to green car maintenance alternatives in today’s car market.

So, become an eco-conscious driver and take care of the planet as you take care of your car. Whether you’re looking for a new auto loan to buy a brand new fuel-efficient car or a used car loan for an eco-friendly car that’s a few years old, there are a number of financing options for you. Or, if you’ve decided to stick with the car you’ve already got, consider an auto refinance to help you save money on your existing loan. It could save you more money to use on your next green car maintenance trip.

1 comment:

  1. Nice tips! - but I have my doubts about filling with nitrogen: after all, air IS mostly (80%) nitrogen. I mean, by that argument, you should be filling your tires with carbon dioxide: CO2 is an even larger molecule than N2. There's a novel carbon capture scheme for you!

    Seriously, what I do believe in: buy a bike pump adapter (about $2), put that on your tire valve, attach your bike pump (you do have one, right?), get exercise while keeping your tires at the right pressure. One great way to warm up on a nippy day.


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