January 8, 2019
In winter, many motorists wonder if they need to let their vehicle "warm up" or idle before driving. In fact, today’s modern cars are ready to drive in cold temperatures without excessive idling, says the Car Care Council.
The idea of idling before driving dates back to when cars were built with carburetors. With new fuel injection technology, complex computer systems and thinner synthetic oils, drivers don’t need to warm up their cars before hitting the road.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "When a car idles for more than 30 seconds, it has several negative effects such as increasing air pollution unnecessarily, wasting fuel and money, and causing excessive wear or even damaging a car’s engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system. Contrary to popular belief, idling isn’t an effective way to warm up most car engines."
"Unless you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car, idling is not required for today’s vehicles," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "In most cases, idling longer than 30 seconds is unnecessary, even on the coldest days. The best way to warm up your car’s engine is to drive gently at the start. Remember, a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when idling and the result is lower fuel economy and wasted money."
The non–profit Car Care Council has a free 80–page Car Care Guide for motorists that features several pages of fuel economy and environmental awareness tips. Available in English and Spanish, the popular guide uses easy to understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and can be ordered free of charge by visiting www.carcare.org/car–care–guide.
The non–profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.
It doesn’t matter if the car you’re driving is new or old, big or small. There are preventive maintenance steps every vehicle owner can take to make sure their car is as"green" or environmentally friendly as possible, according to the Car Care Council.
By following a few simple preventive maintenance steps, you can help protect the environment by improving gas mileage which in turn saves money at the pump.
A properly maintained vehicle can improve its efficiency, reduce emissions and save you money. Regular engine performance maintenance will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent car trouble down the line. This will include checking the spark plugs, replacing the fuel and air filters, replacing ignition system and/or emission system parts if needed and ensuring the onboard computer control system is working properly.
Improve gas mileage by 4% on a proper tune-up and up to 40% when fixing a serious maintenance problem such as a faulty oxygen sensor. Worn or fouled spark plugs can cause the engine to lose power or misfire and waste fuel.
How you drive has a lot to do with fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Minimize unnecessary miles by combining errands in one trip. Drive wisely and minimize unnecessary miles by consolidating errands, getting good directions and avoiding excessive idling. Other guidelines to follow include:
Get the junk out of the trunk and the stuff out of your car with the exception of emergency items such as a spare tire and a first aid kit. Extra items weigh the vehicle down and cause an increase in gas usage.
An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a"rich" mixture that causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter will improve your car’s performance and acceleration, but not miles per gallon. The air filter should be inspected at each oil change, and replaced annually or when restricted, torn, water or oil soaked.
A vehicle can have four, six or eight spark plugs which fire as many as three million times every 1,000 miles. This result is a lot of heat, electrical, and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug also causes misfiring which wastes fuel.
A cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold will lower the fuel efficiency of a car by as much as one or two mpg. There also are improved radiator caps on the market today that allow the cooling system to operate at a higher temperature before boiling over, increasing the system’s efficiency and reducing emissions.
Proper tire pressure can improve gas mileage by 3.3 percent or 10 cents per gallon.
Tire pressure should be checked at least monthly, including the spare. Tires that are not properly inflated add rolling resistance that makes the engine work harder to move the vehicle. Remember, tires can lose pressure due to seasonal temperature changes. According to the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association, a tire can lose up to half of its inflation pressure and not appear to be flat. Optimal tire pressure for your vehicle is listed in the owner’s manual or on the car door sidewall.
Check your vehicle’s gas cap. A loose, cracked or damaged gas cap allows gas to escape from your tank as a vapor, wasting fuel and increasing vehicle emissions. It’s also wasting your gas money
When filling up your car, remember to stop when the nozzle shuts off! Topping off the gas tank can release harmful vapors into the environment and waste money. Remember, your tank needs some extra room to allow the gasoline to expand. Some pumps engineered to protect the environment draw extra vapors back into the pump meaning you pay for more gas than you are getting, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The A/C system should be inspected annually, during which a technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures. Use the window to help keep the car cool.
By properly maintaining your vehicle’s fuel system, such as replacing your car’s fuel filter every two years or 24,000 miles and having your fuel injectors flushed our every 30,000 miles, you will not only have a cleaner,‘greener’ car, but you will save money at the pump."
Emission systems control a vehicle’s emissions, exhaust and pollutants using an array of sensors, computerized engine controls and the exhaust components. Emission systems substantially reduce harmful gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and prevent harmful gasoline vapors from escaping at the fuel tank. Your car’s emission system keeps the engine running cleanly and efficiently in all sorts of operating conditions. Keeping it in proper working condition can save money and protect the environment. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve gas mileage by 40%!
Maintain and repair your car as outlined in the council’s Car Care Guide – The guide helps drivers understand their car, the care it needs, and when it needs it and why. Single copies of the free guide may be ordered on the Car Care Council Web site.