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

Jennifer Rennicks | July 2, 2018 | Clean Transportation, Energy Efficiency

Yesterday marked the mid-point of the year (can you believe 2018 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:

“Celebrate My Drive: Check Your Tire Pressure” by State Farm is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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 the 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.

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

Jennifer Rennicks
Jennifer joined the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2006 as federal policy manager and now directs policy and communication efforts of SACE and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action…
My Profile