How to Be Greener with Your Vehicle

Green is all the rage these days, but it’s not just a fad, or a buzz word. Being environmentally responsible and conscious is incredibly important in 2018, as pollution becomes more severe, and climate change becomes a bigger problem. Cars are a leader in pollution, and carbon emissions, so it’s extra important to become environmentally aware and responsible with our vehicles.

The automotive world has made enormous environmental strides, with technologies that allow vehicles to be wildly more efficient, and less reliant on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, we can’t all afford a new Tesla, so for many people, being environmentally responsible with their vehicle requires a little bit of creativity, rather than just heading to the dealership.

That said, there are a lot of ways – both big and small – that you can be greener with your vehicle. From little tricks and tips, to green products and accessories, there are a multitude of ways to be kinder to the environment, while still utilizing your car. Of course, there’s no substitute for driving less, or driving an environmentally friendly car, but that’s not always a feasible solution. When it isn’t, try utilizing some of these tricks and tips, to make sure that you and your car are doing everything possible to keep the world happy and healthy.

Use Green Cleaners

The substances that most people use to wash their car – both the interior and exterior – are generally horrible for the environment. Commercial cleaners are full of dangerous chemicals, that are then washed away and end up on the road, in the woods, in the ocean, or wherever. Commercial cleaners also use far too much water, which is problematic in its own right.

By using environmentally friendly exterior soap and interior cleaners, you can reduce your water waste, and limit the amount of harmful chemicals that are being released into nature. Furthermore, always wash your vehicle by hand when you can, rather than relying on an automatic car wash. Automatic car washes rely on very large amounts of both water and dangerous chemicals, so doing the job yourself can greatly benefit the environment. We’ve found that green cleaners are just as effective as any commercial ones that you would find at your local auto parts store.

Follow a Routine Maintenance Schedule

Having your car maintained with regularity doesn’t sound like something that should benefit the environment. However, it greatly does! If you follow a regular maintenance schedule, you reduce the chance that harmful and dirty emissions will be released into the atmosphere.

Furthermore, regular maintenance can help you spot a problem with your vehicle (such as an oil or fluid leak) quickly, and resolve it before it does too much damage to the environment. One of the greenest things you can do with your vehicle is make sure that it’s running well at all times, so always follow your routine maintenance schedule.

Get Green with Your Windshield Cleaner

Just as with your exterior and interior cleaners, commercial windshield wiper fluid is usually full of harmful toxins and dangerous chemicals. When you use your wiper fluid to wash your windshield, all of the environmentally unfriendly substances are wiped right off of your car, and released into the world.

Thankfully, there are a lot of green substitutes for windshield wiper fluid. Many companies now sell environmentally friendly windshield cleaners, which work wonderfully. Other companies sell tablets which you simply drop into your wiper fluid reservoir after filling it up with plain water. Alternatively, you can make your own wiper fluid. We recommend a mixture of three parts water, to one part household window cleaner (if you live in warm weather), or three parts water, to one part distilled vinegar (if you live in cold weather). Whatever option you choose, this is a quick, easy, and affordable way to make your car a lot greener.

Add Some Solar Accessories

Most people rely on a lot of accessories in their vehicle, to make their driving more fun and bearable. But good news! Many of these accessories can be solar-powered, thus eliminating the energy output required to use them, and with it, the environmental harm. You can purchase solar powered chargers for your smart phones, solar powered flash lights and book lights to store in your car, and myriad other things. Whatever electronics you rely on when you’re in your vehicle, chances are you can find a way to power them using nothing but sunlight. The result is much, much better for the environment. Plus, we think they usually look pretty cool!

Take Advantage of Bamboo Car Accessories

Bamboo is a very environmentally substance. Because of its makeup, it can replace a lot of fabrics such as vinyl and cloth, yet it’s just wood, rather than being a synthetic material. Wood is a lot better for the world than synthetic materials, especially when the time comes to get rid of the product.

Bamboo car accessories are becoming more and more popular. The largest, and therefore greenest bamboo accessory available on the market is car seats. Bamboo children’s car seats are becoming more and more popular, as they offer all of the practicality, comfort, and safety of a standard car seat, with the green impact of using bamboo. Other bamboo offerings, such as air fresheners, are becoming more and more popular.

We’re big fans of bamboo, and think that it’s not only more environmentally friendly than its synthetic counterparts, but a lot better quality as well. Be it for aesthetics, comfort, quality, or environmental impact, you really can’t go wrong with bamboo automotive accessories.

Have Your Automotive Substances Properly Discarded

When you don’t have a use for something anymore, it’s pretty standard to throw it away. This is what most people do with objects that are at the end of their lives. However, when it comes to cars, this is emphatically not the approach you should be taking. Most parts and deposits from vehicles are wildly harmful to the environment, and you should not simply through them away as you would an old sock or some moldy food.

Instead, contact your local auto parts store, your trusted mechanic, or a specialist store to see how you can dispose of things that came from your car. Be it damaged parts, motor oil, or used tires, most automotive components can be disposed of in greener ways than simply dumping them in the trash. We advocate always asking your mechanics what to do with useless parts and fluids, so that you always know the best tips and techniques for getting rid of harmful products.

Drive Your Car Responsibly

It can be fun to hop in your car, and pretend you’re Dale Earnhardt Jr., or Danica Patrick. But, if you’re concerned with being environmentally friendly, you probably shouldn’t do that. Accelerating quickly means you burn more fuel, and braking hard generally has the same impact. Being heavy with any of your pedals means you’ll experience diminished fuel economy, which is much worse for the environment.

Taking turns quickly and dramatically is also bad for the environment, as it burns through the rubber on your tires more quickly, forcing constant replacements. Rubber is not a very sustainable product, so tire replacements are not very green. Drive responsibly and you’ll not only be safer, but you’ll be friendlier to the environment, as well. And yes, we know that’s not always as fun; but there’s a time and a place for everything!  

Replace Your Air Filters Regularly

Simply put, a dirty air filter keeps your car from being able to run as healthily and smoothly as it should. With a dirty air filter, your engine cannot get as much air, which means it cannot run very efficiently, which means it burns fuel at a higher rate, which means you get much worse gas mileage.

Every time you have your oil changed, ask to have your air filter inspected. Air filters are a very affordable replacement, so make sure to have a new one put in as soon as your old one is too dirty to function properly. The environment will thank you for it, as will your car!

Keep Your Weight Down

The heavier your car, the more of a burden is placed on the engine. The more your engine has to work, the less efficient it is going to be. To improve the efficiency of your vehicle – and therefore the greenness of it – make sure that your car is never carrying excessive loads. If you’re transporting heavy objects, get them out of your car as soon as you possibly can. Don’t just leave a few hundred extra pounds in your car for your engine to lug around unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Microfiber Towels

Whether you perform rigorous home repairs on your vehicle, or merely check the oil every few weeks, you should buy some microfiber towels, and phase out your paper towels. Paper towels, which cannot be reused, are very harmful for the environment. Microfiber towels, on the other hand, are somewhat sustainable, and last a very long time. If you replace all of the paper towels in your garage with microfiber towels, you’ll immediately be doing your part to make the world a greener place. Plus, we find that microfiber towels are a lot more comfortable and nice to use, so that’s an added bonus.

Summary

Being environmentally friendly with your vehicle isn’t just about spending a lot of money on an electric or gas-electric vehicle. None of these tips has quite the same impact as buying a Prius or a Tesla, but when it comes to being environmentally friendly, every little bit helps. No trick is too small to employ when it comes to being the greenest driver you can be.

Of course, in addition to these tips, it’s important to always be alert of how much you’re using your car. Try not to drive any more than you have to, and don’t leave your car parked, with the engine running for long periods of time. When you can, try walking, biking, taking public transportation, or carpooling with a friend or family member. There may be a lot of cars on the road causing a lot of harmful emissions, and you may think that your contributions are insignificant, but every little bit helps make the world a healthier place.

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