ON THE ROAD
AGAIN ó SUMMER CAR
Written By: Earth Share
Going driving this summer? Summer driving can take its toll on our environment and our health. Ground-level ozone, also called smog, is formed when vehicle emissions mix with sunlight and heat. It can result in lung irritation and breathing difficulty, especially in the summer.
Before you leave home, make sure your car is ready for hot weather. That will ensure that your car works safely and efficiently, costs less to drive, and produces less pollution ó and that your summer travel doesnít take a wrong turn! Here are some tips to keep you sailing safelydown the summer road:
- Check your tires to make sure they can withstand heavy loads and high temperatures. Make sure you have the correct tire pressure in all tires, including the spare. If youíre not sure whatís correct, check the recommendations listed on the side of the driverís door. Also make sure to check that your tires arenít overly worn. If so, you should replace them.
- Make sure your radiator core is in good shape. If you live in a place where they salt the roads in winter, the salt can cause your radiator to become rusty and leaky, and your car to overheat. Have your radiator inspected and tested. Use antifreeze in your radiator, even in the summer. It contains corrosion inhibitors that will help reduce rusting.
- Donít forget to change the oil. This is especially important in the summer because hot weather requires extra lubrication for the engine. If you will be pulling a trailer, use ďsevere dutyĒ oil.
EARTH-SAFE SUMMER DRIVING TIPS
1. Observing the speed limit isnít just a matter of safety and obeying the law, it can also save you money. In highway driving, over half the energy needed to move your car down the road goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag (that is, pushing air out of the way). The faster you go, the greater the drag. Using your air conditioning while driving on the highway can reduce the drag of an open window, improving gas mileage.
2. Anticipating traffic conditions is another good way to increase fuel efficiency. Nearly half the energy needed to power your vehicle in the city goes to acceleration. Unnecessary braking wastes that energy. Avoiding extreme acceleration reduces unneeded braking and can improve fuel economy by up to 10%.
3. Avoid idling. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a lengthy wait. Instead of idling at a drive-up window, park the car and go in. Idling burns more gas than restarting the engine.
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