Vehicle maintenance tips

  • Regular tune-ups: A poorly tuned engine can consume an average of 10% more fuel. One poorly tuned vehicle can emit pollutants equivalent to 20 properly tuned vehicles.
  • Check tire pressure: Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency. Each 5% of under-inflation translates into a 1% decrease in fuel efficiency. Under-inflation of 20% will reduce the life of your tire by about 15%.
  • Maintain wheel alignment: Make sure wheels are aligned and balanced, and ball joints or constant velocity joints are lubricated.
  • Maintain braking systems: Dragging brakes can decrease fuel efficiency by up to 40%.
  • Clean or replace air filters and spark plugs: Clean filters and effective spark plugs help keep fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions down.
  • Have your idle mixture and idle speed adjusted: On vehicles built prior to 1987, adjusting idle speed according to vehicle specifications can decrease greenhouse gas emissions during idling.
  • Have your catalytic converter replaced or serviced regularly.
  • Have your oxygen sensor checked: Vehicles made in 1988 or after should have the oxygen sensor checked regularly. When this sensor malfunctions, the computer could increase the fuel ration to burn more fuel and thus increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Replace or service the EGR valve: The exhaust gas recirculator (EGR) valve reduces a variety of greenhouse gases.
  • Use a timed block heater: In the winter, you can improve fuel efficiency from 8 to 23% by using a block heater at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. Set the timer to turn the block heater on about 2.5 hours before you plan to start your vehicle. Avoid plugging the vehicle in overnight.

These maintenance tips were compiled from Ontario’s Drive Clean Program and Climate Change Solutions web site.

(Update: The Climate Change Solutions web site was taken down on March 31, 2006 because much of the information it contained had become too outdated. The Pembina Institute launched a new website detailing their work on climate change. It provides easy access to climate change publications and media releases, and presents options for taking personal action.