BALTIMORE, MD (April 18, 2008) – April is National Car Care Month. During this month motorists especially should be conscious about the environmental and economic benefits of vehicle maintenance. A routine 10 -15 minute inspection may turn up problems that could develop into major repair issues and allow excessive emission of pollutants into the environment and cost a driver more money in gas. When a vehicle is properly maintained the chance of being stranded is reduced, the amount of vehicle pollution is reduced, and the vehicle’s fuel efficiency is increased. Loose gas caps, under inflated tires, faulty thermostats, worn spark plugs, malfunctioning engine controls, poor wheel alignment are among the conditions that cost consumers millions of dollars in wasted fuel daily. Here are some facts about the wasted fuel caused by poor vehicle maintenance:
- Vehicle gas caps – About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
- Under inflated tires – When tires aren’t inflated properly it’s like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
- Worn spark plugs – A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
- Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.
During April many repair shops are offering a free vehicle inspection, keep an eye open for one. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), and Precision Tune Auto Care have teamed up to offer a free Car Care Clinic on Sunday, April 20th from 11am – 2pm at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Washington Boulevard in Halethorpe.
Technicians from Precision Tune will examine your vehicle for proper tire condition/inflation, level/condition of vehicle fluids, and other vehicle maintenance issues. The rain date for this event is the following Sunday, April 27th. Additional Car Care Clinics are currently being planned during the summer throughout the Baltimore Metropolitan area. The dates and locations once finalized, can be found on the Baltimore Metropolitan Council’s website (www.baltometro.org).
If you have any questions on a particular vehicle system, you may visit the National Car Care Council’s website (www.carcare.org). This website offers interactive explanations of vehicle systems and how to maintain them. MDE’s Mobile Sources Control Program also has a pamphlet explaining the many systems of a vehicle and how they should be maintained, for more information please contact MDE’s Mobile Services Control Program at (410) 537-3000 extension x3270.