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Once you have made the decision to GO Green with your car, there are many maintenance tips that will help you stay on the right course.
* Keep your tires properly inflated. Tires should be inflated to the pressure recommended for your vehicle; this information is often printed inside the door frame or in your owner's manual. For every 3 pounds below recommended pressure, fuel economy goes down by about 1 percent. Tires can lose about 1 pound of pressure in a month, so check the air pressure regularly and always before going on a long trip or carrying heavy loads. Under-inflated tires can also detract from handling, safety, and how long the tires will last.
* Buy low-rolling-resistance (LRR) replacement tires. Switching to a typical set of replacement tires lowers a vehicle's fuel economy as much as 4 percent. LRR tires, on the other hand, are specially designed to improve a vehicle's fuel economy. Most major tire manufacturers now produce LRR models, so when it comes time to replace your tires, seek out a set of LRRs.
* Check your own fuel economy every few weeks. If you notice it slipping, that could mean you have a minor problem with the engine or your brakes. Using this advance warning, you can fix problems before you have a breakdown on the road.
* Get a tune-up. Whether you do it yourself or go to a mechanic, a tune-up can increase your fuel economy. Follow owner's manual guidelines. Be sure to check for worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, and low transmission fluid; have your wheels aligned and tires rotated; and replace the air filter if needed. Make sure all used vehicle fluids are recycled or disposed of safely.
* Change the oil. In addition to making your car or truck last longer, replacing the oil and oil filter regularly will also help fuel economy. Check your owner's manual for specific recommendations about how often to change. Ask the service station if they recycle used oil, or if you do it yourself, take your old oil to someplace that does recycle. Ask for recycled oil as a replacement.
* Have your vehicle's emission control system checked periodically. Take it in for service if an instrument panel warning light comes on.
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