The reality is that, despite great strides in the design of eco cars, they’re never going to be truly environmentally friendly. For people with an environmental conscience, it becomes a question of cutting down on the massive impact that our dependence on gas-guzzling, fume-spewing vehicles has created at the expense of the planet. Even if you can’t afford to buy a new eco ca r, you can still minimize the impact of running a car with eco friendly alternatives to conventional maintenance.
From basic cleaning to engine maintenance, there are a variety of green options you can bring on board. The simplest place to begin is with green cleaning products for keeping body work in tip-top, shiny shape, and maintaining upholstery and interior fittings. There are plenty of eco-friendly detergents and cleaners that aren’t laden with unpleasant chemicals – or you can have a go at making your own.
We all have substances in our kitchen cupboards that are far more environmentally friendly for cleaning than conventional detergents. These are just as good for cleaning and maintaining your car as they are in the home. Two of the top green cleaning substances are plain old baking soda and household vinegar.
Vinegar is especially handy for green cleaning. Use white vinegar – preferably a brand that is organically grown and locally produced, not flown in from thousands of miles away. You can start by replacing your windscreen cleaner with a white vinegar and water mix. Not only will your vinegar-based wiper wash give you a streak-free windscreen finish but it’s also a natural, mild anti-freeze solution, if you live in an area with severe winters. It’s also an economical general purpose wash for the bodywork of your car.
Vinegar will also come to the rescue when dealing with your car’s internal parts and systems. Did you know that you can flush your radiator with a half and half vinegar and water solution? Flush through and then wash it out with plain water to shift the muck and chemical build up in your radiator. It’s the green solution to that hugely toxic, and relatively expensive antifreeze that we’ve become accustomed to.
Baking soda mixed with vinegar will also strip off build up on engine parts, from steel hub caps to engine parts. Add the baking soda to the vinegar till it starts to bubble. Soak the parts in the mixture and you’ll end up with gleaming results, all achieved without lashing out pots of money or using corrosive and environmentally harmful chemical concentrates. (Note that baking soda isn’t recommended for cleaning aluminium, but it’s great for other metals).
Because vinegar and baking soda, separately or combined, clean gently, you’ll find all sorts of applications for them. If your car won’t start you may need to clean the battery terminals. A teaspoon of baking soda in 30 ml of water will do the job. It’s perfect for removing metal tarnish and you won’t have to worry about burning your hands or car with corrosive ingredients.
Eco cars aren’t only the latest hybrids and electrical vehicle; a vehicle that’s maintained on ecological principles is the next best thing.