Drive into the season

Published on Thu, Oct 9, 2003
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Drive into the season

Several methods of automobile fluid disposal
available throughout county

Oil, antifreeze, wiper fluid and solvents are just some of the chemicals used to maintain cars. Automotive fluids shouldn�t be disposed of in the trash or down the drain, because the hazardous chemicals they contain can threaten the environment. Oil and antifreeze can be recycled and used again, according to ReSources, the Bellingham-based environmental group.

Used motor oil is the largest single source of oil pollution in our country�s water.�An estimated 190 million gallons of motor oil are improperly disposed of each year in the United States and a single pint of spilled oil can create a one-acre slick on surface water and pollute 125,000 gallons of drinking water.

While you�re getting your car ready for winter this fall, make sure your engine oil is recycled.�

In Whatcom County, car owners have three options:�Let your service station recycle the oil for you; take up to five gallons of motor oil or antifreeze to participating recyclers; or set between one and three well-sealed, unbreakable one-gallon containers of used motor oil next to your recycling bins for pick-up.�Just make sure the container is marked �used motor oil.�

Oil isn�t the only hazardous automotive product we need to be concerned about this time of year:� Antifreeze is also dangerous - especially to pets that can be attracted by its sweet smell and poisoned.� Antifreeze that washes into creeks can harm wildlife.

If you�re changing your antifreeze this fall, be sure to capture and recycle it.�

Whatcom County offers several drop-off stations that will accept up to five gallons of used antifreeze for recycling - including the disposal facility at 3505 Airport Drive in Bellingham. Many local automobile service stations will recycle your antifreeze when they service your car.

While you�re checking your antifreeze, take a look at your car battery.�Most have multi-year warranties, so they last a good, long time. When your battery�s time has come, it can be recycled. Trade in your battery at an auto products store for credit towards purchase of your new battery. Or, set the used vehicle battery next to your recycling bins on a dry day for pick-up.

For more information about recycling automotive fluids, call the Whatcom County-sponsored recycling hotline at 676-5723.�Ask for a free copy of �Automotive Waste and the Do-it-Yourselfer,� a short brochure that lists the hazards associated with improper disposal of auto chemicals as well as local recycling opportunities.

Recycle the entire car
The biggest problem most people face when buying a new car is what to do with the used one.�There are three basic options � trading, selling and donating. The latter of which means getting an itemized tax deduction for its true value and helping a favorite charity.

That�s where Cars4Charities comes in. They handle the entire donation process, from start to finish and send the entire net proceeds to the charity you select.�The process is effortless for the donor.�

Owners simply log onto www.cars4charities.org�or call Cars4Charities at 1-866-GIVE-4-US and the vehicle is picked up in a matter of days, free of charge.�Cars4Charities handles all the logistics and provides the donor with all appropriate tax paperwork.�

�This is a great program for people who want to help a charity, but aren�t able to make a significant cash contribution,� says Karen Campese, CEO of Cars4Charities.��They can donate a vehicle they no longer need, support the community and be eligible for a valuable tax deduction.�It�s a win-win situation for everyone.�

Making that new investment last

�Tis the season, well almost. Next month many folks begin to think about holiday shopping. And for some, that means purchasing a new vehicle for that special someone.

An estimated 16.5 million Americans bought or leased a new car in 2003, spending an average of $26,150. For most, buying a car is a serious investment. Fortunately, there are some great gift ideas for car lovers that will help them make their investment last.

Part of making that investment last is keeping up the appearance of the vehicle, which is an important consideration for vehicle owners. In fact, 80 percent of vehicle owners queried in a recent national survey said the appearance of the car they drive is somewhat or very important. So, next time you�re searching for some inspiration, consider some of the following gifts to help the car lover in your life maintain their vehicle�s appearance.

Professional auto detailing. What car lover wouldn�t appreciate some extra attention paid to his or her car? Professional detailing provides a systematic rejuvenation and protection of the various surfaces of a vehicle. The result? The vehicle is returned to as close to showroom condition as possible.

Wash and wax kit. Start by purchasing a large plastic bucket in a bright color (or a color to match the recipient�s car). In it, pack the following key supplies: sponges or wash mitts, car wash/shampoo, glaze (to remove minor scratches), polish, car wax, degreasers, tar/bug removers, chamois cloths, wheel cleaner and brightener.

Interior care kit. Don�t forget about the inside of the vehicle. Interior vinyl, leather and fabrics need special care. For leather surfaces, consider a special cleaner specifically designed to rehydrate and remove the leftover �salts� that accumulate after human perspiration dries. A leather conditioner can be used several times a year to help restore the leather�s lost oils and emollients. For vinyl interiors, choose a vinyl protectant, essential oils and anti-static properties.

Car cover. Using a car cover can protect a car�s exterior finish as well as its interior components, whether the car is parked outside or in a garage. It protects against rain/acid rain, sun/heat damage, tree sap, bird droppings, dust/ dings and even vandalism and theft. Today�s high-tech car cover fabrics are better than ever, providing engineered performance to meet the needs of the user. For a special treat, consider giving a cover custom-fitted to match the exact contours of the recipient�s car, no matter what the model, make, year or aftermarket accessories.

Put more miles in your tank. As the number of car owners hitting the road for vacations rises, so does their desire to reduce travel costs. These 10 tips may help.
� Avoid high speeds. Use cruise control. Increasing your speed uses more fuel.
� Avoid unnecessary idling, it wastes fuel.
� Avoid jackrabbit starts and sudden stops.
� Remove excess weight from the trunk. Extra weight decreases gas mileage.
� Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency.
� Use overdrive gears if you have them. Their use can reduce engine speed and improve fuel consumption.
� Use your air conditioner sparingly. Its use increases gasoline consumption.
� Keep your engine tuned.
� Check and replace air filters regularly. Clean air filters keep impurities in the air from damaging the engine and can improve fuel economy.
� Get gasoline specially formulated to give you better mileage.