Tips for Vehicle Maintenance, Stormwater Health
Did you know taking care of your car can help take care of our water?
When it comes to routine car maintenance, you don’t have to spend a ton to keep up with recommendations. The internet is your friend - AutoMD or ExpertVillage are great resources for DIY guides and videos. Remember, not all cars are created equal. When doing your own work, make sure your guide matches your type of car, and if necessary, invest in your car’s official manual. If you’d rather have someone else do the work, RepairPal allows you to check local outlets and compare costs.
CAR LEAKS: Perform routine car checks to look for leaks and areas of concern. Any leaks should be cleaned up right away. Cat litter works great for absorption. Put the cat litter on the leaked material, after absorption, sweep up the cat litter, put into a sealable bag and dispose of it in the trash. Do not scrub driveways with detergents to wash away leaks, this allows the pollutants to drain right into storm drains and straight into our lakes and streams!
CAR MAINTENANCE: Regular tune-ups help cars run more smoothly and burn less fuel. A tuned-up car saves you money by using up to 20% less fuel! It also reduces harmful chemicals that come out of exhaust pipes that get into our water.
CAR WASHES: Take your car to a commercial car wash or spray booth. Not only does the dirt and grime on cars cause pollutant issues, but detergents used in cleaning, can also harm our water quality. Commercial washes have the equipment to deal with these potential problems before they enter our water ways. If washing your car at home, be sure to drive onto a permeable surface, such as your lawn, where the water and cleaning solution can be filtered through the land.
RECYCLE MOTOR OIL: Old motor oil can be reprocessed and used again, and again. Put it in a sealable container and take it to a location that recycles oil - check your local auto shops. Cambridge Automotive, off of Main Street, will take old motor oil to be recycled. Recycling is the only safe way to get rid of used motor oil. Five quarts of oil from your car could create an oil slick the size of two football fields and pollute a million gallons of drinking water!
RECYCLE ANTIFREEZE: Check your local automotive or gas station locations to see if they collect antifreeze, such as Cambridge Automotive. You can also check local gas stations or auto repair shops if they accept used antifreeze. Never put antifreeze down the drain. Antifreeze is a dangerous poison to animals and people and can cause problems for sewage treatment plants and our water network. Only three ounces of antifreeze is enough to fatally harm an adult.
PAINTS, POLISHES, CLEANERS: These are highly flammable and toxic materials. Try to buy only what you need, and either donate the rest or dispose of appropriately. Leftovers can be brought to a hazardous materials center, such as Chisago County Household Hazardous Waste Facility. To dispose of very small amounts, if the material is completely hardened, the capped container can be disposed of in a normal trash bin. The toxic ingredients are locked into the hardened material and are less likely to cause pollution.