The average car contains many harmful materials that can cause health problems for humans. These include toxic chemicals, metals, and plastics that can off-gas into the air we breathe. In addition, cars produce a lot of air pollution, which can cause asthma and other respiratory problems.
In this busy world, most families rely on their cars to get around, leaving them susceptible to the harmful materials and air pollution that cars produce. However, there are ways to make your vehicle healthier for you and your family by making simple changes to how you use and care for it. Here are some tips.
1. Keep your car clean inside and out to reduce the number of allergens and bacteria
Cleaning your car regularly helps remove the build-up of allergens, dust, and bacteria that can cause health problems. These pollutants can come from the outside environment and the materials used to make your car.
If you or your children have allergies or asthma, it’s imperative to keep your car clean to reduce your symptoms. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove allergens from the air inside your vehicle. Wipe down surfaces with a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner to remove dust and bacteria.
2. Change your car’s air filter regularly to improve air quality
Your car’s air filter helps remove pollutants from the air before they enter the cabin. A dirty air filter can cause your vehicle to smell musty and make it difficult to breathe. It can also reduce the efficiency of your car’s HVAC system, leading to higher fuel costs.
Check your car’s air filter every 12,000 miles and replace it if it’s dirty. If you live in a dusty area or do a lot of driving in stop-and-go traffic, you may need to change your air filter more often.
3. Opt for clean-burning fuels to reduce emissions
Cars that run on gasoline or diesel produce harmful emissions that cause health problems. These emissions include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.
You can reduce the health risks of these emissions by choosing clean-burning fuels such as natural gas, propane, and electricity. These fuels produce fewer emissions than gasoline or diesel, making them better for your health and the environment.
But if gasoline or diesel is your only option, you can still reduce the health risks of emissions by using a diesel fuel conditioner. This additive helps clean the diesel fuel, reducing the emissions produced by your car.
4. Use less toxic materials when cleaning your car
Many of the products used to clean cars contain toxic chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, and phthalates. These chemicals can off-gas into the air and cause health problems. These can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and pollute the air inside your car.
Choose cleaning products that are less toxic and have a lower VOC (volatile organic compound) level. You can find these products at your local hardware store or online.
5. Don’t smoke in your car to protect yourself and your passengers from secondhand smoke
Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from the end of a burning cigarette and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. It contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including over 70 that can cause cancer. Secondhand smoke is a health hazard for everyone in your car, especially children. It’s been linked to lung cancer, respiratory problems, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
If you smoke, don’t do it in your car. If you must, open the windows and doors to ventilate the smoke. And always keep your ashtray clean to reduce the risk of fire.
6. Open the windows if the weather permits it
Ventilating your car helps to remove pollutants from the air inside the cabin. When you open the windows, outside air comes into the car and helps to dilute the contaminants. This is especially important if you’re using cleaning products or if someone in the car is smoking.
It’s best to open the windows when the weather permits it. While driving, open the windows on the side of the car that’s away from traffic. And when you’re parked, open all the windows to ventilate the cabin.
7. Get your car regularly serviced to reduce emissions
A well-maintained vehicle runs more efficiently and produces fewer emissions. Get your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This includes changing the oil, checking the tire pressure, and having the engine tuned up.
You may also need to get the emissions system serviced depending on your car. This includes the catalytic converter, oxygen sensor, and exhaust gas recirculation system.
8. Consider buying a hybrid or electric car
If you’re in the market for a new car, consider buying a hybrid or electric car. These cars run on electricity and produce little to no emissions. They’re also more fuel-efficient than gasoline-powered cars, which means you’ll save money on gas.
Even when using the family vehicle, your family’s health should be a top priority. By following these tips, you can reduce the health risks associated with car emissions and pollutants and create a healthier environment.