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When you care for your car, You care for the air

From the Texas Natural Resources Commission

What’s the problem?

Air pollution is the problem. Air pollution can cause health problems, particularly for children and those who already suffer from respiratory illnesses.

A major contributor to air pollution is the exhaust from all of our cars and trucks. All over Texas vehicles contribute as much as half of the harmful air emissions that create air pollution.

One vehicle in bad repair can produce 28 times as much pollution as one vehicle in good repair.

Why should I care?

A badly maintained vehicle –

  • takes money out of your wallet. It gets poor gas mileage so you spend more for gas.
  • harms your health. Air pollution causes respiratory problems and can lead to permanent lung damage, which can mean more trips to the doctor and higher medical costs.
  • harms the environment by contributing to air pollution.

What can I do?

  • Maintain your vehicle
  • Change your oil and oil filter regularly.
  • Keep your tire pressure and alignment correct – low tire pressure can waste up to 5 percent of a tank of gas.
  • Change your fuel filter and air filter according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Monitor hoses, wiring, and belts.
  • Give your vehicle regular tune-ups according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • If a warning light comes on, find out why and fix the problem.

 

Common Causes of Vehicle Smoke

Gasoline Engines
Type of Smoke
Diagnosis
Probable Causes
White
(if occurring during normal, prolonged engine operation)Note: White smoke may appear during only the first few seconds after engine start up. This is normal.
Coolant or water leaking into combustion chamber
  • Bad head gasket
  • Cracked block or cylinder head
Blue
(lasting more than 10 seconds)
Engine oil being burned
  • Oil leaking into combustion chamber
  • Worn piston rings, valves, or cylinders
  • Bad exhaust manifold
  • Bad head gasket
Black or Gray
(lasting more than 10 seconds)Note: Black or gray smoke may appear during only the first few seconds after engine start up. This is normal.
Incomplete fuel combustion
  • Clogged air filter
  • Carburetor, choke, fuel injection, or emission system malfunction
  • Ignition timing off
  • Low compression due to engine wear
Diesel Engines
White
(if occurring during normal, prolonged engine operation)Note: White smoke may appear during only the first few seconds after engine start; up. This, is normal.
Improper air/fuel mixture
  • Faulty fuel injection system
  • Incorrect fuel injection and valve timing
  • Engine overheating
  • Faulty fuel pump and/or injection pump
Blue
(lasting more than 10 seconds)
Engine oil being burned
  • Excess engine oil
  • Worn piston rings, valves or cylinders
Black or Gray
(lasting more than 10 seconds)Note: Black or gray smoke may appear during only the first few seconds after engine start up. This is normal.
Incomplete fuel combustion
  • Damaged air filter
  • Faulty fuel injection system
  • Clogged air filter
  • Wrong grade of fuel
  • Incorrect fuel injection pump timing
  • Engine overheating
  • Low compression ratio

If smoke comes out of your vehicle’s tailpipe, repair the vehicle

  • If tailpipe smoke from ANY light-duty gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle is visible for more than 10 consecutive seconds, the vehicle is in violation of Texas regulations established to safeguard air quality.
  • Different colors of smoke mean different engine problems. Use the “Common Causes of Vehicle Smoke” table to help you diagnose your vehicle’s problem.

Be a good driver

  • Get out and go in – don’t let your engine idle for more than a minute (like in a drive-thru line), because that produces more pollution than starting the vehicle again.
  • Drive smoothly and avoid jack-rabbit starts, which use up to 50 percent more gas than smooth starts.
  • Refuel your vehicle after dark, when groundlevel ozone, a major component of air pollution, is least likely to form.
  • Don’t top off your tank, and make sure your gas cap fits to reduce gasoline emissions that contribute to air pollution.
  • Travel light – hauling an extra 100 pounds can raise gas consumption by 1 percent.

Consider joining a car pool or riding the bus.

  • Work at home on Ozone Action Days or Air Pollution Watch/Warning Days.
  • Travel at moderate speeds because your vehicle pollutes less when driven at 55 mph than at 65 or 70 mph.
  • Think about where you’re driving, why, and when
  • Emissions and fuel consumption increase with the number of miles driven and number of trips taken. Here are ways to cut down.
  • Make Fewer Trips. Whenever possible, drive to a central location and park, then walk to your various destinations. You save money and reduce pollution by taking fewer trips.
  • Plan Your Trips. Your car emits far more pollution in the first few minutes of operation than after it’s warmed up, so group errands and visits into a single trip. Also try to drive during off-peak, nonrush-hours so you spend less time on the road.
  • Delay Your Trips. If an air pollution warning or watch is in effect or it is an Ozone Action Day, consider waiting until air quality is better before driving.

Report smoking vehicles by calling 1-800-453- SMOG or report online at www.smokingvehicle.org

Learn more about doing your share for cleaner air at www.cleantexasair.org

Tags: Pollution