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Hitting the Road: Eco-Friendly Winter Car Tips

Posted on January 20, 2018 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

Conventional methods of dealing with harsh, winter season driving include using a variety of toxic chemicals. Try these eco-friendly winter car tips that do less harm to people and planet.

Better Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a byproduct of winter that many do not realize can be replaced with a greener alternative.

Old antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is very dangerous, capable of injuring pets and children due to its bright color and sweet taste. It should be completely removed from your radiator and recycled.

Replace with propylene glycol antifreeze, a far less toxic alternative that is even found in some foods as well as health and beauty aids.

Note: Switching antifreeze should be discussed beforehand with a mechanic that understands the workings of your particular vehicle.

Fight the Fog

Naturally stop your windows from fogging due to extreme inside/outside temperature changes by using a saltwater and vinegar solution (1:3). Dip in a sponge and rub on the outside of your windows before driving to safely fight the fog.

For other natural window cleaning choices look for N-13 ammonia-free products as well as natural streak-free window glass cleaners.

Snow Away

A simple way to clear the snow and ice from around your car is by shoveling and then sprinkling rock salt or urea-based de-icers throughout the area.

However, it is estimated that,

“The heavy use of road salts can lead to damage to vegetation, to organisms in soil, to birds, and to other wildlife. Almost all chloride ions from road salts eventually find their way into waterways, whether by direct run-off into surface water or by moving through the soil and groundwater.” (Green Venture)

If you must use road salt, look for those containing calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) or potassium acetate (KAc) which are less toxic. Otherwise, try these snow melting alternatives:

Brick Sand - Brick sand, which can be purchased at your local building supply store, is coarser, and more granular enabling it to work faster than regular sand. Plus, it offers excellent traction and has a low albedo which means it can absorb sunlight and melt snow faster.

Ash - Wood burned ash from a fireplace can also be used to melt snow. It too provides traction and has a low albedo.

Cat Litter - You can use new or old (strained) cat litter to melt snow as well. This material offers high traction. Keep a bag in your trunk for getting out of stuck-in-the-snow situations.

Electric Mat - The Ice-Away Snow Melt Mat works great for cars parked in a driveway surrounded by snow. Simply set it up before snowfall and turn it on when the white begins. It’s durable, inexpensive to operate and is designed to be left out in harsh weather all season long.

Go Pro Wash

Many people think that washing their own car is a better alternative to professional car washes. In reality, it is more expensive, wasteful and toxic to wash your own car. A car wash uses about 40 gallons of water per car while filtering and recycling it as well (5 minutes of garden hose use releases about 63 gallons). They also remove salt and debris from the undercarriage which can reduce corrosion. This winter (and beyond) use a car wash instead.

This Eco-friendly winter car advice is a small example of the few efforts you can make to create a clean, green, less toxic season.


This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eco Travel and was tagged with NON-TOXIC, winter travel

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