Is Your Car Begging to Be Green?

Dale Bertram
February 24, 2012

Helllllooooo? Yea, I’m talkin’ to you!

I may not be the newest car on the block, but I have needs, too. All I hear blasting out of the radio you listen to all the time is how bad the economy is. I hear you tell your friends that you would gladly get rid of me for a “greener” model if only the economy would turn around.

I’ve never been so hurt or so insulted.

I’ve given you the best years of my life, but with a little tender loving care, I can give you a lot more if you would take the time to make me greener. Just think … together we can improve the environment and your bank account. What a win-win situation!

Here’s what we need to do. First off, drive me over to the service and repair shop, one that is clearly marked as a “green station.” They know exactly what I need. The techs can check out my battery, charging and starting system; engine mechanical; powertrain control (hey, don’t forget that onboard diagnostic check thing they do); fuel; ignition; and emissions. This alone can improve my gas mileage by 4 percent! Oh, and I’d like my oxygen sensor checked, too, just to be safe. That can improve my gas mileage up to 40 percent!

I suggest the techs look at my filters while they are at it. A clogged filter can bring down my fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent … that’s 15 cents a gallon to you! I also want my spark plugs checked out so we can make sure they are firing properly. Misfires waste fuel, ya know?

My cooling system can also cause me to boil over if it isn’t in top form. I really can’t stand that. Think about it … I’m sitting on the side of the road with steam coming out of my hood … so embarrassing. The other cars drive by and look at me like I’m such a loser and their drivers honk at me if I have the misfortune of boiling over and causing a traffic jam! And you know what else? It wastes fuel and raises my emissions.

Last, but not least, have the techs look at my tires. They are, after all, all that comes between me and the pavement. If they are over-inflated, it makes me less fuel efficient. If they are under-inflated—same scenario. My tires need to be just right!

Well, I sure am glad we had this little talk. It does me a lot of good to get this off my grill. Go on now and get it done. I want to be able to drive proudly down the street and if you get it done quickly, I may just drive you to get ice cream. You’ll have the extra cash now!

Faithfully yours,

Your car

Dale Bertram

About the Author

I am an ASE-certified technician and have owned my own auto repair business, Fairway Auto Repair, since 1991. I am also an AMI graduate with a AAM degree, and continue my education by taking various courses during the year. I am a hard core car guy. Basically if it isn't mechanical, I'm not interested in it. This passion for vehicles has driven me throughout my life. My hobbies are my cars. I have two 1968 Camaros and a 1971 Camaro that my son and I built. I also raced an IMCA modified dirt track car for 10 years. In the last few years, I have been involved with autocross and road course racing events.  I have been married to my wife, Lorie, for 28 years and we have two children, Kaila (16) and Landon (13). I also enjoy the outdoors and hiking. Please check out my shop's page at

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