DEP Urges Drivers To Keep The Environment In Mind When Preparing Cars For Winter Months

Photo credit: Maureen Didde

TRENTON – Getting your car or truck ready for the harsh winter months ahead can make your vehicle safer and save you money. But proper maintenance also can help protect the state’s environment, according to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

“Maintaining your car makes sense for you and helps the environment,” said Martin. “Simple steps, such as getting tune-ups and checking hoses and gaskets to prevent fluid leaks will not only help your vehicle run a lot better and longer, but will make our air and water cleaner, too.”


October is Fall Car Care Month. Keeping this theme in mind, the DEP and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission want drivers to advance the benefits of cleaner air, energy conservation, safer roads and consumer savings through proper car maintenance. There are long term benefits of keeping your vehicle in top operating condition, and by doing so the environment benefits because you minimize harmful exhaust emissions and improve gas mileage, while reducing your maintenance costs.

Motor vehicles — especially those with malfunctioning emissions systems — pollute and emit various invisible and harmful chemicals that can harm lung function and irritate the respiratory system. Other emissions include particulate matter, air toxins and carbon monoxide as well as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Meanwhile, leaking fluids from vehicles can run off roadways, driveways and parking lots into storm drains, and eventually end up in our lakes, streams, rivers and bays.

“It is important to maintain the safety of our vehicles in order to protect our families and our environment,” said New Jersey Motor Vehicle Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez. “It is just as important to keep your vehicle maintained as it is to be a responsible driver.”

DEP offers these tips for maintaining your vehicle:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule to extend the vehicle’s life, increase its resale value, decrease emissions and optimize gas mileage.
  • Gauge your tires twice a month, and keep them tires properly inflated to improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, while improving safety and extending the life of the tires.
  • If you change your own oil or antifreeze, do it in a garage and use a self-contained oil pan, and discard the oil at a local service center for recycling. Don’t change fluids in the street and never discard oil, gas or antifreeze into a storm water drain. Antifreeze should be discarded at a household hazardous waste facility.
  • Listen to your car: if your “check engine” light is on, there may be something wrong with the engine’s fuel, ignition or emissions system. Your car will automatically fail the On-Board Diagnostic portion of the emissions test if the light is on. After repairing a vehicle that’s failed a diagnostic or emissions test, your car may show an improvement in fuel economy by 2-3 miles per gallon.
  • Have a skilled repair technician who understands emissions control systems service your vehicle. Vehicles that fail emissions test in New Jersey must be repaired by a registered Emission Repair Facility, if not owner repaired. To find the nearest facility, visit:

For additional information on New Jersey’s Inspection and Maintenance program, visit: or
For vehicle maintenance tips, go to:

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