How can I make my car run as cleanly as possible?

·3-min read

Emissions are a real talking point in the automotive industry at the moment. New cars are being built to be as ‘clean’ as possible, with tailpipe emissions being one of the key things that manufacturers have to focus on when developing a new model.

But what if you’re not in the market for a new car, but would rather clean up your existing car’s engine? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Get your car serviced

Car Repair Stock
A Mechanic works on the sump underneath a Bentley car


One of the most basic things you can do to clean up your car is to get it serviced. Fresh oil can make your car run at its most efficient level, ensuring that it’s as clean as it can be before you start with any other efficiency methods.

Plus, mechanics will give your car a general once over in other areas when servicing it, so you’ll be able to work out if there are any other issues that need addressing – before they get worse.

Check your tyre pressures

Winter car checks
Checking your tyre pressures is easy and can make a real difference


A car’s tyre pressures are crucial to improving rolling resistance which, in turn, lowers the stress on the engine and lowers emissions – it’ll also improve your fuel economy. Plus, it’s really easy to do. Most cars list the correct tyre pressures either on a panel in the door shuts or on the inside of the fuel filler flap.

Once you’ve got them, you can top up your tyres accurately using either an air compressor located at a petrol station or a home version that can be plugged into your car’s 12-volt socket.

Try a fuel additive

Car refueling at the petrol station
(Alamy/PA)


If your engine continues to feel a little lacklustre, then an additive could make a difference. Though only really effective on older cars, these can help to remove some deposits from the engine and aid it to run in a more efficient manner.

Available for both petrol and diesel cars, additives are available from most motor factors and some fuel stations, too.

Give a high-octane fuel a go

BP Ultimate
Premium fuels are offered across the country


Higher octane – or premium – fuels can help to give an engine some added oomph because they help the engine to run more efficiently and ‘burn’ the fuel off better. Though primarily targeted towards high-performance cars, premium fuels can make a difference to more regular petrol and diesel cars too.

Though you could use premium fuel for every fill-up, they’re good to use as a more maintenance-style process. It could be best to fill up with premium fuel prior to a longer journey, which will give the petrol or diesel more of a chance to work effectively through the engine and clean up any deposits.

Go easy with the throttle

Car pedals
Going easy with the throttle can help reduce emissions


It might sound simple – and in truth, it is – but changing your driving style can have a real impact on your car’s efficiency. Try to be more progressive with the throttle and predict inclines and declines, too. For instance, if you see a hill ahead, speed up progressively and then lift off when you reach the top.

If your car isn’t fitted with a start-stop system, then it’s a good idea to turn your engine off when you’re stationary for longer periods of time, too.

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