New Year’s Resolutions for Every Car Owner

2013 resolutions

While we all know we should constantly strive to improve ourselves, the start of a New Year is a good catalyst to change bad habits and adopt good ones. If you own a car, there are probably several things you know you should be doing but tend to let slide. This year, resolve to make these simple changes in your behavior and get a little more life–and money–out of your vehicle.

“I will change my oil every 7000 miles.”

We all know we’re supposed to get regular oil changes, but it’s easy to ignore that little sticker on the corner of your windshield. Changing your oil at proper intervals–typically every 7000 miles–will extend the life of your engine and save you money in the long-run. Check your owner’s manual for the correct intervals for your vehicle.

“I will keep my tires properly inflated and rotated.”

Most of us don’t consider our tire pressure very often (or ever), but making sure your tires’ PSI is correct will help improve gas mileage, traction and the life of your rubber. Most gas stations have free air (with a built-in pressure gauge) that you can use, and they’ll almost always make sure your tires are in good shape when you get your oil changed. Don’t forget to get your tires rotated every five to ten thousand miles to ensure even wear on the tread, thus prolonging their longevity.

“I will not eat, or smoke in my car.”

Due to long commutes, short lunch hours, or busy schedules, many of us find ourselves stuck on the road for a meal at one time or another. While eating on the go may seem inevitable, resolve to stop using your steering wheel as a dining table come 2013. Not only will your car stay cleaner and smell better (especially if you make your car a “no smoking zone”), eating while driving is a form of distracted driving that increases your odds of an accident by 80%!

“I will not text while driving.”

Speaking of distracted driving, though many states have passed laws to prevent it, at least a third of us admit to sending or receiving text messages while behind the wheel. Texting while driving makes an accident 23 times more likely than if you’re focused on the road, and approximately 15 deaths per day could be prevented if we all waited ’til we arrived at our destination to send that “LOL”.

“I will keep my ride clean.”

In addition to increasing the aesthetic value of your ride, keeping your car clean will prolong the life of your paint and interior. Particles of dirt and other compounds (like bird poop) will damage your paint if left unattended for too long. A good rule is to clean the interior of your car once per week, by simply throwing away trash, and get a wash and vacuum once a month.

“I will put together a roadside survival kit.’

You can never predict a roadside emergency, and they can happen to even the newest cars. A dead battery or flat tire can ruin your day if you aren’t prepared for whatever car trouble might pop up. We’ve previously recommended you carry a roadside emergency kit, and there’s no better time than now to gather everything together and store it in your trunk.

“I will schedule two checkups for my car in 2013”

Regardless of how well you think you know your vehicle, a well-trained (and certified) technician can always spot things ahead of time that you might miss. Taking the time to schedule a checkup twice a year may seem obsessive, but preventative maintenance at the hands of a qualified professional is cheap insurance. Stay ahead of the game when it comes to know what kind of shape your car is in.

“I will address my car’s minor problems early”

This is perhaps the easiest responsibility to overlook, but the potential consequences of doing so can be catastrophic. It’s easy to hear a strange noise in your vehicle and hope that it will go away. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Don’t put off minor maintenance or easy repair work. Doing so can lead to larger problems and larger repair bills in the end. Bite the bullet, fix what’s wrong, and your car will last a lot longer.

Let the new year begin!

JBA Chevrolet
7327 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD
443-763-5076

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Safe Winter Driving Practices

Winter-DrivingWhile looking around on the Maryland MVA (Motor Vehicle Administration) website, their ‘Safe Winter Driving’ page caught my eye. Winter driving always seems to catch us off guard, it comes every year, but we forget how to drive in winter conditions at the start.  So, here’s a friendly reminder, and some tips on how to stay on the road without breaking down or crunching your car.

Service your vehicle now. No one wants to break down in any season, but especially not in cold or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition. (Schedule your Service Appointment at JBA Chevrolet online)

Check your battery. When the temperature drops, so does battery power. Plus, it takes more power to start your vehicle in cold weather than in warm. Find out if your battery is up to the challenges of winter.

Check your cooling system.  When coolant freezes, it expands. Such expansion can potentially damage your vehicle’s engine block beyond repair. Don’t let this happen to your vehicle this winter!

Fill the washer reservoir.  You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid fairly quickly in a single snowstorm, so be prepared for whatever Mother Nature might send your way. Keep an extra bottle in the trunk.

Keep windows and mirrors clean.  Safe winter driving depends on achieving and maintaining the best visibility possible. Good visibility is always important, but even more so during the winter months when road conditions can make driving extremely hazardous.

Check your windshield wipers and defrosters.  The summer has a tendency to dry-out wiper blades, making them brittle enough to crack and come apart. Now is the time to change your windshield wipers before you get caught in the rain or in a snowstorm.

Inspect your tires.  Regardless of the season, you should inspect your tires at least once a month and always before embarking on a long road trip. It only takes about five minutes. If you find yourself driving under less-than-optimal road conditions this winter, you’ll be glad you took the time!

Know your vehicle.  Every vehicle handles somewhat differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Take time now to learn how to best handle your vehicle under winter weather driving conditions.

  • Practice cold weather driving when your area gets snow — but not on a main road! Until you’ve sharpened your winter weather driving skills and know how your vehicle handles in snowy conditions, it’s best to practice in an empty lot in full daylight.
  • Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, sufficiently increase your following distance to provide a safety cushion between your vehicle and others on the road. Braking time is slower in these conditions, and you must allow yourself more room.
  • A word of caution about braking: Know what kind of brakes your vehicle has and how to use them properly. In general, if you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm pressure, if you have non anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes gently.
  • If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas while carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go. This procedure, known as “steering into the skid,” will bring the back end of your car in line with the front.

Stock your vehicle.  Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving tasks — such as cleaning off your windshield — as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep the following on hand:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
  • Abrasive material, such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
  • Jumper cables, flashlight and warning devices, such as flares and markers.
  • Blankets for protection from the cold.
  • A cell phone, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).

Plan ahead, know your travel route and allow extra travel time.  Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather. Driving in bad weather usually takes longer and is more stressful. Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic; plan to leave early if necessary.

JBA Chevrolet
7327 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD
443-763-5076

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