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!
7327 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD