2015 is here and it’s time again to make New Year’s resolutions. In your personal life, you might commit to getting in shape, traveling more, taking better care of finances or starting your own business.
But what about your car? What can you do this year to keep your vehicle running smoothly and reliably while also saving yourself some money (so you can fulfill that “travel more” resolution)?
Here are four automotive resolutions you should keep in 2015.
Take Care of Routine Maintenance
Little things add up to something big. Sometimes it’s good, like saving a few dollars here or there that turns into a nest egg. Sometimes it’s bad, like neglecting the routine maintenance on your vehicle that leads to a major repair.
Spending 10-15 minutes or $20-$30 dollars here and there on routine maintenance can be the difference between keeping your car on the road for five or 15 years. Make it a priority to stay on top of the maintenance schedule laid out in your vehicle’s factory manual.
On top of these scheduled checkups, you can do a lot at home like:
- Changing wiper blades every six months.
- Keeping your tires inflated to the correct pressure and checking them as the weather changes.
- Check important fluids (oil, transmission, brake, etc.) once a month.
Help Your Car Lose Weight
Notice how crowded the gym always is in January? That’s because of all the people who’ve resolved to lose weight and get in shape.
You can do the same thing for your vehicle. Carrying around a little extra junk in the trunk isn’t good for either humans or cars.
According to the EPA, reducing the weight of a car by 100-lbs will increase fuel economy by one-to-two percent. And the smaller your car is, the bigger the impact.
Extra weight in your car also puts unnecessary strain on parts like shocks, struts and brakes. Think of them like your knees and ankles. Gain an extra 50-100 pounds, and they’ll hurt more and break down sooner.
So, clean out all the extra junk (boxes, batteries, bowling balls, bricks) in your car and help it be leaner and meaner in 2015.
Keep It Clean
New Year, new clothes, new haircut, new style. Many people use the change in calendar to reinvent themselves and maybe “dress for success.”
Your car can also benefit from a greater emphasis on hygiene. All that salt and de-icing solution spread on the roads during the winter can really damage your vehicle, inside and out. It can corrode paint and exposed metal parts. Tracked in on your shoes, it tears up or stains floor mats.
Take some time to thoroughly vacuum your car at the end of the winter. Steam clean floors and seats if needed. To easily clean the underside, put a common yard sprinkler under your car. Leave it for a few hours and let it soak off all the salt built up from winter storms.
The summer sun also takes its toll on your car’s looks. The hot sun fades and cracks leather, plastic and paint. Spend a warm spring day applying protectant to the inside of your vehicle to help mitigate the damage caused by UV light. And give the car a good wax job once you’ve gotten all the salt and grime off it.
Don’t Run It Ragged
Are you a lead foot driver? One who stomps on the gas, even if there’s another stop sign just a block ahead?
Or do you wait until the last seconds to stop and slam on the breaks, causing your coffee to spill all over the center console?
Try to fix these bad habits in 2015. Your car and wallet will thank you. Sudden acceleration and last-minute braking puts extra strain on your car’s most important parts: engine, brakes, transmission and tires. It wears them down much faster and increases the chances of expensive repairs.
Also, the smoother you drive, the less gas you use and the more money you save. Is it really worth it to arrive to work two minutes earlier if it costs you an extra $5 in gas?
Follow these simple automotive resolutions throughout 2015 to start on a lifetime of better automotive health. If your car could talk, I’m sure it would thank you.