by Theresa Houghton
Around 80% of people fail to stick with their New Year’s resolutions—encouraging, right? This year, it’s time to make some resolutions you can actually keep, like taking care of your car. That’s right; your vehicle needs something to aim for in the New Year, too.
Following these five car care tips will make your ride safer and smoother throughout 2020.
Get Familiar with the Manual
Be honest: Do you even know what’s in the owner’s manual for your vehicle?
Most people wait until they see a disconcerting light on the dashboard to unearth the manual from underneath all the junk in the glove box. Be a nonconformist this year and actually read through the manual before something goes wrong.
· The proper schedule for maintenance
· How to use basic features
· What all the warning lights mean
· Appropriate tire pressure
· The best way to configure on-board technology
· Warranty details
It may not be world’s most exciting read, but when you’re done, you’ll be more familiar with your car and its particular needs and quirks. You can drive with more confidence and handle basic troubleshooting and repairs on your own instead of clearing out your bank account to cover mechanic’s fees.
Clean Off the Winter “Yuck”
Health resolutions show up on the New Year’s lists of around 55% of people, and most are related to physical well-being. Guess what? Your car should get a chance to look and “feel” better, too. Winter driving leaves the exterior coated in dirt, grime and road salt—and none of that is good for the paint. Inside, it’s not much better. Dirty, snowy boots bring in rocks, mud, dried leaves and other debris, which winds up hopelessly ground into the floor mats by the time spring rolls around.
Do your car—and yourself—a favor, and have the entire thing professionally cleaned and detailed. After a thorough vacuuming, a wash and a wax, your car will look as good as new. Get the engine block cleaned and the headlights defogged, too. As the year progresses, maintain your car’s fresh look with regular washing and detailing.
Commit to a Service Schedule
Remember what you read about servicing in the manual? Resolve to put it into practice. Regular servicing is not only a good idea; it might also be mandatory for your warranty to remain valid. Talk with your mechanic, and set up a schedule based on the warranty’s requirements and the manual’s recommendations.
During servicing, your mechanic will change the oil, check the fluids and inspect major systems and components, including:
All of this serves a similar purpose to your annual checkup with the doctor. If anything is wrong, the mechanic will catch the problem during the service inspection and advise you on what repairs or maintenance should be performed to prevent more serious issues.
Keep the Tires Rotating
Uneven tire wear patterns are one issue that can pop up when your mechanic checks over the car. This is a normal and can be evened out by rotating the tires every 5,000 miles. As you drive, the front and back tires wear in different patterns depending on what type of drivetrain is used in the vehicle. Not rotating your tires can cause one set to wear out more quickly than the other and make it dangerous to drive in variable weather conditions.
Whether you do it yourself or let your mechanic take care of it, coordinating tire rotation with an oil change can help ensure you don’t forget. Tires should be rotated according to the instructions in your car’s owner’s manual. If any of the tires show signs of damage or excessive wear, it’s best to replace them instead of relying on rotation to “even out” thinning tread.
Take Responsibility for Routine Maintenance
Once your vehicle has been cleaned and serviced and the tires rotated, it needs to be maintained. There will always be some jobs your mechanic needs to take care of, but remember: It’s your car. These are your New Year’s resolutions.
For your car to keep serving you well all year (and for a long time to come), you need to stay on top of:
· Checking and changing the fluids
· Checking and replacing filters
· Cleaning the battery terminals
· Replacing wiper blades as needed
Invest in high-quality products for car care to prevent damage and keep all systems in peak condition.
Making 2020 the year you take the best possible care of your car is a resolution you can handle. Keep an eye on how it performs, pay attention to when it’s starting to get dirty and stay on schedule for servicing to ensure it runs smoothly.
Get help from professional services as necessary, and your car will sail through the new year in top shape.
About the Author Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to NutritionStudies.org, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the NutritionFacts.org 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks. You can find out more about Sam at GreenGutWellness.com.