New Year’s Resolution For Your Car
It’s that time of year again, when we start making resolutions for the New Year. We vow to do things better than we did in the year just gone by. We promise ourselves that we are going to be better people, we’re going to be nicer to our neighbors and co-workers. We convince ourselves that we need to go on a diet and lose a few pounds, we need to begin a workout program that helps us shed those pounds that we’ve been packing on for the last 20 years.
The dictionary tells us that making New Year’s Resolutions is “setting goals for the New Year.” The origin of making Resolutions is not clear. We know that they were recorded by the Babylonians as far back as four thousand years ago. In 153 B.C. the Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the mythical king believed to be the god of beginnings. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. It is said that Janus could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.
One of the problems with our Resolutions is that we make promises to ourselves that are unrealistic. If we haven’t worked out regularly in more than 20 years, and we find ourselves 30 pounds overweight, it’s not realistic to think that we can change our lifestyle overnight to correct those problems. Particularly not with all that leftover holiday fudge sitting around!
There are some things that we can promise ourselves that we can live up to though. We can promise we’ll take better care of our vehicle in the upcoming year. We rely on it to get us to and from work each day. We count on it to get the kids to ball practice or school events. We expect our vehicle to take us on road trips and vacations . We even count on our vehicle to take us to the gym so we can start our new workout routine!
Simply changing a few habits can help your vehicle last longer, command a higher resale price, pollute less, and burn less fuel. The Car Care Council says “regular car care is a resolution that will pay off all year, every year.”
Here are some of the things you can do for your vehicle in the New Year that will pay your huge dividends down the road:
- Clean out your vehicle. Less weight means you’ll use less fuel, so remove unnecessary items from the trunk. Remove that rooftop cargo carrier. You’ll cut down on that fuel-hogging wind resistance.
- Check your tire pressure once per month. Tires with low pressure cause the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. Poorly aligned wheels and improperly inflated tires also wear out faster, costing you money in replacements.
- Follow your maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. A neglected vehicle burns more fuel and will break down more often than a well-maintained machine. Fouled spark plugs and clogged filters waste fuel. Routine oil changes will keep your vehicle from aging before its time.
- Resolve to become a better driver. Avoid jackrabbit starts. Sudden accelerations waste fuel and strain the engine. Speeding greatly decreases your miles-per-gallon, so drive the speed limit. Avoid aggressive stops since they wear out your brakes much more rapidly than slowly coming to a stop.
- Be proactive. Cold weather magnifies existing problems like pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. Keep your fluids changed on a regular basis. This includes differential fluids, transmission fluid, steering and brake fluids, engine coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
- Look for a high-quality repair shop. A quality auto care facility can recommend services to keep your vehicle in top running condition. A quality facility will have the equipment needed to properly diagnose your vehicle’s problems. When you are choosing a shop to care for your vehicle remember that you’re not just paying for the cost of the part and the time it takes to install it, but you’re also paying for the professionalism and technical expertise of the entire facility staff.
I think Benjamin Franklin had the right idea about resolutions when he wrote, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”