Ahh, the new year. We always start off the new year with New Year's Resolutions in which we resolve to make a change from the last year. Common resolutions center around weight (especially after the feasting holiday season), money and life improvement. Car related resolutions also top the list, with many being to finally get that check engine light looked at, get a new car, pay off the car loan, or even just resolutions to clean and maintain the car regularly. Here are the top ways you can resolve to take better care of your car without affecting that other resolution you probably have: to save more money.
Car Maintenance Tips
- Keep your car clean: This seems like a no brainer, but we all know someone who just can't keep their car clean, inside or out (or perhaps you're that someone!). If this is something you could work on, start small. Clean out old receipts, notes, shopping bags, clothes and anything in your car that you don't use on a very regular basis. This can be difficult for those who feel like they live out of their cars, but items can pile up. Organize your trunk by using a tote bag or backpack to store a spare set of clothes and shoes, a towel, a jacket, and a bottle of water and maybe a packaged snack. Keep another bag for your car tools: a set of jumper cables, tire pressure monitor, flashlight, jack, and some first-aid supplies. Take your car once to a full service auto detail place that will vacuum the carpets and buff the exterior, and then stop at a quick wash place once every two weeks to keep it looking good.
- Perform basic maintenance: If your check engine light has been on since Thanksgiving, resolve to have it taken care of. Your car won't last long with severe engine problems, and with cars it's always better to know sooner than later. Also do smaller things like replacing your windshield wipers if they're more than a year old, get the crack in your windshield repaired (or replace the windshield), and shampoo your carpets and fabric interior to get that funky wet dog smell out.
- Keep your records up to date: You should always keep your records of any maintenance and repairs done on your car, so take an hour to sort and organize everything by date. Keep your records in a safe place (you could scan your records and keep them in a file on your computer) and know when it's time for your next car check-up.
- Make it easy: If you're the type of person who never remembers to get your car oil changed on time, even with the sticker in the window, set up a reminder on your phone or see if your oil change place can call you for a reminder appointment. If you know you like to leave your spare change in the car keep a jar in one of your cup holders and keep your pennies off your car floor. Recognize the habits you already have that got your car in its current condition and use them for good to keep your car looking its best.
- Stick to it!: Now that you've put all this work into cleaning, organizing, and pampering your car for the new year, keep it up! Stop tossing receipts and fast food bags into the back seat, stop by a do-it-yourself vacuum place after having the dog in the car, remember to not park under the tree at work that has all the bird nests, and remind yourself about basic car upkeep every day.
Image courtesy of Edmunds.com