Make it a New Year’s Rev-volution
The top 10 resolutions to keep your car in good shape in 2013.
By Kenny “The Car Guy” Walters
‘Tis the season of good intentions. A time of clean slates, second (or fifth) chances and when everyone pledges anew to replace bad habits with good ones.
This year, let’s extend our resolutions to our cars, the vehicles that do so much, yet often bear the brunt of our unresolved resolutions. Just like empty promises to lose 10 pounds, the resolve to “have that mysterious sound checked out” or “get the oil changed and tires rotated” too often becomes a passing thought, easily forgotten among life’s busy pace.
It’s only until big problems arise – ones not cured by turning up the radio – that we act. Just like people, cars need a good workout program to keep them on track. And just like our bodies, inaction leads to trouble down the road, eventually ending with heart-stopping sticker shock.
The New Year is the right time to make a rev-volution to take better care of our cars, so let’s grab that water bottle, crank up the tunes and resolve to keep ours car as fit as our bodies this year.
Kenny’s Top 10 Car Rev-volutions for 2013
Check the oil regularly. With cars, a liter of prevention is worth a wallet-full of cure. Checking the oil when you fill the tank is a good habit to form, as the quantity and color of the oil can tell you about the state of your engine. If the oil level is low, add some. If it is dark, you should probably schedule an oil change.
Craft an annual car workout regimen. Sit down for a few minutes and loosely plan out the year’s expected engine oil and filter replacements, tire checkups, wheel rotation, alignment and balancing, and other scheduled maintenance. Write reminders on your calendar.
Budget for car maintenance expenses. Setting aside a couple hundred dollars in a “car fund” can prevent future foot-dragging. A recent AAA survey revealed many people neglect car repairs and maintenance because of cost. The survey found that 1 in 4 drivers couldn’t fix a repair of $2,000 and only 1 in 8 could pay a $1,000 repair bill. Remember this as you budget: no matter how your life circumstances change in 2013, you will still likely need a car.
Develop a relationship with your health “car” provider. (pun intended) With regular checkups, your health “car” provider can set goals for milestone maintenance to keep a vehicle running strong.
Keep your body and automobile in one piece by easing up on the lead foot. According to Consumer Reports, speed is a factor in nearly a third of all fatal car crashes. Drive slower. Live longer.
Stay healthy by designating a driver AND a texter. A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than a non-texting driver. A study by Car and Driver Magazine found texting to be more dangerous than drunk driving.
Model good driving habits for your kids’ sake. Road rage, distracted and reckless driving behaviors are often learned from parents. Display safe, defensive driving skills, and if you slip up, talk to your kids about it.
Buy a car wash membership. From salt on the roads to bird droppings, gunk eats away at a car’s finish. Frequent washing protects vehicles, plus it’s more fun to drive a clean and shiny car.
Get detailed once a year. It’s more than just cosmetic. Snow, sand and mud can cause your feet to slip off the gas, brake or clutch. Grime builds up on the windshield over time, obscuring your view. Pledge to give your car one good cleaning this year.
Enjoy the ride. New Year’s resolutions that stick usually involve a sense of fun and enjoyment. Cultivate that in your car. Plan a road trip. Put the top down or roll down windows. Cruise around in a classic car. Just like us, cars are built for utility AND pleasure.
A resolution is a path, plan and commitment to a goal. Why not add becoming a member of the 250,000-mile club to your new year’s goals?
With cars, as with our health, a little prevention goes a long way in keeping our motors running smoothly and adding health and longevity to the odometer.
Kenny the Car Guy Walters, a member of Temple Israel, owns the award-winning auto shop Mufflers and More at 490 N. Pontiac Trail in Walled Lake, 248.668.1200, www.mufflersandmore.net. Email Kenny the Car Guy at Kenny@mufflersandmore.net.