With the new year fast approaching (or already passed, depending on when you’re reading this!), now’s the time for all smart car owners to start formulating their new year’s resolutions. Even for those of you who have done a good job in the past of keeping up on routine auto maintenance, there are probably very few out there who don’t have at least some room for improvement. With that in mind, here are a few critical points to add to your list of resolutions for 2013 – each of them guaranteed to keep your car running longer and healthier.
- Routine oil changes. Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive, your owner’s manual may inform you that the best schedule to keep is an oil change every 3,000 miles. Newer cars may tell you 7,000 miles. Whatever the number, keeping to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule isn’t just something to keep your car running smoothly, but to ensure it stays running. Oil changes are the most important routine service for your car and should never be ignored or put off. Put this at the top of your new year’s resolution list.
- Routine tire rotation and air pressure checks. Rotating your tires ensures that you get some longevity out of them, since keeping them in the same place on your car for too long can cause them to wear prematurely and unevenly. But checking your tire pressure is essential to preventing them from blowing out on you, or failing on you when you need them the most. To help you meet this resolution, have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles and buy yourself a tire gauge so you can check your tire air pressure at least once per month, or anytime they look low.
- Driving smart. This means not only being smart about shopping around for gas, but also being smart about how you use what’s already in your tank. There are plenty of ways that people burn gas unnecessarily on a daily basis. These include everything from driving too fast to not keeping tires inflated properly. Paying better attention to the way you drive will keep your car running longer, and it’ll also save you money. What better new year’s resolution is there than that to line your pockets while squeezing the maximum life out of your vehicle?
- Paying more attention behind the wheel. Distracted driving is becoming such a problem that the government has even dedicated a website just to teach people how to pay better attention when driving. Check out www.distraction.gov for the statistics and some in-depth tips, but begin the new year by swearing off texting while driving and excessive talking while driving. In the long run, it’ll make your car last longer because it’ll keep you out of a wreck.
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