New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car

January 16th, 2019 by

Whether your goal is to improve fuel economy, prolong the life of your car or look your best while driving down the road, you may need to change a few habits to make your goal a reality. If you’re looking for a few more resolutions to round out your goals in the new year, consider these tips for being a better car owner in 2019.

Resolve to Improve Fuel Economy

No one wants to pay more than necessary at the pump, so resolve to change your driving habits in 2019 to keep more gas in the tank and more money in your wallet. Here are some behaviors to change:

Ease up on the gas pedal

It’s so tempting to release your inner F1 racer when the stoplight turns green, but hard acceleration wastes a tremendous amount of fuel. Set a goal to be a mellower driver in 2019. You’ll make fewer trips to the pump, and you could even reduce the risk of getting in an accident.

Coast to a stop

When you see a stop sign or red traffic light up ahead, take your foot off the gas and coast toward your goal. This saves fuel compared to braking at the last second, and it reduces wear and tear on your brakes as well.

Kick the idling habit

The new year is a great time to rethink unnecessary idling. It harms the environment, your wallet and the health of those around you. So the next time you’re waiting for a while, such as at a train crossing, shut off the car. Even if it’s just for 60 seconds, you save fuel compared to allowing the engine to idle.

You might argue that when it’s cold outside, you need to idle the engine to warm it up before driving off. While this may have been true in the past, today’s electronically controlled engines need no more than 30 seconds to warm up, even on the coldest winter days.

Stop hauling around unnecessary weight and drag

Maybe you have another new year’s resolution to start weightlifting, so your trunk is full of dumbbells. Or you have an old roof rack leftover from summer bike rides. When you’re not using these items, remove them from your car. Carrying excess weight only increases the fuel necessary to drive around, as does the increased drag of transporting storage accessories on the outside of the car.

Plan your errands more effectively

Many people set resolutions that involve being more organized. Here’s an instance where your efforts pay off! By grouping multiple errands into a single outing, you not only save time – you also use less gas. Route your trips carefully to minimize backtracking, and only return home when you’re sure everything is crossed off your to-do list.

Resolve to Prolong Your Car’s Life

Maybe you’re the type of person who likes to buy the perfect car and drive it for the next decade. Or perhaps you prefer to trade it in each year so you always have the next best thing. Either way, you should treat your car right to help it last as long as possible or provide a higher trade-in value when the time comes. Here are some resolutions that help prolong your car’s life:

Give your vehicle routine tune-ups

Vehicle maintenance is the key to a long life for your car. If you only take it to a mechanic when something is wrong, more severe problems are bound to develop. Maintenance also keeps repair costs down and improves your car’s fuel efficiency.

Keep tabs on the tire pressure

For the longest tire lifespan and fuel efficiency, keep your tires inflated to the level recommended on the sticker inside the driver’s side door. Driving with just one tire underinflated by 8 psi can reduce its life by 10,000 miles and decrease your gas mileage by 4 percent.

In the new year, resolve to check the tire pressure once a month, especially after a sharp drop in temperature, which can decrease tire pressure by a few pounds per square inch. The most convenient time to do this is while you’re filling the tank. Many gas stations have free air fill stations where you can top off your tires if needed.

Check the engine oil level

Another important maintenance task you can do while at the gas pump is to check the oil. Pop the hood and pull out the dipstick. Wipe it with a paper towel, reinsert it and pull it back out again. The oil level should land between the two indicators on the dipstick. If it’s low, top it off with the type of oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Change the oil

It’s not enough to keep topping off the engine oil – every so often, you need a complete oil change. The old recommendation of changing the oil every 3,000 miles is outdated, so check your owner’s manual for a timeframe or mileage specific to your car. Then, follow the guidelines for the rest of 2019 and beyond!

Rotate the tires

In addition to driving with the recommended tire pressure, you can further extend the life of your tires by rotating them every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Get this done at the same time as an oil change to simplify the process.

Heed your dashboard warning lights

If you have a bad habit of ignoring the check engine light, resolve to change your ways in the new year. When this and other dashboard warning lights come on, they’re trying to tell you something is wrong. Your quick response can remedy a problem in its early stages before it leads to a more serious problem (and an expensive repair).

Resolve to Help Your Car Look its Best

Your car is your pride and joy. It’s one of your most valuable possessions, and it says a lot about you as you drive it around town every day. In short, when your car looks good, you look good. Give your vehicle a makeover in 2019 with these new year’s resolutions.

Keep the interior clean

There’s nothing attractive about drink spills, food crumbs and trash all over the backseat. To ensure you’re never embarrassed to give someone a ride, resolve to keep your car tidy in the new year.

Start by deep-cleaning your car – vacuum the seats and floor, shampoo the carpet, dust the dashboard, and treat the leather and vinyl. Then, make a habit of throwing away wrappers and other trash after every commute. Keep on top of spills so they don’t become hard-to-remove stains.

Most effectively of all, resolve not to eat and drink in the car anymore. This is a major cause of sticky messes and bad smells. Plus it’s a source of distracted driving that could make you more likely to get in an accident.

Get a car wash

This is an easy, inexpensive way to keep your car’s paint in good condition. Don’t think you have to wait until spring or summer to get a car wash, either. Road grime and salt used to melt ice can corrode the underside of your car, so make a habit of getting a car wash on nice days throughout the winter as well.

Tackle tough spots on the exterior

A car wash can only do so much. Make your car really shine in the new year by using a little elbow grease to tackle tough spots.

For instance, you can revive yellowing headlights with baking soda toothpaste and a microfiber cloth. Then, remove dead bugs from the grille by applying cooking spray and wiping it with a dry rag. Finally, prevent smears on your windshield by dabbing the wiper blades with rubbing alcohol.

Repair or replace your windshield

Rock chips are annoying, but they can be downright infuriating if they spread into a large crack. In 2019, resolve to treat rock chips as quickly as possible. You must act fast to prevent temperature changes from cracking the glass further. Once it does, you’ll have no choice but to replace the windshield.

If you’re currently driving around with a cracked windshield, replace it as soon as possible in the new year. A cracked windshield is far more than just an eyesore – it can also affect your visibility and make rollover accidents more dangerous.

Whether you’re shopping for a new vehicle or pre-owned car, or you want to implement these resolutions with your existing ride, Gary Mathews Motors has the resources you’re looking for. We can help you find the right Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep or Ram vehicle for you, or we can service your car, truck or SUV at our service department in Clarksville, TN. For the products and services you’re looking for, please contact us today.

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