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Three Car-Related New Year’s Resolutions

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Yes, folks, it’s that time of year when we promise ourselves we will cut down on the ice cream and hit the gym, when we promise to decrease the drinking we do and increase the amount of money we save. Sure, many of the resolutions are just a distant memory by the time February rolls around, but surely we possess the willpower to keep some of our promises, right?

Some of the easiest resolutions to keep are ones that “add” something to our lives, not take something away (ice cream, I miss you already). So, how about making some resolutions about our cars? They would be way easier to keep than promising to become a Tae Bo master.

Here are three car-related New Year’s resolutions that shouldn’t be too hard to keep!

Keep your tires properly inflated

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But to tell you the truth, I have never—yes, never—pulled out a gauge and checked the pressure in my tires. Even when one looks dangerously low and the car feels lopsided to drive, I still won’t do it. I guess I expect service providers to deal with it when I have my oil changed, which isn’t very wise.

Even though there is a new law in CA that requires tire pressure to be checked with any vehicle service, I shouldn’t be relying on that as so-called “tire maintenance.” If tires are underinflated by only 6psi, it can lead to tire failure and the tread life can be reduced by as much as 25 percent. Tires lose about 1psi per month due to air escaping through the rubber as it stretches, so if you haven’t checked your tires in six months, get out there and do it in 2011—at least twice!

Be nice to other drivers
I am no angel when it comes to driving. Sure, I get mad when people drive too slow, cut me off, drive too slow, make stupid decisions, drive too slow. But the road is not the place to take out your anger, no matter how justified.

The other night, it was raining and we were in heavy traffic on the Bay Bridge as we approached the city after a night in Oakland. We were both on edge, ready to be home, and pontificating upon the mysteries of the Bay Area, where one can encounter a huge traffic jam late on a random Tuesday night. Then I got a great idea—why don’t we pay the toll for the person behind us? We did and it was such a nice feeling—and so easy to do. It made our night.

So, be nice to people. Let people in, pay their toll, try not to yell mean things at the old lady driving too slow. And if someone is nice to you, remember to do the little wave. It means the world to people!

Don’t ever ignore a Check Engine Light
So, maybe your window is taking longer to roll up, or your AC isn’t that strong. Sure, these things should be addressed, and always the sooner the better. But if your Check Engine Light (CEL) is flashing constantly, don’t put it off until the weekend or until your next paycheck. A flashing CEL is serious—if you don’t pull over immediately and get your car towed, you might experience serious (and expensive) damage, a vehicle fire, total emissions failure, or all of these things.

Your vehicle has warning lights for a reason—to warn you of potential problems. You might ignore a crying baby for a few minutes, but if the baby started to scream and wail at the top of her lungs, you would see what she needed. It’s the same deal with your vehicle. So, while you don’t need to run screaming from the car, covering your head and scrambling for shelter when your CEL comes on, you also don’t want to ignore it or wait for a “better” time. When it comes to your CEL, the time is now.

See? So, come February, when you have put on ten pounds and have joined Ice Cream Eaters Anonymous, at least you can find solace in that fact that you are a nice driver, your tires are properly inflated, and your car is purring like a baby kitten.

Happy New Year!

 

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