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Driving Resolutions For 2012

It’s not quite New Year yet, but before the party mood takes all of us over and we all spend a bit of time away from the computer or go away on holiday and actually do some driving instead of just thinking about and reading about driving, here’s ten New Year resolutions for drivers and car owners.
1. I will keep to the speed limit, in and out of the city. This will make sure that I won’t get any speeding tickets and it will also make sure that my petrol bill is a bit lower – the faster you go, the more fuel the car burns.
2. I will keep the fluids topped up – and that means the car as well as me. Brake fluid, window wiper fluid, oil for the engine and the transmission, water in the radiator – they all need topping up to make sure that the car runs without any hitches.
3. I will clean the car out properly. Sure, my big seven-seater Mazda has plenty of room for stowing all sorts of bits and pieces when I’m not taking six other people, but all those things create excess weight, which does contribute to more fuel burn. And having a messy car’s not a good look. It’ll probably be a chance to find all those odd sweatshirts and biros that keep getting left in the car. And while I’m at it, I’ll vacuum all the dog hair off the seats and the crumbs from off the floor.
4. I will check the maintenance history for my car to make sure that the belts don’t need changing this year. If they do need changing, then I’ll get this done BEFORE I head away on holiday. If you don’t have a maintenance history for your car, it’s easy to start one. All you need is a folder (or a large pizza box – they fit quite a lot of A4 paper) of some sort to put the receipts, etc. for any work done on your vehicle.
5. I will stop idling the engine unnecessarily. OK, a bit of idling is needed when I’m waiting at an intersection, but I will turn the engine off when I’m waiting for the kids to put shoes on, etc. before we go out. Sure, it hurries them up a bit, but it does waste petrol. Honking the horn instead should do the trick.
6. I will rotate the tyres the way I’m supposed to. Even if I only get this done on January 2nd and don’t do it again for the rest of the year, it’s still better than nothing and will make sure that the tyres wear more evenly. While I’m at it, I’ll check that the spare tyre still has a legal amount of tread and what’s sitting in there isn’t hopelessly worn.
7. I will check the tyre pressure regularly – fortnightly would be good. And if I’m towing anything, I’ll make sure that I adjust the pressure appropriately.
8. I will take the vehicle out and use the 4×4 the way it’s made to. If you’ve got AWD or 4×4 capacity on your vehicle, it pays to use it now and again so the mechanism doesn’t seize up from disuse. And who says that all New Year resolutions shouldn’t be fun?
9. I will review how I use my vehicle. It’s a big, thirsty beast, so if I can walk or bike for a short trip (the experts say 2 km trips should be walked and 5 km trips should be biked), I will. The exception is the weekly trip to the supermarket, as it’s a bit hard to carry the groceries to feed a family for a week home when you’re walking (the supermarket’s less than 2 km away) without pinching a shopping trolley.
10. I will learn how to do a few more things for vehicle maintenance myself rather than just going down to the local garage and looking like a dumb blonde. I should be able to change the oil and change the air filter myself without any bother.

Happy Christmas and have a great motoring year in 2012.