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New Year Motoring Resolutions

OK, it’s that time of year when we hang up our new calendars and decide to turn over a new leaf at the same time as we start a squeaky-clean new diary.  We make New Year resolutions.  But as well as the usual ones we generally vow to do (e.g. lose weight, give up smoking…), don’t forget that our motoring habits usually need improving as much as our habits in the rest of life.  Here’s some suggestions for New Year resolutions for drivers:

  1. I will rotate my tyres every 12,000 km, as recommended by most tyre manufacturers instead of just shoving the spare tyre on when I get a flattie – and then cursing my stupidity when I realise that the spare tyre is bald because I did a hasty switch so my car could pass its safety inspection/compliance tests.  A simple rule of thumb is to switch each tyre with its diagonal opposite (e.g. front left with back right), but you need to get more complicated when a proper spare tyre (rather than a space-saver tyre as found on some makes and models) is involved.  Here’s one possible method:
  • Old front left becomes the spare
  • Old spare becomes rear left
  • Old rear left becomes front right
  • Old front right becomes rear right
  • Old rear right becomes front left.

Your maintenance manual should have more details on how to do this. 

  1. I will drive more frugally.  Even if you have purchased one of the latest high-economy models, there’s still a few things that we can all do to save petrol when we drive.  Techniques that help with fuel economy include:
  • driving smoothly around corners and through stops and starts (rather than braking and cornering hard, or accelerating hard from a standstill),
  • using the terrain to help when driving downhill,
  • not over-using the air-con,
  • servicing your car regularly, and
  • keeping to the speed limit. 

 

  1. I will clean out the mess inside my car.  We all do it – we just leave a few odd papers or bits of clothing in the boot or the back seat.  Before you know it, you just about need a spade to clear space for an extra passenger, and you can just about make up a complete wardrobe from the clothes stuffed in the boot.  And what on earth is that stuffed into the storage compartment?  Don’t tell me that was once a banana… After hauling out the junk, returning the CDs to their proper cases and pocketing the spare change and pens that rolled under the seat, give the mats a good shake and vacuum the carpets.  Also install a plastic bag as a car tidy for those bits of rubbish that don’t fit into the usual tiny rubbish compartments.  If the car still smells peculiar, try sprinkling baking soda onto the carpets and leaving it for half a day before vacuuming – baking soda absorbs pongs.
  2. I will double-check that my routine maintenance is up-to-date.  Routine servicing is much, much cheaper than repairing the damage that can happen if you don’t do it.  Oil changing is something we all do, but don’t forget air filters, antifreeze, brake fluid, cam belts, wiper blades and other lubricants.  Mark them in your diary and do them.

Happy motoring for 2011!

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