Every year, many of us make a commitment to do better than the year that has passed, making New Year’s resolutions that speak to our larger goals – whether that’s getting more sleep, exercising more, or taking care of something we’d like to achieve during the year.
While these are all great resolutions, have you thought about making a commitment to taking better care of your vehicle this year?
It’s simpler than it sounds. By committing to invest in some basic maintenance, and getting repair and maintenance work done on a regular basis, you’re not only saving money from a long-term perspective, but you’re also extending out the life of your vehicle as well.
Here are just a few items that will help you make that resolution a reality.
Replace your windshield wipers.
If you’re noticing streaks when you use your windshield wipers, or they’re not effective at clearing things from your windshield, then it’s likely time to replace them.
“There are cheap windshield wipers, and there are expensive windshield wipers. You can get expensive windshield wiper blades, but you should still expect to replace them once a year. You can get cheaper wiper blades, but expect to replace them twice a year,” said Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire own ST Billingsley.
According to Billingsley, your decision on the price point to choose for wiper blades determine on the conditions you’re driving in, and how often you’re driving in your vehicle.
Get your oil changed on a consistent basis.
Everyone knows how important it is to get the oil in your car changed, but it can be a struggle for some to get the oil changed on a regular interval.
Billingsley says that many manufacturers are recommending 7,500 to 10,000 miles between oil changes, depending on the vehicle, but that may not be suitable for cars driving around in Northern Virginia.
“Depending on what kind of oil you use, whether you’re changing the oil filters in between oil changes, and there are many other factors that come into play with these oil change intervals,” said Billingsley.
Even if your car takes synthetic oil, if you’re driving around in Northern Virginia traffic, Billingsley says it’s ideal to do an oil change every 5,000 miles.
“If you’re out in the Midwest and you’re driving mostly on the highway on your way to work, well I could see 7,500 miles being an okay interval, but around here, that’s just a little too far,” said Billingsley.
It’s also a good time to rotate your tires, if you’re getting an oil change at 5,000 mile intervals.
Replace or recondition your headlights.
Over time, the clear coating on your headlights will start to get worn down, and you may notice that the lights look foggy.
“With all of the road salt, dirt, and highway driving, and everything that goes on around here, the plastic headlights lens covers – the clear part – is essentially getting sandblasted all of the time,” said Billingsley.
In some cases you can restore the headlight covers, and there are different levels of restoration.
“Sometimes you get so many micro-cracks in them, you can try to clean them up, but it just doesn’t work that well and you end up needing to replace them,” said Billingsley.
In addition to taking care of the covers, replacing the bulbs after an extended period can make your headlights brighter, adding visibility during night driving or inclement weather.
Commit to taking better care of your car this year, and not only will you save money in the long run, but you’ll also feel better knowing you’re adding reliability to your drive, and extending the life of your vehicle.