Automotive New Year’s Resoltions

Forget about exercise, losing weight or getting out of debt, because there are many other New Year’s resolutions that are of much greater importance to you and your car. Here are some that I have made:

I will change the oil in my daily driver every 5,000 miles!
Let’s face it – the easiest and least costly way of ensuring a car runs forever is to change the oil. Most cars running on modern non-synthetic oils can do just fine when the sump is drained and filter replaced every 5,000 miles. If we can brush our teeth twice per day, we can change the oil in the car we drive the most once per 5,000 miles.


I will change the oil in my classic cars once per year and brake fluid every three!

Even if the car only covers 250 miles in a year, the oil still attracts carbon and moisture, which reduces efficacy. DOT 3 brake fluid also absorbs water, which can cause brake cylinder pistons to seize.

I will rotate the tires on my daily driver at least once per year!
Why am I surprised when my 21,000 mile Toyota Avalon has almost no tread on the front tires? I put off rotating the tires for two years, for god’s sake. Rotating the fronts to the rear (and vice versa) can immediately improve traction and improve tire tread life. Additionally, rotating left to right can improve ride by removing tread imperfections created by suspension geometry and weight characteristics. Even though Chevy dealers send reminders to rotate Corvette tires, Corvettes (like many performance cars) have directional tread and different sizes, making rotating impossible (or at least, really, really, really unsafe.)

I will check tire pressure once per month!
Every ten degrees of ambient temperature change results in a variation of one psi of tire pressure. This means that if you last checked your tire pressure at 70 degrees, the reading at 30 degrees will be lower by at least four psi. Valve stem leaks and moisture changes can create additional loss, which means faster tire wear, worse fuel economy and sloppier handling.

I will drive my classics once every six weeks!
Why own a car if you’re not going to drive it? Every collector says they’ll drive their cars, only to get lazy. Sure, if the weather is nasty, it’s okay not to drive classics that are as topless as a Vegas showgirl. Just remember to get out for a ride (with the car, not the showgirl) once the weather permits. If you can’t find the time or desire to drive the car, sell it to someone who will use and enjoy it, because the car will simply deteriorate and be a money pit the more it sits.

I will wax my cars every six months!
Wax not only makes a car shine, it protects the paint against chips, contaminants and small scratches. Waxing doesn’t take that long, plus it prevents the need for multi-stage polishing later. Also, products like those from Griot’s Garage make waxing (and polishing) easy and fun…not to mention they smell like topical drinks.

I will help more children to appreciate cars!
By appreciate, I mean many different aspects. For teens, it means understanding vehicle dynamics and limitations. For kids it means finding cars, both old and new, as cool and fun. For all it means caring for current family cars and desiring vehicles that they currently cannot afford or justify. It also means understanding that ownership of any car is a responsibility, as well as a wonderful privilege – automobiles increase our level of freedom and ability to pursue our dreams.

I will learn more about how to fix my cars myself!
The more we know about our cars, the less it costs to maintain them. Additionally, the more we understand how all the parts work, the more we respect them.

I will take steps every month to achieve owning (or simply driving) my dream cars!
We only go around once in this life. Just because we can’t afford a brand new supercar doesn’t mean enjoyment of these fine automobiles should escape us forever. Personally, I plan to drive or own dozens of cars that others dream about without coming at the expense of retirement or my kids’ education. By buying low, selling high, saving, waiting, and being smart, we can all drive vehicles usually associated with only the rich and famous.

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One Response to Automotive New Year’s Resoltions

  1. chuckgoolsbee says:

    I own a classic that is topless as a vegas show girl and I live in the Pacific Northwest. 😉

    Somehow I manage to get it out now and then in the winter though. The neighbors think I’m mad, but who cares! Winter is when I do all those “projects” (basically fixing all the stuff I broke on my long summer drives!) and you have to get out and “test” your fix? Right?

    http://chuck.goolsbee.org/archives/476

    The only resolution I’d add to that list is ” I will run on MORE of my own home-brewed fuel than last year.”

    –chuck

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