10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car

Every January 1, millions of people set resolutions for the new year, and shortly thereafter break them.

Maybe we’d have a better success rate if, instead of setting New Year’s resolutions for ourselves, we set them for someone—or something—else. Maybe your old dog could finally learn some new tricks, for example, or your vegetable garden can work on personal growth.

Better yet, maybe your car could start pulling its weight, and work to better itself in 2015. Instead of willpower, it can use horsepower to stay on track towards reaching its goals.

So, inspired by the most common resolutions for people, we’ve come up with 10 New Year’s resolutions for your car. Help your car keep these, and it can actually help you reach some of your own goals.

1. Lose weight.

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Too much junk in the trunk? Your car is probably carrying around a few extra pounds, in the form of loose items you don’t really need: golf clubs when you’re not going golfing today, snow chains in the summer, or beach towels in the winter. That unnecessary weight causes your car to burn more gas, wear out brake pads a little faster, and not handle quite as well in the case of an emergency. The solution? Unload everything you don’t currently need in the car.

2. Get organized.

For the things you do need to keep in the car, it’s best to keep them organized. It makes them easier to find when needed, and frees up space for passengers or luggage. For example, it’s a good idea to go through the glove compartment once or twice a year to make sure you have the right paperwork on hand and get rid of expired registration or insurance cards. Then, if you do get pulled over, you’ll be able to quickly find what you need.

3. Stop smoking.

Compared to most older cars, modern vehicles do a better job of limiting air pollution and reducing smog. But your car runs cleanest when it’s properly maintained, with fresh spark plugs and clean filters. Of course, if your car is literally smoking, that’s a problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.

4. Take better care of your body.

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For some people, having a clean car isn’t much of a priority. However, keeping it clean can actually help extend its life: some types of grime eat away at the paint and protective coating, and dirt or trash inside the cabin can cause the upholstery to wear out more quickly. Besides, all that dirt can add hidden pounds to the frame (see #1).

5. Drink less.

Gas prices may be down at the moment, but that doesn’t mean fuel is free. Getting more miles per gallon will keep more dollars in your pocket and reduce overall emissions (#3). Carrying around less weight (#1) and keeping your car maintained will help your car drink less fuel. However, perhaps the easiest, quickest way to improve fuel economy is to simply drive less aggressively. Instead of flooring the accelerator or braking hard at the last second, speed up and slow down more gradually. The fuel savings (and less wear and tear on your vehicle) will more than make up for the few seconds it might add to your commute.

6. Save money.

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Saving gas saves money, but you can cut down on expenses even more by doing simple car maintenance at home. Some common repairs are ridiculously easy to do yourself, and can save you hundreds of dollars compared to paying a mechanic.

7. Get in shape for summer.

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Your car can get really hot in the summer sun, and an old A/C isn’t always up to the task of cooling it down quickly. So, while we’re on the subject of saving money by doing things yourself (#6), you can diagnose and fix a lukewarm air conditioner using A/C Pro. A cold A/C can help you avoid some embarrassing problems, and make it easier to accomplish #8:

8. Spend more time with family and friends.

Carpooling to work, or wherever your destination may be, is a great way to save gas (#5) and money (#6) while reducing pollution (#3) and road congestion. Plus, it gives you someone to talk to besides the radio DJ or that crazy driver who just cut you off.

9. Travel to new places.

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Road trip! Take advantage of this classic American tradition to explore some scenic byways and cross some locations off your bucket list. Combined with #8, it will help you make some memories together that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime. It can also help you save money compared to paying for a carload of plane tickets.

10. Learn something new.

While on the road, you can use your car to cook dinner—or serve as a traveling gym—or change your identity. Didn’t know your car could do that? Well, there are a number of things you probably didn’t know it could do.

Any resolutions you would add to the list? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.