Our New Year's Ownership Resolutions

By DriverSide Staff
While it might seem overly cliché, the end of the holiday season always brings with it resolutions for the coming year. For many of us, 2009 presents a unique challenge as the world continues to fight a stubborn financial recession. Budgets are tight and, as a result, you'll probably be holding onto your current car a little longer than you expected; which is why we at DriverSide want to help you resolve to be a better owner in the coming year.
We, of course, think the best way to make sure your resolutions are fulfilled is by registering your car at Driverside.com's MyGarage. Here, you'll be able to set up service notices so you never miss an automotive check up, research repairs and car issues, ask a certified mechanic a question, access ratings and reviews on more than 230,000 mechanics, see recall notices for your vehicle and be alerted of new recalls on your vehicle. Basically, we help you keep up to date on all your car's needs, save you money and keep you and your family safe. The best part, it's all free.

It's easy to overlook the small responsibilities as a vehicle owner, so we've compiled our top five resolutions below to ensure you've got the information you need to keep your car in top shape throughout 2009. After all, owning a car should be fun, not a hassle.

Top Five New Year's Automotive Resolutions

Resolve to schedule two checkups this year with a mechanic and know your maintenance history.
Regardless of how well you think you know your vehicle, a well-trained, trustworthy mechanic can spot things ahead of time that you might miss. Taking the time to schedule a check up with a good mechanic twice a year may seem obsessive, but preventative maintenance at the hands of a qualified professional is cheap insurance. Also, keep all the documentation; being able to provide a potential buyer with all of your service records is a major buying incentive. You can do all of this at DriverSide.com

Resolve to keep up with fluid changes.
Checking on your vehicle's fluids is paramount to its longevity. While some fluids like brake fluid, clutch fluid and coolant may not require attention as often as oil or transmission fluid, they're just as important. Mark one day on your calendar each month to make sure all of your fluids are topped off. It's quick, easy and can save you some serious repair dollars down the line. Of course, remember to change those fluids when your service manual requires it, too. Confused about what fluids to use or when to change them?  At DriverSide, you can ask a certified mechanic a question for free, so there is no excuse this New Year.

Resolve to address minor problems early.
This is perhaps the easiest responsibility to overlook, but the potential consequences of doing so can be cataclysmic. It's easy to hear a strange noise in your vehicle and hope that it will go away. Unfortunately, there aren't any cars out there that can heal themselves, at least not yet. Don't put off minor maintenance or easy repair work. Doing so can lead to larger problems and larger repair bills in the end. Bite the bullet, fix what's wrong and your car will last a lot longer. When your car needs a repair, check out our DriverSide Pre-Service Report, where we tell you what it will cost for a repair in your neck of the woods.

Resolve to keep your car clean.

Excess dirt and grime can act like sand paper, creating unnecessary abrasion that can wear down upholstery and carpeting. Purchase a good set of floor mats if your vehicle didn't come with them and vacuum your car on a regular basis. Keeping things tidy inside can keep you aware of problem spots inside, too, allowing you to get them repaired before they grow worse. At DriverSide, we offer a great selection of parts and accessories, so you can get a car cover or all-weather floor mats to extend the life of your car.

Resolve to check on your tires and wheels.
If your tires have worn unevenly or your wheels are unbalanced, vibration can cause excess stress on suspension components. Excess stress means extra trips to the mechanic and a hefty bill. Taking the time to keep your wheels clean can alert you to bent or damaged wheels and uneven tread, once again helping you to correct the problem before things get out of hand.

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