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New Year's Resolutions for Your Car


The start of a new year is a perfect time to set new goals and resolutions. Typically, they are meant to make you a better person by the end of the year and are often related to school, finance, fitness, or mental health. Resolutions can be hard to keep, but consider making some for your vehicle while making some for yourself.

Here are four resolutions to help keep your car running at its best in 2023:

  1. Stop procrastinating – by visiting the gas station before your gas light comes on. As a rule of thumb, you should never let the gas tank fall below a quarter-tank full. Waiting until it is almost empty before filling up can be pricey – and harmful – to your car’s fuel pump. When fuel levels are lower than the fuel pump in the engine, the pump will start sucking up the little bit of remaining fuel at the tank base, along with accumulated dirt, air, and particles. This can cause the fuel filter to clog and eventually cause failure of the fuel pump assembly. Fuel pumps should typically last around 100,000 miles, so if yours is failing prematurely, it could be from habitually letting your fuel level go too low. Because repairing a fuel pump can be expensive, your best defense is keeping enough fuel in the tank so that your fuel pump doesn’t take in excess clogging particles.
  2. Clean up your act – by keeping your car looking good inside and out. Washing the outside of your car on a regular basis can keep it looking new and help avoid dirt buildup. Driving in a snowy climate? You probably already know that harsh salt on the roads will coat your vehicle’s undercarriage and potentially corrode important car parts. When washing it, be sure to target the undercarriage and wheel wells to remove salt and dirt buildup. Also, did you know that periodically cleaning your car’s interior can protect your health? The seats and floor can easily collect dirt, food crumbs, and other debris. Cleaning interior surfaces will help eliminate the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
  3. Get in shape – by staying up to date with routine maintenance such as oil changes and tune-ups. Just as we visit doctors for regular check-ups and physicals, our vehicles need regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly and extend their lifespans. This may include replacing filters, getting oil changes, rotating and balancing the tires, checking fluid levels, and more. Routine maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle and keep your miles per gallon high while reducing emissions, which protects our environment.
  4. Reduce stress – by paying off the rest of your auto loan, if you can. Early payoff is a good idea if your loan has a high interest rate and its prepayment penalties are relatively small. You can pay off your vehicle loan faster in several ways: You could make a single lump sum payment, make biweekly payments instead of monthly, or pay extra on your monthly payments.

For an SLFCU auto loan, make sure the monthly interest is paid, and any over-payment will go directly toward the principal. When making a regular payment, to an SLFCU auto, the interstate due on the loan will be satisfied first and the remaining amount of the payment will go toward the principal of the loan.

Members can also make principal-only payments once their regular payment had been made. If you do not have the funds to make additional payments, refinancing your vehicle may be a better option. By refinancing with SLFCU, you could lower interest rates, and save on the total amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Refinancing your loan could give your peace of mind by lower your monthly payment and allowing for additional money at the end of the month.

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