How well have you stuck to your New Year’s resolution? Have you avoided the fast food, cigarettes, and alcohol? Can you been found down the gym first thing every morning, and spending more time with your loved ones? Whether or not you’ve kept your promises with yourself, make sure that in 2014 you keep some promises with your car.

Your car goes through a lot in one year – very cold and very hot weather, rough road surfaces and potholes, stop-start traffic and more. For many of us it is a life-line that we couldn’t do without, whether we use it to get to and from work, ferrying the family around, carrying all manner of weird and wonderful things, or taking a muddy dog on a walk. And yet, for something that we rely on so heavily, we don’t always look after our cars properly. Check out our New Year’s resolutions below to help keep your car spick-and-span and in top shape.

1. Keep it Clean

Whether you hand wash, wax and polish your car yourself, or save some time and take it to a car wash, we’ve all been guilty of leaving it a little too long and ending up with a muddy car. This year, resolve to wash your car at least once a month, and more often if required. It could be well worth taking the extra time to do this – not only will you get to drive around in a nice shiny car, but you will also be preventing rust and damage to the bodywork.

2. Educate Yourself

If asked, could you locate the oil dip stick, coolant tank or brake fluid reservoir? If yes, great! If no, perhaps it’s time to learn. These are all parts of the engine that you can now be asked about in the Show Me Tell Me section of the UK practical driving test, amongst others. Take some time looking under the bonnet and learning what it is that keeps your car ticking over. You don’t need to be a petrolhead to figure it out, and your car manual should explain it in relatively simple terms. Failing that, get a friend in the know to show you. Why is this important? Primarily because by knowing where these parts of the engine are and what to look for under normal conditions can help you identify issues more quickly, as well as allowing you to perform some basic maintenance with ease.

3. Prepare for a Breakdown

No matter what age your car, there is always the chance that it could break down – so it’s best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Read our blog post, “What To Do When You Breakdown” for a comprehensive guide.

4. Look Ahead

12 months is a long time, and you might just be thinking about trading your car in for something different this year. Make sure you are doing everything you can to maintain the value of your current car and you could get a lot more money towards a new one!

5. Do the Paperwork

Cars come with lots of documents and responsibilities, and it can be hard to keep in top of it all. This year, sort out all of your documents – tax, insurance, warranties, license and registration documents should all be kept together. Pop the dates that any of these will need renewing on your calendar or in your diary. A really handy website is which keeps all of your information together in a digital space, and even sends you reminders if anything is due for renewal.

6. Time to Upgrade

If you’ve been thinking about getting yourself a new car, this year may just be the right time to upgrade. You could afford more than you realise! Contact us today to find out what we could offer you with our clever car finance deals. You could be driving your car away in a matter of days after your application.

7. Don’t Freeze Up

It’s cold out, and it might just get colder before it gets warmer. Make sure you are completely prepared for the winter weather by checking out our handy winter preparation infographic and video.

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