With the holidays burning rubber around the bend and the spirit of gift-giving in the air, we thought we’d take a moment to talk cars. (Sure, it’s not all that surprising.)
If you’re one of the 90 percent of Americans who drive, then your car’s most likely been working its trunk off over the past month or so. Doubtless, it’s taken you on countless trips to the mall and the grocery store (carried Tickle Me Elmos and turkeys), circled packed parking lots, and idled patiently in the crush of holiday traffic.
And what have you done for your car in return? Although it doesn’t usually take much to keep your ride happy (a little maintenance and a mango-scented air freshener can go a long way), many of us tend to neglect our vehicles during the busy holiday season.
With that in mind, here’s a short (and affordable) list of things that might be on your car’s wish list this year.
- Windshield wiper blades. Although replacement blades generally cost less than 10 bucks, they’re also one of the most neglected components on our cars. Nonetheless, wiper blades should be replaced at least once a year, and the beginning of winter is the perfect time to do so. Your car will repay you for this gift by allowing you to see the road the next time it rains.
- A good detail. With all the running around that we do, it’s easy to understand why our cars sometimes look as though they’ve been through the ringer. Having your vehicle detailed occasionally can help extend its resale value, and usually costs $60-$90. Or you can always run it through the carwash and vacuum it out for a handful of quarters. Both your car and your passengers will thank you.
- Tire rotation. Like replacing windshield wiper blades, rotating tires is probably not all that high on your list of things to do. But because tires wear differently, it’s recommended that you rotate them every 5-10,000 miles. This can help extend the life of your tires and it costs as little as $2.50 per wheel. Your car will show its gratitude by keeping you safe on the road.
- An oil change. With this, you can never go wrong (sort of like buying Almond Roca for Aunt Meg). The importance of changing your oil regularly can’t be overestimated, but neither can the ease with which this small task can be forgotten. The average oil change costs between $25 and $35, and your car will show its appreciation by not melting down on the side of the freeway on some Monday morning. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Air freshener. When you forget to put on deodorant in the morning, it’s embarrassing, right? Well think about how your poor car feels. Car air fresheners can cost less than a buck, and smell like everything from cedar to cotton candy to wild cherry. How will your car thank you? By smelling like a lush forest, your forgotten childhood, or delicious wild cherries.
- Fuzzy dice. (Carstache?) No, cars are not people, but just the same, make your car feel special with a unique doo-dah this year. From fancy seat covers to Hula girls to fuzzy dice or other lucky talismans, there are (literally) hundreds of inexpensive accessories you can give your car to make it stand out a little. In turn, your car will show its thanks by being easier to find the next time you’re wandering the parking lot Seinfeld-style.
Whether you decide to grant your car its wishes or not, drive carefully this holiday season and stay safe out there!