We’re barely into 2019 and my gym is packed with a bunch of new faces. Yep, this is when folks make resolutions to do better. Most (like resolving to get fit) don’t get very far into the calendar. But what about folks like you and me? Let’s look at things we can do to make our automotive world better. With that in mind, here (in no particular order) are five New Year’s resolutions for car enthusiasts…
Join a Car Club or Volunteer for the Club You Already Belong To
I’ve been president of a car club and I can assure you that most folks, including club members, do not know how much time and energy club officers put in. I’m not trying to guilt you into becoming a bigger part of your club; rather, there’s a lot to be gained from that investment. Rob David has been a board member of the Space City LX Modern Mopar® Club for a long time and he says, “Joining a local club connects you to people with similar passions and you soon find out cars is just one of them.” And if you’re already a member, he points out that volunteering “builds real friendships” because of that common passion!
Don’t Cheap Out on Maintenance
Just because you can buy less expensive parts and service doesn’t mean you should. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying you should open your wallet without thinking it through, but there’s a lot to the “you get what you pay for” adage. For example, on the Dodge Thrill Ride program (where you can ride along as we drift Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT® Hellcats), we only use Mopar parts and fluids. That means Pennzoil oil (the factory fill) and, for as hard as we push those cars every day on track, we have never had an oil-related failure! There are less expensive oils out there, but there’s a reason the SRT engineering team chose Pennzoil and it’s never let us down. When you need to save on maintenance, consider buying the best parts, but doing the labor yourself. The cost is often the same or less than going to a shop and you’ll bond with your car by doing it!
Put the Phone Down; Don’t Text & Drive
It’s illegal pretty much everywhere, and we ALL know better … yet we do it far too often. I checked with my friend Corporal Ken Capobianco, Traffic Officer & Driving Instructor (ret) Mountainside PD New Jersey and active member of the NJ Mopar Group. Kenny says, “As officers, we use slogans like ‘When you are distracted, who is driving?’, ‘The road is no place to socialize’, ‘Honk if you love Jesus, text while driving if you want to meet him’, ‘Stop texts, stop wrecks’.” But nevermind him talking as a cop … how about just as a fellow car enthusiast? “Simply put, texting while driving is dangerous,” he says. “And certainly not worth it. The text can wait, so focus on the road ahead.” Most of our cars come with a version of the Uconnect® system that allows hands-free operation; take advantage of that!
Become a Better Driver; Take a Performance Driving Course
This one is close to my heart: I regularly meet people who’ve spent thousands of dollars adding the latest trinkets to their cars. Intakes, exhausts, suspensions, catch cans and more snake oil products than I could shake a stick at. But THE BEST modification you can do to your car is … the driver mod! A bone stock car with an excellent driver beats a modded car with an average driver every time. This holds true for road courses, autocrosses and drag racing. Find a class, get a mentor, spend the money you would have spent on that big brake kit and learn how to drive better. Your lap times will drop, I promise!
Spread the Love
As car enthusiasts, we have a responsibility to grow our hobby. We are evangelists of speed. Preachers of performance. I was at the Mecum auction this past weekend in Kissimmee, Florida, and had a great discussion with a dad and his 11-year-old son. The dad was explaining to his boy that the Charger SRT Hellcat had a higher top speed than the Challenger SRT Hellcat because it was more aerodynamic. His son was totally engrossed in the story. We talked about sharing our passion with the next generation of car enthusiasts and The dad said that while the millenials are getting a bad rap about not caring about cars, the truth is that it’s up to us to show them why the car hobby is special. So, let a kid sit in your classic. Give a teen a ride in your SRT Demon. Share your passion, because these are the folks who will carry the torch long after we’re gone.
The car world has been SO good to us over the years. Machines thrill, friends inspire and I challenge you to take these resolutions and make some of your own. Together, we can make a difference in 2019!