Voices

The car lover’s New Year’s Resolutions

Ah, the first days of the New Year. When we all promise ourselves we’ll be thinner, fitter, smarter and richer this year, than we were in the last.

Most New Year’s Resolutions relate to health and diet, work lives and relationships. But if cars are a big part of your life, you might like to think about including them in your goals for 2017.

Here are a few motoring-themed New Year’s Resolutions that I’ve been thinking about.

  1. Washing my car more regularly. But not too often.

Letting the dust, dirt and grime build up not only looks bad, but can damage your paintwork underneath. At the same time, your paint won’t look great if you scrub it too often either.

My plan at this stage is to pay for a professional clean/detail maybe twice a year, and rinse it off myself in between.

washing a car

Of course, anything that might cause damage should be removed immediately. Acidic substance – like bird poo or tree sap – should be removed as soon as possible, and likewise for any spills in the interior that might mark or stain.

My colleague Robert Pepper gave some great advice recently – keep your car as clean and neat as you can, but don’t worry too much about scratches until you’re ready to sell, or you’ve really had enough. Every time you remove scratches, you thin out your clear coat, so it’s best done very occasionally.

  1. Taking at least one good driving holiday.

I love to drive, but too often the joy of the journey gets lost in the destination.

Fortunately in Australia, we’re spoilt for great driving holidays. One of my favourite parts of the world is the coastline around Kiama, Gerringong and Gerroa, up to the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge (star of many a new car advertisement).

But I think it’s time to check out a few new places. So I’m planning to take at least one good break (hopefully, several more) that are about how I’m getting there, rather than where I‘m going.

The Great Ocean Road is high on the list and has been for some time. Beautiful sweeping roads, beautiful sweeping views – I’m aiming to make 2017 the year it happens.

Maybe I can join the two with a drive through Eden and the Ben Boyd National Park in between, checking out the Boyd’s Tower lighthouse and the old Davidson Whaling Station. I’d better check my leave balance …

  1. Adding on some new toys.

Just recently, we wrote about the many ways in which you can change the look of your vehicle. My little 86 GTS is stock-standard at the moment, but she’s going on four years old now, so it might be time for a refresh.

First, I’ll be purchasing and installing a dashcam, so I can record inside video on the go as well as some cool scenery on the road.

d11d8480

Then, not sure what I’ll do next – a new set of tyres is a certainty; some creative plasti-dipping or vinyl wrapping is an option; and a spoiler or new exterior kit is definitely a possibility.

Who knows, if the planets align, I might even – finally! –  get around to installing that reversing camera I’ve had sitting in my garage for far too long …

  1. Attending at least one dedicated motoring event.

Summernats is taking place in my home town of Canberra from 5-8 January, and I’ll be heading along for the first time in years, so this is one goal I’ll get to tick off the list pretty early.

In October last year, Practical Motoring checked out Motorclassica, filled with interesting old cars, unusual vehicles and countless stories.

20161022_095044

Wherever you are, you can check your local guides for swap meets, rallies and runs. Your local car clubs, if you’re not already a member, would probably love to hear from you as well.

I do miss the days of the annual International Motor Shows in Sydney and Melbourne, but understand they’re just too big and expensive for manufacturers to justify these days.

  1. Try something new

My work with Practical Motoring has so far taken me 4WDing on Moreton Island as well as driving on two wheels around the Sydney Royal Easter Show arena and trying the highway commute in a $140K Tesla.

High on the list to try this year are track racing (yes, believe it or not, I’ve never been) and a good defensive driving course. I’ve also been invited to head out to a (safe) paddock and try my first ever, real, proper donut. We’ll see about that one.

Just driving an exciting new car can be an experience. You can hire something special (such as the Tesla I drove) or visit your local dealership for a test drive – you might find your next car. You could even book a luxury or exotic vehicle and chaffeur driver for a special day or night out – they’re not just for weddings and formals.

  1. Checking out a new motorsport.

As I wrote recently, my experience sliding through the gravel in Coffs Harbour with the Hyundai Motorsport team opened my eyes up to the thrill of rallysport. Being a spectator this year might not be quite as exciting as being a passenger, but I’ll definitely be attending a couple of events.

I already watch the Supercars and Formula 1 when I can, and as an 86 owner, I’ve been especially interested in the Toyota 86 Racing Series this year. Maybe it’s time to take a keener interest.

Hyundai i20 WRC and Jane Speechley

But there’s a lot more motorsport out there!

I really recommend you visit the Confederation of Australian Motorsports ‘Disciplines’ page to learn more about everything from Porsche, ute and Superkart racing to autocross, drifting and hillclimb (yes, it’s a sport!). Really interesting stuff.

For my money, I’ve dabbled in motorkhana but I’d love to do more; and I definitely need to earn my chops in the world of off-road.

Finally, when it comes to following through on your resolutions, my best advice is to plan and lock them all in now, so they’re scheduled throughout the year. That way, you just need to show up!

Over to you – any New Year’s Resolutions you’d like to add?


Jane Speechley

Jane Speechley

Jane Speechley is an experienced freelance writer whose natural curiosity means she knows enough about cars to hold a decent conversation. While happily admitting her Toyota 86 makes promises her street driving can’t quite keep, she’s relishing the opportunity to review some of Australia’s most interesting new vehicles from an ‘everyperson’ perspective. She’s on a mission to understand and explain how all those features and gadgets actually impact upon your driving experience. http://www.charismaticcommunications.com.au