Watching a vehicle odometer roll over to the 100,000-mile mark used to be a really big deal. It was a short-lived celebration, however; with a few exceptions, many older cars and trucks just didn’t last much beyond their 100,000-mile birthday. Fast forward to today’s vehicles and it’s a vastly different landscape. At the end of 2013, the average age of a vehicle on the road was 11.4 years – an all-time high. Multiply that by the fact that Americans drive, on average, between 10,000 and 12,000 miles annually and the equation yields millions of cars and trucks on the road today displaying more than 100,000 miles on their odometer.
Vehicle belts aren’t that different than the belts that hold up your trousers. They need to fit properly and stay in place, and if they break, sag, or wear out, you’ll probably wish you were wearing a different belt that day.
The same goes for the belts in your car. Your engine compartment is a punishing environment, and while all auto belts are made of materials designed to be both flexible and tough, even the toughest materials will eventually wear out due to the extreme temperatures under the hood.
If you think your mechanic doesn’t have to deal with getting certified like other professionals, you are quite possibly mistaken. We say “quite possibly” because mechanics generally aren’t required by law to get certified in this country, so it’s conceivable that Bub down at the local filling station doesn’t have any meaningful credentials hanging on his wall. However, since the founding of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in 1972, a culture of professionalism has emerged and today about half of the country’s auto mechanics are ASE-certified. There are other kinds of certification, too, and other issues to consider when searching for the right mechanic. We’ll walk you through the details.
If you want to avoid nasty and unexpected surprise maintenance costs, sticking to a regimented schedule of preventative maintenance is something you are going to want to get used to. The reason being is simple – frequent maintenance will keep your car in good health, ensuring you get the most out of all those expensive-to-replace parts. While it might sound counterintuitive, the best way to reduce maintenance costs is to stick to a prescribed maintenance schedule.
For those who suffer a daily commute through heavy traffic, your vehicle's braking system can bring thousands of pounds of metal, plastic and empty Starbucks cups to a stop hundreds of times before you get to work. It goes without saying that these pieces wear out, but they do so slowly, meaning you may not notice they need attention until it's too late.
Buying a car today is a tougher decision than the average person realizes. With a combination of growing environmental awareness, rising oil prices, a depreciating American Dollar and increasingly complex automotive engineering practices – not to mention the fact that there are more vehicle choices than ever before – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when choosing your next car.