Not All the New Cars News Is Bad News

Here’s a bit of good news about new cars, for a change: Some routine maintenance tasks areeasier to do – or don’t need to be done as often.

Sometimes, they don’t need to be done at all.

For example, most new cars don’t require periodic adjustment of their fuel injection systems – which will usually operate without a hitch for years before needing to be cleaned out or a component fails and requires replacement.

Scheduled tune-ups are also much farther apart – often just once every 100,000 miles – and fewer parts are involved. Many new car engines don’t have a distributor cap or spark plug wires – which like points and condensers used to require periodic replacement. One less thing to worry about. Several less things, actually.

Tires also tend to last much longer now – 40,000 miles or more – if you don’t drive like a Nextel Cup driver.

Mufflers rust out and fall off much less often. Most new car will go their entire lives with the same exhaust pipes they left the factory with. Etc.

You save hassle, time and money – making up (at least somewhat) for the higher buy-in cost of new cars.

Here are some others, in the category of easier – and less often:

Drive belts last longer, there’s frequently just one – and it’s (usually) a snap to replace.

If you’re old enough to remember cars built before the 1990s, you may remember car engines that had a single belt for each accessory – power steering, AC, alternator – and how each one had to be individually tensioned by prying on a bracket while tightening an adjuster bolt. It was a pain – multiplied by the number of belts your particular car had.

Most new car engines, in contrast, have a single “serpentine” belt that drives all the accessories. And instead of having to set the tension via a tedious process of leveraging a bracket while tightening a bolt, then checking to make sure it’s right – now all you need to do is slip the belt around the pulleys, then over the idler/tensioner pulley – and release. The tension is set automatically – and you’re done. Some cars have screw-in adjusters, which are slightly more bother – but infinitely less so than leveraging old-style brackets one-at-a-time.

Even if you don’t do this job yourself, you won’t have to pay someone to do it often. Serpentine belts are much longer-lived than the old-style single belts – usually lasting 50,000-plus miles or more before they ought to be replaced – and failing before then far less often.

Brake pads – vs. shoes.

Most new cars – even economy cars – now come with four-wheel-disc brakes. In the past, many cars – and most economy cars – came with drum brakes on the rear wheels – and sometimes, all four.

Read the rest of the article