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Changes in conventional car care wisdom help one's bottom line

LOS ANGELES - The amount of change that has taken place in the last 10 years is phenomenal. Whereas the Internet was largely seen as something to play with a decade ago, it now serves to pay our bills, stay in touch with friends and even order movie tickets or meals.

How people treat their vehicles has also changed dramatically. Much of the conventional wisdom preached by fathers and grandfathers with respect to vehicle maintenance has fallen by the wayside in the 21st century, as manufacturers of both vehicles and vehicle maintenance products have changed the way they do business. But many of these changes not only improve how vehicles run, but can save vehicle owners some cash as well.

Petroleum motor oils are no longer the gold standard. Many vehicle owners practice the same credo with respect to vehicle maintenance. That is, “If it has worked in the past, stick with it.” Advancements in automotive technology, however, have led many to abandon that credo, or at least to modify it.

Perhaps no technological advancement has done more to change how we view vehicle maintenance than the emergence of synthetic motor oil as a superior alternative to traditional petroleum motor oil. Once the industry standard, petroleum motor oils’ well-earned reputation for forming sludge, gums and varnishes as they break down has led industry insiders and even weekend car enthusiasts to embrace synthetic motor oils.

Because of their ability to resist the stresses of high temperature oxidation and evaporation loss, synthetic motor oils are far more resistant to sludge and deposit formation, enabling vehicle engines to run more smoothly and offer greater fuel efficiency.

Cars can crack the 100,000 mile barrier and still be reliable. During the recession of 2009, many vehicle owners began looking at their cars and trucks as more long-term investments. Whereas the years leading up to the recession saw many vehicle owners trading their cars in after three or four years, the post-recession vehicle owner now wants more bang for his buck.

Fortunately, it’s now entirely possible to keep a car running strong for 100,000 miles or more. And many of the keys to doing so don’t require a trip to the mechanic. With the advancements in engine design, breakthroughs in engine metallurgy and the use of synthetic lubricants, motorists are now keeping their vehicles 24 percent longer than they were in 2002. Money not spent on new vehicles is money in the pocket.

The vehicle maintenance industry wants to keep cars on the road. In the past year or so, much of America got its first real glimpse into the American auto industry, and many did not like what they saw. Popular auto lines Pontiac and Saturn were discontinued, and consumer confidence in American auto makers continued to wane.

One overlooked element, however, was the positive advancements made in the vehicle maintenance industry. Synthetic motor oils, for example, greatly enhance a vehicle’s performance. The uniform molecular structure of synthetic oil helps engines operate more efficiently by reducing friction and wear, improving performance in extreme temperatures and, best of all, by improving fuel economy.

So while conventional wisdom might infer the auto industry has regressed during the 21st century, the advancements made in automotive maintenance technology have enabled vehicles to perform better and last much longer, helping drivers save money while restoring their peace of mind.


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