Unless you have been living completely off the grid, you have noticed that prices are up for everything. This is especially in the automotive market. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average new car price had set a record high in November of $48,681, which was $2,250 higher than the previous year. Similar reporting from Financial Samurai indicates the prices are even higher this year. The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that these high prices are motivating people to hang on to their cars longer. A recent AAA report says, ”since 2000, the average vehicle age has risen from 8.9 years to 12.1 years “.
If you are among the many drivers who would like to keep your car as long as possible, these tips are for you! Here are six important ways to take care of your vehicle and extend its service life:
Regular Maintenance – Adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is crucial. This includes routine oil changes, filter replacements, fluid checks, and other scheduled services. Regular maintenance helps identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.
Safe Driving Habits – Practicing safe driving habits can significantly contribute to your car’s longevity. Avoid aggressive driving, sudden acceleration or braking, and excessive speeding. These behaviors can put unnecessary stress on the vehicle’s components and increase wear and tear.
Keep it Clean – Regularly washing and waxing your car helps protect the paint and body from rust, corrosion, and other damage caused by dirt, road salt, and environmental factors. Cleaning the interior, including vacuuming and conditioning the upholstery, prevents dirt buildup and keeps the cabin in good condition.
Proper Tire Care – Maintaining the correct tire pressure, rotating the tires regularly, and ensuring proper wheel alignment are essential for extending tire life and improving fuel efficiency. Regularly inspect the tires for signs of wear and replace them when necessary.
Timely Repairs: Addressing any mechanical issues promptly can prevent them from escalating into more significant problems. If you notice unusual sounds, vibrations, or warning lights, have your car inspected by a qualified mechanic. Ignoring minor issues can lead to major breakdowns and expensive repairs.
Storage and Shelter – When your car is not in use for an extended period, it’s best to store it in a covered and sheltered area. This protects the vehicle from harsh weather conditions, UV rays, and potential damage from falling debris or tree sap. If possible, avoid parking in direct sunlight for extended periods as it can cause damage to the interior and exterior surfaces.
Remember, proper care and maintenance are crucial for maximizing the service life of your car. Regular servicing, safe driving habits, and preventive measures can help you avoid unnecessary repairs and ensure your vehicle remains reliable for years to come.
Auto safety is always a great topic to discuss and recently there has been much buzz about a fourteen-year-old Pennsylvania student who invented a new vehicle safety feature that earned her a $25,000 prize.
Over the decades, automobile design and engineering have made tremendous strides in terms of safety features, including strengthening of the vehicle frame to prevent vehicle collapse in the event of a rollover. Unfortunately, this strong A-frame design leads to serious visibility problems for drivers, as the A-frame pillars create “blind spots” in the driver’s viewable area. According to NHTSA data, nearly 840,000 accidents per year are related to blind spot issues.
Fourteen-year-old Alaina Gassler of West Grove, PA seems to have hit upon a viable solution to this issue with her blind spot reduction system, which makes the A-frame pillars in a vehicle effectively disappear! Alaina’s system employees the use of a webcam, a projector, a 3D printed adapter and retro-reflective fabric. It is demonstrated in the video below:
The invention, which she completed while in eighth grade, earned Alaina a grand prize of $25,000 from the Society for Science and the Public’s Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) science and engineering competition.
Congratulations to this incredible young woman on her achievement!
Testing has begun in California on a new tech innovation that could completely change vehicle registration in the future – digital license plates. While they will initially be an optional accessory that vehicle owners purchase from dealers, if testing goes well, they could eventually replace those familiar government issued metal plates.
The new digital plates, developed by a company called Reviver Auto, utilizes a technology similar to that used by the Amazon for its Kindle E-reader. According to the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento is first city to test the new digital license plates on 24 of the city’s fleet vehicles. The units will have the capability to display public service announcements, amber alerts, and other similar types of information.
The California DMV plans to offer the new plates through dealers in conjunction with Reviver Auto. Vehicle owners who opt for the digital plate will be able to register their vehicles electronically, eliminating the need to put updated sticker tags on their plates each year.
The digital plates offer particular advantages for fleet managers, who can collect real-time information from fleet vehicles including on-road tracking. The digital plates can be configured to display personal messages or even mini-billboard advertising, which displays only when the vehicle comes to a stop.
A security advantage that digital license plates offer fleet owners and drivers is that in the event of theft, the plate can tell both the owner and law enforcement the location of the vehicle. The digital plates are engineered with tamper-resistant and anti-theft features.
According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the digital plates will first be sold at dealerships in California and Arizona. Next, they will be available in Nevada, Maryland and Pennsylvania before going overseas to be tested in Dubai.
For private consumers who want the technology the price is steep. They cost $699 for individual consumers, plus installation, along with a monthly fee of about $7.
Workers on the first moving assembly line put together magnetos and flywheels for 1913 Ford autos" Highland Park, Michigan
The name of Henry Ford is synonymous with motor vehicles. In fact, the motor company that was started by this American industrialist still bears his name and remains a leading automotive giant today. Though Henry Ford did not actually invent the automobile, he is the man responsible for transforming what was originally a luxury item for wealthy elites into a more affordable and life changing investment for middle class households. It was Ford’s implementation of the first automotive assembly line that changed everything, and it happened on this day in history.
Henry Ford introduced the Ford Model T in 1908. His goal was to “build a motor car for the great multitude” by making autos affordable for middle class Americans. Ford understood not only automobile design, but also the importance of innovation in the manufacturing process. In order to produce an affordable auto, he knew he must lower the high cost of producing them.
On October 7th, 1913, Ford’s factory in Highland Park, Michigan ran the first continuously moving auto assembly line. The chassis was pulled through the various work stations on the factory floor using a motorized rope pulley system. This cut the labor hours to complete one Model T nearly in half, from 12.5 hours to six. Further refinements in the assembly line process reduced the time required to a mere 93 minutes of labor. This substantial increase in productivity brought about by the moving assembly line allowed Ford Motor Company to drastically reduce the cost of the Model T from its introductory price of $850 to $360. Sales more than tripled that of the previous year. Ultimately Ford was able to produce one Model T every 24 seconds, and the price dropped to below $300. Before it was discontinued in 1927, over 15 million Model T’s were made and comprised nearly half of all automobiles sold in the world at that time.
His innovative manufacturing plan took Henry Ford’s vision from a dream to reality, and changed the way we live, travel and work today.