No matter what kind of car you drive, at some point you are going to need to buy auto parts. A modern car can have a few thousand parts, of which about a third are moving and will wear out over time. Most of the time, these parts would be considered normal wear and tear, but sometimes not. You will need to buy auto parts at either a franchise dealership or an auto aftermarket store. Let’s start by taking a look at what you will have to replace if you keep your car for a few years or longer. (See the related article, "Where to Buy Auto Parts for Modern Cars.")
Short-term Auto Parts Replacement
The most obvious maintenance item is changing your motor oil and the filter (be sure to use synthetic oil, such as Mobil 1). Modern oils can go 5,000 miles and I think that is a reasonable interval. Be sure to check the oil after every other fill-up.
The air filter should last three years or 30,000 miles. It is easy to check. If you live on a dusty road, you will need to change it sooner.
Disc brake pads can last five years or say 30,000 miles. This is totally dependent on how you drive. If you keep your distance from the car ahead of you, and drive defensively, and pay attention to what is happening up in front of you, your pads will last longer because you won’t be tapping the brake all the time.
Medium-term Auto Parts Replacement
The timing belt and serpentine belt (which drives the accessories) should last five or six years. If you put off changing the belt, and you have a modern overhead camshaft motor, there is a possibility that the belt could break. If you have what is called an “interference motor,” the failed belt would cause a piston to hit a valve and destroy the cylinder head. This would be a very expensive fix because it would usually destroy the motor. Have the belts inspected regularly.
Your battery should last four or five years. I just saw a sign at our Interstate Battery store that said, “One in four car batteries needs to be replaced.” This is more a function of the climate than mileage or how you drive. Remember not to leave your lights on, because when a battery discharges it loses its half-life. If you are not driving the car regularly, be sure to put a trickle charger on the battery when in storage.
The fuel pump and water pump should last for six to eight years. However, if you run your car until it is almost out of gas, this might cause the fuel pump to fail because it is not being lubricated properly. If you let your radiator coolant fall below the proper level, and the car overheats, your water pump will likely fail shortly thereafter.
Long-term Auto Parts Replacement
Tire life will depend on the way you drive, so avoid peeling out, hard cornering, fast stops, and other generally aggressive behavior. If you keep the wheel alignment within specs, your tires should last five to seven years.
Shocks and struts are designed to give a long life, and I have seen cars that still have a decent ride after 100k miles. After 75k miles, however, the ride can start getting a little bouncy. You will probably not notice it at first, but some of your passengers will.
The alternator should last for the life of the car, but two of the most misdiagnosed problems are a bad alternator and a bad fuel pump, so make sure that they are tested properly before you replace them.
If you have been driving for a while, you will probably remember having to have your automatic transmission rebuilt at some point, and that can be pretty costly. But today’s automatics are designed to last the life of the vehicle, as long as you are not popping wheelies at stoplights.
Other Types of Auto Parts Replacement
Now here is where it gets a little scary: engine sensors. Since I have an older Land Rover, I am very familiar with sensors because they cause the Check Engine Light to come on (which means you cannot pass a smog test). If you have an Onboard Diagnostic Device (OBD) reader, you can find a fault code, which you can then research. In most cases, it is an oxygen sensor, and the bad news is that there are generally four, two upstream and two downstream of the catalytic converter, and they are costly.
Other surprises you do not want to see are the Crankshaft Position Sensor, coolant sensor, and throttle position sensor, and I have seen all of them. In my case, I also had to replace the Mass Airflow Sensor, which is fairly common on older cars with over 100k miles.
The Cost of Auto Parts Replacement
Replacing auto parts is big business!
A 1919 forecast by Hedges and Company estimates that just online parts and accessory sales will be over $12 billion in the U.S. They estimate it will reach $19 billion by 2022, an annual growth rate of 14 – 16%!
They reference something they call “digital influence” which is what you do when you search and read information and reviews online, and watch advertising and video content. The four most popular are a search engine (74%), online auto parts retailer website (73%), manufacturer website (57%) and automotive forums (47%).
When you find that you need to replace your tires, it can get expensive very quickly. A set of tires for a big SUV or big pickup will easily exceed a thousand dollars. The tires for my Jaguar XJR have a wear rating of “5,” and when I asked what that meant, I was told that the average tire has a wear rating of “1,” so my tires will wear out five times as fast!
Ways to Buy Auto Parts
Many consumers live paycheck to paycheck today, and just do not have an extra $1,000 or $1,200 for a new set of tires. This is where CrossCheck comes to the rescue for consumers as well as sellers. When you need tires, the safety and security of your family is concerned, and you do not want to risk a blowout with a bald tire!
With CrossCheck and its Multiple Check service standing in, the tire store will let you write four checks and designate the deposit date for each check over an established period (usually 30 days). The store does not charge interest or perform a credit check; CrossCheck does all the heavy lifting. The dealer knows they will always be paid in full, even if the check bounces, and the consumer gets to keep their family safe and sound on the road. It’s a win-win for both the seller and the consumer. CrossCheck helps make a sale happen by giving the consumer with a little extra time to pay, and this makes for a happy and hopefully repeat customer in the future!
If you sell tires at a dealership or an auto aftermarket store, you should download our free guide to learn how Multiple Check can help you increase sales and mitigate risk while saving time and money. Your customers like you for it, too.
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