Archive for May 3rd, 2018|Daily archive page

How Car Technology Impacts Maintenance

Vehicle technology is advancing quickly; and owning and driving a newer car is very different from driving one made just half a decade ago. See how cars have evolved, and what you need to know to keep your engine purring.


Then: In 1968, Volkswagen installed microprocessors that controlled electronic fuel injection.

Now: Vehicles have sophisticated computers that monitor mechanical components and interact with occupants to control temperature, entertainment, directions and more.

Be aware: Working on your own vehicle means risking disconnecting computer sensors that may require recalibrating at a repair facility.

Oil Changes

Then: Oil needed to be changed about every 3,000 miles, and conventional motor oil was the only option.

Now: The mileage interval between oil changes has increased; it varies based on manufacturer recommendations. Drivers can choose between conventional motor oil and synthetic motor oil, which is more effective but costs nearly twice as much.

Be aware: A recent AAA study showed that synthetic oil (which is refined and distilled oil broken down into its basic molecules) offers better engine protection than conventional oil, particularly in vehicles that tow heavy loads, are driven in stop-and-go traffic or are exposed to extreme temperatures.

Dashboard Warning Lights

Then: There were few lights—and when one came on, it usually signaled a serious problem.

Now: There are many lights. Sometimes they signal a problem, such as low tire pressure, or that it’s time to change the oil, but often they simply indicate a component is in use (headlights, cruise control).

Be aware: Read your owner’s manual to learn what each dashboard light means, and never ignore a warning light.

Advanced technology in modern cars can be confusing, so it’s important to read your owner’s manual and get familiar with your vehicle’s high-tech features and the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and care. And because most vehicle components are linked to a computer, maintenance and repairs should be performed by trained technicians at a reputable shop.

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