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Modifications in maintenance practices helping drivers get more from their vehicle

On the Road Cover Story

cars.com On the Road Weekly Publication

12:43 PM EST, February 15, 2012

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We’re only one full decade into the 21st century but there have already been plenty of changes in the way we treat our vehicles.

Much of the conventional wisdom from years past in respect to vehicle maintenance has fallen by the wayside, as manufacturers of both vehicles and vehicle maintenance products have changed the way they do business. Many of these changes not only save money, but help cars run better.

* 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’s worked in the past, stick with it." Advancements in automotive technology, however, have led many to abandon that idea, or at least 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 breakdown 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.

* The vehicle maintenance industry wants to keep your car on the road. Many Americans recently got their first real glimpse into the automotive industry and didn’t like what they say. Popular lines such as Pontiac and Saturn were discontinued, and consumer confidence in American automakers continued to wane.

One overlooked element, however, was the positive advancements made in the vehicle maintenance industry.  As noted above, synthetic motor oils can greatly enhance a vehicle's performance. 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.

* Cars can crack the 100,000 mile barrier and still be reliable. During the recession of 2009, many owners began looking at their vehicle as a long-term investment.  While people once traded in their cars after several years, they’re now holding on to them for longer.

Fortunately, it's now 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 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.

-Metro Creative Connection