Car parts expired.Nothing lasts forever. Not even auto parts. Here's our checklist on what will need replacing.
Although it isn't a habit with most of us, checking the date of manufacture or expiry date of anything one buys is a generally wise thing to do. And believe it or not, this advice applies to car parts and accessories too. Like all things man-made, these too have a finite life, after which they may either not work as effectively as they should or even require immediate replacement.
A typical belief is that if your car is maintained properly it will keep working just as well. But one needs to get out of the “don’t-fix-it-if-it-isn't-broken” mind frame, as running a car with aging components will surely invite bigger servicing bills later. This happens as the aging part affects the proper working of other components which then start to age at a much faster pace than normal.
Here is a checklist for those who believe that car parts, last as long as the car's life.
1. Child Seats
Child seats are not made to last forever. Over time the base of the seat can develop cracks which may shatter in a crash, and belts can become slightly elastic after years of use. Most seats have the date of expiry or manufacture stamped on the seat base. As a general rule the seat will expire 6 years after the date of manufacture.
2. AC Refrigerant
Ideally, the car conditioner should be checked on an annual basis. One should check the air conditioning system in the vehicle if the air coming out of the AC vents is not cold enough (it should be really cold). Nonetheless a gas recharge is recommended from time to time.
3. Cabin Air Filter
Cabin air filter life depends on the quality of the air in the area where the car is mostly driven and can vary quite a bit. But generally it will need replacement after a car has been driven 25,000km to 30,000km. A sure sign that your cabin filter needs a replacement is when you turn on the defrost but the air flow in the cabin is very weak. Also when you turn the blower switch to high, the noise level goes up but the air flow from the vent remains weak or low.
4. Air Bags
Airbags and seat tighteners should be changed every 10 to 15 years. But if there are visible tear in the belts then change immediately.
5. Air Filter
Normally one should change it every 20,000km or after a year, whichever comes first. Clogged air filters affect the fuel-air mix. Expiry date is mentioned in the manual or check with the car dealer or the manufacturer.
6. First Aid Kit
Nowadays nearly all cars come with some kind of first aid. Some contain ointments and many different types of dressing which may have different expiray dates. But most kits have at least 3 to 5 years of life before they can be discarded.
7. Timing Belt
The changing interval varies from manufacturer and also the car model. Ideally, it is changed between 60,000 and 80,000 kilometres and this is generally mentioned in the car manual. If it is not mentioned, check with the manufacturer. If a faulty belt is used then it might lead to engine seizure over time. Even the valves and piston can gets affected, leading to a high repair cost.
Should be changed every six years. Minimum tread depth should be 3mm. DOT-Number on the outer edge indicates the production week and year of manufacture. A tyre with the DOT number 5011 was manufactured in week 50 of year 2011.
9. Engine Oil
The change of engine oil depends mainly on the manufacturer specifications but generally change is recommended every 12-18 months or 10,000km. With old engine oil the viscosity is reduced and so its lubricant value is also lowered which can lead to higher wear and tear. It can result in serious damage to the engine.
10. Puncture Sealant
The expiry date of a tyre punture sealant can be from 3 to 8 years from the manufacturing date in a closed bottle. If the bottle is opened then a half filled bottle's contents expire much faster.
11. Brake Oil
Brakes are synonymous with the safety of a car. The braking system should be checked and maintained after every 10,000km. The brake oil should be totally replaced after every three years. But if you feel that the liquid inside the brake oil container looks dark and thick then it is essential that you change it immediately to prevent any loss of braking power.
12. Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers should ideally be changed after every 2-3 years. An expired can might lead to a possible leak in a heated cabin and loss of effectiveness, making them incapable if extinguishing fires when confronted with a fire emergency.