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Family Vehicle: 4 Parts That Require Regular Replacement

Besides trips to the gas station, vehicles need periodic attention that includes replacements for four of its most essential parts. Keeping your car in good condition by replacing these components prolongs its life and gives you a more dependable vehicle.

Belts

Vehicles use belts that make the water pump, alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor work. Without these belts, you won’t be able to go far, especially if the alternator belt breaks. Most cars use one or two belts to turn all these parts. The alternator charges the battery that provides electricity to the vehicle’s operation. Without a functioning belt, the car will no longer run since it’s not producing electricity for the battery. The water pump circulates the refrigerant that keeps the engine cooler. If you drive a car with an overheated engine, you will likely cause irretrievable damage to it.

How often you need to change the belt or belts depends on your climate and how much you drive. Hot climates need more frequent belt changes since the high heat in the engine compartment wears them out faster. Cheap or loose belts also tend to wear out faster. Check your belts every time you change the oil and before you head out for a long road trip.

Tires

Tires need periodic replacements. Like belts, they’re made from rubber and they wear based on the number of miles driven, the weather and how they’re treated both on the road and off. Factors that diminish the lifetime of all tires include fast starts and stops, under- and over-inflation, constant exposure to strong sunshine, and driving on rough roads with the wrong tires. Nissan tires should be appropriate for the vehicle, but if you drive a car with road tires on a rough road, it won’t last as long.

Hoses

The hoses for your vehicle carry power steering and brake fluid, as well as the radiator fluid that keeps the engine within acceptable operating temperatures. Leaks of brake or power steering fluid could indicate a hose leak. Bad radiator hoses can cause an overheated engine. When hoses are soft when you squeeze them in a cold engine, it’s usually time to replace them. Your mechanic can check them for you.

Fluids

The components that use belts and hoses also require fluids, along with the brakes, transmission and engine. The engine oil needs to be replaced every 6,000 miles or so depending on the driving conditions and the manufacturer’s recommendations. City traffic is considered the roughest condition. Highway driving is considered the easiest on vehicles since it has few starts and stops and the engine runs at steady speeds. Fluids that require infrequent changing include brakes, power steering and transmission. Air conditioning systems do not use any oil. Water damage can prompt a premature fluid replacement as well as leaks caused by the part or its hoses.

Making these replacements in a timely manner prolongs your vehicle’s lifetime. Be sure you keep the receipts in order to jog your memory and show proof of maintenance should you ever need it.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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