Unless you use your vehicle to tow everyday for work, odds are you haven’t paid much attention to your truck, SUV or crossover’s towing capacity. Maybe you’re looking to buy a boat for some summer fun or just need to rent a trailer to get your belongings from one dwelling to the next. Whatever the reason for pulling something behind your vehicle, it’s important to get a firm grasp on what exactly your towing capacity means. Understanding how each of the components in your vehicle contributes to your overall tow rating can keep you from putting undue stress on your rig and keep you and your family safe.
Watching a vehicle odometer roll over to the 100,000-mile mark used to be a really big deal. It was a short-lived celebration, however; with a few exceptions, many older cars and trucks just didn’t last much beyond their 100,000-mile birthday. Fast forward to today’s vehicles and it’s a vastly different landscape. At the end of 2013, the average age of a vehicle on the road was 11.4 years – an all-time high. Multiply that by the fact that Americans drive, on average, between 10,000 and 12,000 miles annually and the equation yields millions of cars and trucks on the road today displaying more than 100,000 miles on their odometer.
With Valentine’s Day here, it’s time to go all out and lavish your special someone with flowers and chocolates. But don’t let the focus completely slip away from your non-human companions. That’s right—cars need love too, and unlike humans, they’ll never tell you that they’re just not that into you. Here, then, are four heartfelt ways to renew your bond with your vehicle and show it how much you care.
Vehicle belts aren’t that different than the belts that hold up your trousers. They need to fit properly and stay in place, and if they break, sag, or wear out, you’ll probably wish you were wearing a different belt that day.
The same goes for the belts in your car. Your engine compartment is a punishing environment, and while all auto belts are made of materials designed to be both flexible and tough, even the toughest materials will eventually wear out due to the extreme temperatures under the hood.
If you think your mechanic doesn’t have to deal with getting certified like other professionals, you are quite possibly mistaken. We say “quite possibly” because mechanics generally aren’t required by law to get certified in this country, so it’s conceivable that Bub down at the local filling station doesn’t have any meaningful credentials hanging on his wall. However, since the founding of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in 1972, a culture of professionalism has emerged and today about half of the country’s auto mechanics are ASE-certified. There are other kinds of certification, too, and other issues to consider when searching for the right mechanic. We’ll walk you through the details.
Chances are you don’t pay much attention to your vehicle’s battery until it dies, when you get to perform the dreary dual task of waiting for a jump while simultaneously calling for an appointment to get a new battery fitted. Of course, that’s if you’re sure it’s the battery that’s dead in the first place. The only way to be certain is to take it in to be tested. However, it generally helps to know the health of your car battery prior to finding yourself stranded.