Tips & Tidbits
Tips & Tidbits

AAA Troubleshooting Tips for Owners of Older Autos

When it comes to purchasing an automobile, sticker shock may prompt some consumers to consider buying used. And that means the family sedan may need a few repairs along the way.


A University of Michigan study predicts the cost of some new cars and trucks will jump 20 percent by the year 2000. Experts say people will continue to keep their cars longer, and data from the American Automobile Manufacturers Association supports this claim. Average age of a passenger car in 1941: 5.5 years; average age of a passenger car in 1994: 8.4 years.


"Especially during the summer driving season, when more people are on the roads and hotter temperatures may demand more of your vehicle, it's important to do some preventative maintenance to make sure the vehicle is in good shape" said Gary Klopp, Automotive Service Specialist, AAA Minnesota/Iowa.


AAA offers these suggestions and encourages motorists have their technician check the following:


Alternator: Loose wiring can make your alternator appear defective. Make sure the technician checks for loose connections and performs an output test before replacing it.


Battery: Corroded or loose battery terminals can make the battery appear dead or defective.


Starter: What appears to be a defective starter may actually be a dead battery or poor connection.


Exhaust System: A loud rumbling noise under your vehicle indicates the need for a new muffler or exhaust pipe. Quality replacement parts obviously cost more, but may be worth the additional expense down the road. For this reason, always consider using quality replacement parts. Make sure you understand exactly what the warranty covers, because many exhaust system warranties have exceptions and limitations.


Tuneup: The old-fashioned "tuneup" may not apply to your vehicle. Fewer parts need to be replaced on newer vehicles other than belts, spark plugs, hoses and filters. Follow recommendations in your owner's manual.