The government occasionally does us a service, but always inadvertently. One such being that modern vehicles can go longer in between oil changes, tune-ups, coolant changes and other basic maintenance. This decreases the quantity of critical parts one might want to keep on hand – so as to have them in hand in the event they become unavailable at the store – because of the government.
Oil, for instance.
It was once the case that most cars needed an oil change every 3,000 miles or so. That meant at least two oil and filter changes annually, for most car owners. In an America-as-Venezuela situation, that would mean stocking up a lot of oil (and filters) . . . if it was 1981 rather than 2021.
Many modern cars are designed to go 10,000 miles or even more without an oil change – in part because of the endurance of modern oils and in part because modern car engines are designed to be so very tight (close tolerances, fine management of air-fuel ratios, etc.) so as to keep the oil cleaner, longer. Because of government regs – pertaining to emissions control.
If you only drive a few thousand miles in the course of a year – as in the case of a Hunkering Down situation – changing the oil once a year or even longer will be fine. If America slides into Venezuela-hood, you may drive less than a few thousand miles in a year – in which case you might be able to go two years without changing oil – without hurting the engine.
If you change your oil now – and buy enough oil (and a filter) to change it again, eventually – you won’t have worry about oil if the wheels come off the system until 2023.
And that just might be long enough.
Tune ups . . .
Most modern cars, which is all cars made since the early ’90s, need them about as often as most people need major surgery.
People who owned cars made before government regs made it very important for car companies to keep the spark plugs firing hot and just right, the fuel spritzed just so by injectors rather than leaked by carburetors, will remember the twice a year (spring and fall) tuneup. Now it’s the once-a-decade tuneup.
Most modern car ignition systems rarely need any periodic adjustment at all; most modern cars have spark plugs that will still be firing as hot 100,000 miles from now as when new.
If you car is less than five years old and has less than 50,000 miles on it, you will probably not need to worry about a tune-up for at least five more years and another 50,000 miles. If your car is older, you may want to think about pre-emptively checking or having checked the few service items that do occasionally need to be replaced, such as spark plug wires and distributor caps. If your late-model car even has these parts; many no longer do.
Once again, because Uncle – inadvertently.
There are two caveats, though.
One being air filters. These get just as dirty today as they did back in the day. Having an extra on hand will keep the air going into your car’s engine clean for longer if America goes Hugo.
Another item to keep in mind is the fuel filter, which people often forget because it is easy to forget it. The fuel filter is one of those small but linchpin parts; if it clogs up, the fuel doesn’t flow – and your car won’t go. In modern cars, the fuel filter is generally good for 30,000 miles or more but that isn’t the same as forever. Might be good to re-set the clock now – or at least, have a spare in the garage.
Fuel stabilizer, too. This can keep the gas in your tank from going bad from not being used – a situation that could become more common as America becomes more and more like Venezuela. Here, government has decreased the “service interval” – of gas – by instilling it with ethanol, which tends to go bad sooner if not treated with fuel stabilizer. You can extend the life of this adulterated gas for months by treating it and by keeping your tank as full as possible (this helps reduce condensation contamination inside the tank).
Another thing you might do is find real gas. It’s available; just not commonly so. See here to see where you can find it in your vicinity. If you keep three or four 5 gallon jugs of unadulterated gas on hand, sealed tight, you’ll have enough good gas to get where you need to – or run necessary equipment, like a generator – in the event there’s no gas to be had.
Thanks to the government.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)