Do car parts have an expiry date?
We were wondering if you know that, should you get into a car accident and your vehicle license has expired, your claim won’t be paid.
If you weren’t aware of this, here’s why: It’s considered an offence to have an outstanding vehicle license, so similarly to how motorists need to stick to the speed limit and obey the rules of the road at all times, they also need to make sure that their licenses are brought up to date every year.
Why do we tell you this?
At Dialdirect, we think the most important part of having insurance is to have clarity and certainty about your cover, so that you know what you’re paying for and where you stand at all times. This means that, come claim-time, you can be sure you’ll be paid out.
But it’s not only the expiration date of your license disc you need to think about; most of your vehicle’s parts have a limited shelf-life, too, and eventually, they’ll need repairs or replacing. Here are some of them you should be aware of:
Because they are tucked safely away within your vehicle and you don’t see them every day, the expiration date of your airbags might not be top of mind.
But do airbags actually have a finite lifespan? The answer is: that depends on your vehicle.
When airbags were first installed in cars, many manufacturers called for an inspection every 10 years or so, simply to err on the side of caution. Nowadays, most cars produced post-1990 have a lifetime guarantee on their airbags; however, if your SRS (supplement restraint system) warning light appears and stays on, it’s best to take your car to the dealer for a check-up as soon as possible to ensure that you’re not driving around with faulty airbags.
2. Motor oil
A range of factors affect the life of your motor oil, such as: Is it synthetic or conventional? What additives are used? How is it stored?
Synthetic vs Conventional
Typically, synthetic oils perform better and last longer than conventional ones. This is because the synthetic oil is refined and distilled, which means that there are fewer impurities than there are in crude oil.
Oil manufacturers often put in additives that help your oil last longer, remain at stable temperatures, prevent the formation of deposits and corrosion, protect other parts of your engine from excessive wear, and more.
If you’re storing motor oil, make sure to keep it in a cool, dark area away from humid or dusty environments. If you’re using it in your vehicle, different rules apply. Modern cars need oil changes less frequently than older ones. These days, most vehicle manufacturers call for an oil change every 12, 000 – 16, 000kms, but some can even go up to 24, 000kms. It’s best to consult your owner’s manual or the vehicle manufacturer if you’re in doubt.
3. Air conditioner refrigerant
Your car’s AC refrigerant doesn’t go off. Nor do you use it all up when you’re driving. So why would you ever need to replace it?
When your car needs more refrigerant, it’s typically due to a leak somewhere, which causes the refrigerant to escape and the system pressure to get low. If your AC isn’t blowing cold, chances are there is a leak that will need to be repaired and your AC re-gassed.
Here’s a quick look at some other vehicle components and how frequently they should be changed:
Air filter: every 20, 000kms or once a year.
Cam belt: varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but typically it needs to be changed every 60, 000 to 80, 000kms.
Tyres: at least every six years, but this is only a guideline. Michelin says that the tyre tread should be a ‘minimum of 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.’
Brake oil: completely replaced every three years.
Now that you know how to ensure that a few of your vehicle’s components remain in optimal condition, choose an insurer who makes sure your car cover is kept up to date, too.