Car companies are touting great sales and the latest in electronics and safety equipment, but the reality on the road is people are keeping their cars longer, and that’s driving up the age of vehicles.
The September/October edition of AAA Midwest Traveler magazine reports that the average age of light vehicles today is 11.4 years. That is the second consecutive year that the vehicle age has stayed at that level.
“And that age is expected to continue to climb in the coming years,” the magazine reports.
Blame it on tough economic times. The jobless rate for August fell to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent in July. But that’s because a lot of people gave up trying to find work. The economy created a disappointing 142,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
In addition, the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances reported on Thursday that the richest 10 percent in the U.S. saw their median incomes adjusted for inflation go up 2 percent the last three years — rising from $217,900 to $223,200.
But the report said the median income dropped 4 percent for the bottom 20 percent, falling from $15,800 to $15,200. For middle 20 percent, the income drop was 6 percent, going from $51,800 to $48,700.
Can you say widening wealth gap and increasing inequality?
Buying a new car with the latest sound system, GPS and safety features for the bulk of Americans just isn’t in the budget. To keep “old paint” running, though, requires work.
October is Car Care Month, and the Automobile Club encourages people to make sure their automobile — whether newer or older — is properly maintained.
There are “five critical elements that can help ensure the safety of older cars,” AAA reports.
Check the tread depth of tires to ensure that vehicles have good traction.
Good brakes are essential. Make sure brake fluid levels are up and inspected at every oil change.
Check to make sure there are no other fluids leaking from the vehicle. Mechanical failures and breakdowns can result easily if that is a problem.
Wiper blades must efficiently clean windows. If that isn’t the case, be sure to change the wiper blades.
Make sure the engine oil is clean and up to date with regular maintenance.
“Diligent and timely maintenance can help ensure against accidents and costly repairs,” the magazine reports.
...Until today’s hard times get better.