Fun Facts About Car Maintenance

windshield wiper
Windshield wipers were invented by a woman.

Even if you're serious about maintaining your automobile, you'll enjoy these five fun facts about car maintenance.

Five Fun Facts About Car Maintenance

While there are many things you need to do to keep your car running smoothly, these are a few of the tasks associated with basic automobile maintenance:

  • Changing the oil and replacing the oil filter
  • Rotating and replacing tires
  • Checking and replacing wiper blades
  • Checking fluid levels
  • Checking and replacing brake pads and rotors

While many of these tasks don't seem very exciting, you might be surprised by the following little-known facts about them.

Almost 900 Million Oil Changes Each Year

In 2007, drivers in the United States registered over 254 million passenger vehicles. On average, Americans drive their passenger cars and trucks just over 10,000 miles per year, and they get an oil change every 3,000 miles. That translates to nearly 900 million oil changes!

Different models of cars and trucks take different amounts of oil, but most engines require 5 to 7 quarts. That means that in one year, Americans use at least 1.1 billion gallons of oil in their vehicles. Much of this oil is reused and recycled.

The First Auto Tires Were Like Bike Tires

Decades ago, drivers had to replace their tires far more frequently than we do today. These days, it's not uncommon to get 50,000 miles or more on a single set of auto tires, but this longevity is due to the advanced technology and materials used to produce modern tires. Radial belts, synthetic and natural rubber components, and body plies, or layers, give today's tires a long lifespan.When inventor Philip Strauss designed the first tire in 1911, the structure of tires was very different. These tires were closer in design to bicycle tires, featuring an inner tube that was inflated to provide a firm base for the outer rubber shell.

Windshield Wipers Were Invented by a Woman

Next time you're driving in a rainstorm, you can thank Mary Anderson, who invented windshield wipers in 1903. Anderson was visiting New York City and noticed that the streetcar driver had to keep his window open in a sleet storm in order to reach his arm out of the car and manually clean his windshield with a squeegee. Anderson received a patent for the windshield wiper, but she couldn't sell the invention to the auto companies, who claimed that the device did not have commercial value. After Anderson's patent ran out in 1920, windshield wipers eventually became a standard feature on automobiles.Today, changing windshield wipers is an important part of automotive maintenance. Wiper blades come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and some are even heated to help keep your windshield clean in icy conditions.

Your Car Uses Six Primary Fluids

Think you can get away with just changing your oil? Think again! Believe it or not, you car actually uses six different fluids:

  • Motor oil
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

It's important to replenish and change these fluids according to the car's maintenance schedule, and it's also imperative that you properly dispose of the old fluids. Many of these substances are hazardous to people and animals.

Antilock Brakes Were Invented Over 50 Years Ago

Even though they are a fairly recent safety feature on most passenger cars, antilock brakes have actually been around for half a century. The British company, Road Research Laboratories, created an anti-skid braking system in 1958. The system, called "Maxaret," was used in production in 1966 on the Jensen FF Sports Sedan.

Initially, Maxaret and other antilock braking systems were simply too expensive for automakers, but advances in computerized braking now make it possible to get antilock brakes on almost any new car.

Final Words

While auto maintenance may not be the most scintillating topic of conversation for most people, it's something all vehicle owners have to perform. Next time you're in the waiting room of the car garage, you can entertain the other auto owners with these fun facts about car maintenance.

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Fun Facts About Car Maintenance