Have you ever noticed that one category of drivers always try to choose spare parts for their car on their own, not trusting either proven services or official dealers? Often they buy good analogs.
So what is the point of such independence? The fact is that the quality of many car parts is characterized not so much by the brand awareness of the parts, but by the timing and correctness of their storage.
Five spare parts with a limited shelf life
It may seem surprising, but the car parts, like many food products, have an expiration date. Once it expires, a part can lose a number of its functions and even cause a chain reaction, crippling neighboring parts of the vehicle.
Such items with a limited shelf life include the following parts:
- Alternator and timing belts. As rubber products, these important under-hood parts have an average shelf life of three to six years. However, reverent drivers try to choose belts for their cars no more than two years old since their production, and rightly so.
- Silentblocks. Actually, the same rubber and practically the same properties, which lose with time, even if proper storage with observance of all temperature and humidity conditions is arranged for such parts.
Rubber likes to work, and without load for a long time it becomes flabby, often dries out and even cracks. The average age of a new silentblock that can still be installed on a vehicle is 5 years.
- battery. A new battery that has just left the factory does not stop processes that can no longer be reversed to the positive dynamics of the device. In any case with time the resource reserve of the car battery will be depleted to such an extent that it will be possible only to scrap it.
The average life of this part is not more than 1.5 years, and the best life is not more than 6 months.
- Shock absorbers. Being the most important elements of suspension, these parts must have an impeccable storage history, which most often has dark spots on its reputation. Few sellers even understand how and for how long these parts should be stored, so the earlier you buy shock absorbers in the store, the more probable that they will not be troublesome in the future.
High storage time first of all affects the oil quality, which leads to increased wear and failure of shock absorbers. It is recommended to buy parts with a shelf life of not more than 10 years.
- Car tires. Most manufacturers do not recommend buying wheels that are more than five years old. During this term, the rubber products fully retain the factory qualities, but then irreversible changes start occurring in their structure, affecting not only the comfort of driving, but also the degree of wear of the products, and the safety of the vehicle operation.
The spare parts, having only metal elements in their construction, such as clutch or ball-bearings, most likely, will not have such a critical shelf life. Though even the hub bearings have a warranty shelf life which rarely exceeds two years, and even the unpacked ones have a shelf life of not more than 12 months.
Five liquid consumables with a limited shelf life
Calling stabilizer bars and steering racks as spare parts, we often forget, that all liquid expendables fit under the same terms, without which it is not simply difficult to drive the car, but sometimes even impossible.
If even shock absorbers have an expiration date, the following elements of underhood space have one.
For example, the brake fluid has a relatively low shelf life – about 2 years from the date of production when stored in plastic bottles. When using tin containers, the shelf life increases dramatically up to five years.
Ignoring deadlines can cause you to fill your car with a fluid that has already decomposed and will not perform its function fully.
The same applies to automatic and manual transmission oils, as well as engine oils. Their shelf life is a bit higher, but “mineral” should not be stored for more than three years, and “synthetic” – more than five. Irreversible processes in fuel and lubricants occur under the negative influence of sunlight and oxygen, condensation and temperature fluctuations.
The main hazard of expired oil is precipitated additives, which may deprive engine of its lubricating ability and lead to increased wear.
But the shelf life of antifreeze is determined not by the manufacturer, but by the state. It is allowed to store and sell coolants on condition that they are not older than 5 years from the date of their production. During this time the properties of the fluid does not change in any way, no sediment precipitates, and filled into the engine, it will honestly work off the due time resource without unnecessary problems.
But if you pour an expired fluid into the engine, the problems will begin to develop on their own. Usage of expired antifreeze leads to intensive scale formation in a radiator up to complete blockage of free passage or depressurization.
The freon can be stored for the same five years without any problems provided the factory hermetically sealed container is used and all the storage conditions are observed. However many producers give no more than one year warranty period. The main reason of such low shelf life is evaporation of the gas fraction of the composition. The State Inspectorate for Control of Refrigerants Preservation is responsible for controlling the rules for storage of refrigerants.
The terms of storage of antifreeze liquid are also not high – from two to three years in average. Expired antifreeze liquid is not dangerous for a vehicle, but some of its key properties can be lost because of alcohol weathering from liquid composition.
Many auto experts do not recommend buying even an expired antifreeze fluid, giving preference to fresh products only. Expired shelf life can provoke sludge precipitation, which will clog the ducts and cause a lot of trouble to the car owner.