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By Peter Vanderveer -
Minuteman Section Technical Editor

The big deal today is keeping value a function of car maintenance. A problem some face is the responsibility of keeping a fine car in top shape, while maintaining a tight budget. The trick is not to let important components like brakes and tires get so thin they might underperform. Once safety for yourself and others is addressed, my advice is don't slack off on any other systems which indirectly support the whole car.

If, for example, a wiper blade starts getting dried out and streaks when the windshield is cold or a little road film has coated the glass - the distraction of hearing the rub of old wiper blades and trying to see clearly through a less than perfectly clean windshield can cause too much of a delay in sensing trouble around you. So you have excellent brakes and tires which are major priority items – great! – but now your need to see clearly out of the windshield is jeopardized, which diminishes the value of the new tires and brakes.

For the overall experience of driving on the roadways today with cell phones in a lot of drivers' hands, people living stressful lives, and many more older people still driving, the car you drive must be in tip top shape. It is not a bad idea to have your oil changes done by the people who do more in-depth repairs on your car, rather than a quick oil and lube drive thru. They don't know your car and can't tell if any concern is brewing within the car. By the time you get it looked at, five or ten thousand miles could go rolling by leaving some part on the car underperforming.

This can also get more expensive as previously it may have been a smaller problem which has now grown undetected into something requiring more resources (money). For example, the fuel filter, which keeps delicate fuel injectors used in the motor from becoming clogged, may become a problem. A simple changing to a new filter might well prevent the much more costly injectors from needing replacement. More importantly, dirty injectors can hamper the car's ability to get out of the way of trouble when a quick burst of acceleration is needed.

Mercedes-Benz owners have made a commitment to safety and comfort in purchasing their cars. This dedicated car company thinks through situations at levels which are truly amazing. Now there is a bag, a Mercedes-Benz technology first, which deploys like an airbag OUTSIDE THE CAR under the front end. This keeps the diving front end level, so the hood doesn't go under the car during a panic braking event! Further this imaginative innovation keeps the whole vehicle level so people are not pitched forward on impact.

Mercedes-Benz has always done things to fulfill an overriding principle of getting ALL DRIVERS from an elderly person driving home to a sixteen year old with little experience home safely.