Service Life Examples
For maintainable items, those wear-out items that are determined by logistical analysis to be provisioned for sparing and replacement will assure a longer service life than manufactured items without such planning. A simple example is automotive tires - failure to plan for this wear out item would limit automotive service life to the extent of a single set of tires.
An individual tire's life follows the bathtub curve, to boot. After installation, there is a not-small probability of failure which may be related to material or workmanship or even to the process for mounting the tire which may introduce some small damage. After the initial period, the tire will perform, given no defect introducing event such as encountering a road hazard (a nail or a pothole), for a long duration relative to its expected service life which is a function of several variables (design, material, process). After a period, the failure probability will rise; for some tires, this will occur after the tread is worn out. Then, a secondary market for tires puts a retread on the tire thereby extending the service life. It is not uncommon for an 80,000-mile tire to perform well beyond that limit.
It may be difficult to obtain reliable longevity data about many consumer products as, in general, efforts at actuarial analysis are not taken to the same extent as found with that needed to support insurance decisions. However, some attempts to provide this type of information have been made. An example is the collection of estimates for household components provided by the Old House Web which gathers data from the Appliance Statistical Review and various institutes involved with the homebuilding trade.
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