|"Burners are not made to last real long."|
I wouldn't necessarily say that. I have had several DVD Burners die on me, but my first one (that cast $260) is still kicking.
However, the age of a drive does bring other issues, most notably firmware. The firmware for DVD drives helps it to identify and correctly write to different brands/speeds of media.
My oldest drive will not burn to many current media because the firmware isn't able to correctly identify it. Unfortunately there is no new firmware for it. You should also try to look for new firmware for your drive.
Also, there are some drive/media combinations that just don't work well together. There are some sites out there that attempt to document this, but I'm not sure of the quality of their data (http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/DVDMediaFormats/). And this is not much of a problem as it was in the early days of DVD burners, but it still can pose a problem.