Automobiles

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Up until the sixties and seventies on the weekends I used to see people in their driveways and garages repairing or doing maintenance on their cars. I hardly ever see that anymore. It used to be that if you wanted to have your car repaired you could just go to any repair shop. Today you have to consider what the repair involves. If its something complicated you need to take it to the dealer and pay the big bucks or same time next year youre probably going to have the same problem. To know why this is just lift up the hood of a car from that era and then do the same thing to an automobile today.
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Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Up until the sixties and seventies on the weekends I used to see people in their driveways and garages repairing or doing maintenance on their cars. I hardly ever see that anymore. It used to be that if you wanted to have your car repaired you could just go to any repair shop. Today you have to consider what the repair involves. If its something complicated you need to take it to the dealer and pay the big bucks or same time next year youre probably going to have the same problem. To know why this is just lift up the hood of a car from that era and then do the same thing to an automobile today.
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I remember car maintenance in the 50's and 60's Change oil every 3000, points, condenser, plugs, air filter every 5000 > 6000 miles...
Thank God that's gone. No distributor to fuss with. My book sez "change plugs at 100K miles", Change oil when the light comes on ( usually 6000 mi. ) And somehow, they've positioned the air intake so my air filter doesn't really get dirty ! New paints mean wax once a year... ( if that )
It's worth the $20+ for a shop to change the oil & filter. Too many home mechanics used to dump it in the ground, or in the storm sewers......
About the only job left for me is filling the gas tank, and the windshield washer reservoir..... ( and since they've sized it up to a gallon, even that is a rare job.)
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"Pat" wrote: [snip]

More like it's because people are too lazy to actually do work anymore, let alone actually *learn* about something that requires it.
This is linked with a major decline in common sense, the main culprit of which is a steadfast refusal to accept reality over fantasy in our society.
Jon
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Jon Danniken wrote:

Yep, common sense isn't very common anymore.....
(One of my earlier sig lines...)
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Reminds me of something I heard just the other day...
    "You're the smartest Down Syndrome person I know".

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I agree with you on the lazy people thing Jon. There's a lot of things people don't do that they used to do without thinking twice. Some examples:
(Oh, and don't forget the Dealer Only $ecial tools often required.)
--
I still change my own oil because I want to know what kind of oil is going
in it. I would have no idea if Econo-Change is putting in Castrol or
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Joe wrote:
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
What is not obvious is that people have started to make their homes just as complicated.
Pat wrote:
So if fewer people are changing their own oil, then there's a reason other than engine complexity because engine complexity doesn't factor in to an oil change.
Yes it does. I remember when ever I needed to change my oil filer I could just reach under the car and remove it. Now in most cars there is no way to get to it unless you lift up the front and even then the filter is placed in such an awkward location that your whole arm gets drenched in oil along with all the other components under it by the time you take it off.
Cars are more reliable and need fewer repairs, so the total number of repairs per car is going down. In fact, engine complexity might be responsible for this as points and carburetors have been eliminated.
I dont think cars as a whole are more reliable. I would like to see some statistics on this to believe it. I am sure each component in a car is more reliable than it was but there are many more components than before which significantly raises the possibility that one or the other is going to break.
Lifestyle changes including more single women who do not have "a man to fix the car.
Employment changes including the shift from mechanical/blue collar jobs to office/white collar jobs so that many people do not have basic skills and tools.
Thats a very good point that I had not considered. Thank you for pointing that out but I have to disagree with you about tools. Todays vehicles require many exotic and expensive tools that the old cars never did.
Change in retail so that more places are open evenings and weekends.
Im not sure if I understand what you are trying to say there.
Air conditioning. People are not comfortable going out in the sun/ heat and working. TV and other entertainment. The generation that worked on their cars did not spend the weekend watching TV or playing video games.
Those are other very good reasons that I also had not considered. Thank you again for that knowledge.
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On Fri, 8 May 2009 11:57:46 -0700 (PDT), Molly Brown

Absolutel, most definitely yes. Todays WORST cars are more reliable than the best cars 35 years ago..
When did you last hear of a car going in for a ring and valve job? Used to be very common before 65000 miles. Now the vast majority will run 200,000 miles without being opened up Carb overhauls every couple of years were commonplace. Today's fuel injection is almost totally maintenance free. You needed to change plugs, points and condenser every year. Today's electronic ignition is basically a lifetime system. Spark plugs last 100,00 miles or more. A muffler and tail pipe was doing good to last 18 months - today many cars go their whole life - 200,000 miles or more on the original pipes.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

My 26 year old daughter changes her own snowtires and has done other work on her old car. Like many of her generation, she spent big money to buy a brand new car - and all service is included for the first six years. Most people don't drive cars long enough after they are off warranty to make owner mainenance ascompelling as it was in years past.

For basic mainenance they actually take LESS tools. You don't need a tach/dwell meter or timing light to tune them up. You don't need fealer guages to adjust points or valves - and plugs are not regapped any more. Disk brakes do not require adjustment so the adjuster tools are not needed either. You can do the basic maintenenace on today's cars with a basic set of hand tools and possibly the tool to release the clips on the fuel line to change the fuel filter. An OBD2 scanner to check codes is very reasonably priced.
And you can buy decent quality tools for a lot fewer hours of work today (or at least last year) than 30 years ago.

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Clarence Snyder wrote:
My 26 year old daughter changes her own snowtires and has done other work on her old car. Like many of her generation, she spent big money to buy a brand new car - and all service is included for the first six years. Most people don't drive cars long enough after they are off warranty to make owner mainenance ascompelling as it was in years past.
I dont know your daughter so I cannot say anything about her but as far as people in general goes from what I heard on MSNBC most people trade in their car before the warranty expires and buy a new car but with the payments of the old car added on to the price of the new car and they keep repeating this every few years. What eventually happens is that they go further and further into debt as the years go by. This doesnt seem like a smart thing to do.
For basic maintenance they actually take LESS tools.
I wasnt referring to basic maintenance. A lot of people I know used to even rebuild their own engines. Now you need a whole encyclopedia of tools to do the same thing.
And you can buy decent quality tools for a lot fewer hours of work today (or at least last year) than 30 years ago.
If by decent quality you mean made in U.S.A. with a lifetime warranty then I think youre wrong. It cost just as many hours of work as before to purchase them. If youre referring to the junk made in China as decent than you have a poor appreciation of quality.
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On Fri, 8 May 2009 18:39:11 -0700 (PDT), Molly Brown

Her first car was an old Colt 200 5 speed bought used and abused for $1800. A hundred thoiusand Km later she got what she paid for it. Her 1988 Neon was purchased used from her aunt (my sister) for $5k and was slowly composting away. As assistant operations manager at the insurance brokerage, with her car parked with the partners' Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus, BMW, Cadillac and King Ranch 4X4 she thought she should have something a bit better looking. With a $50K income she figured she'd buy ONE brand new car, exactly as she wanted it. Black 5 speed Civic coupe - she wanted an SR, but there were no black SR 2008 coupes left in Canada so no sunroof and 4 wheel disk brakes.
She got $2k for the Neon after driving it for 5 years
None of her friends - boyfriends included, can drive the standard - so she's a bit of a novelty in her circle.

They used to HAVE to rebuild engines. With the exception of GM, very few engines actually require rebuilding if properly maintained these days. The odd head gasket etc, but valve jobs, ring jobs and bearing replacements are pretty rare today on a vehicle that is still worth spending anything on.

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A friend of mine just asked me if I thought he should trade this truck for a new one. I thought it was still relatively new and he said he's had it for 2.5 years. He as a 5 year loan. He thinks its a good idea to trade while prices are down. I told him to hold on to it for another 5 or 6 years so that it's paid off and he has almost enough money to buy the next truck for cash. He grumbled about how I am a moron and that he'll have to start making repairs "soon". I told him that repairs were cheaper than payments and that 2.5 years old is a pretty new vehicle. ******************************************************** I guess if you buy right and trade at the right time, you can do OK with trading up often while the car is at peak used value. I tend to keep my cars for 10 to 14 years though, buying a new one every 6 or so and junking the oldest one. Typical payments are $500 or so a month and that buys a lot of repairs. One year I had $800 in repairs over a couple of months. That means I still drove 10 1/2 months with no expenses other than normal oil changes. Thousands of dollars saved.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I've never made a car loan payment in my life, and seldom even look at cars less than 4 years old. This last vehicle, an 05 minivan with 43k on it when I bought it, was the first vehicle I ever paid over 10k for. As little as I drive any more, it BETTER last at least 6-7 years. My road trip car is a 99 Accord with 103k on it- had it for six-plus years now. Based on other Hondas in the extended family, I am expecting it to make it to 200k, assuming I remember to get the rubber band replaced one of these days soon.
Yeah, I'm a cheap SOB, but a fancy ride ain't gonna get me a woman, so why spend money I don't need to? One high MPG car, and one quasi-truck, meets 99% of my vehicle needs. If I ever need a real truck for a day or three, I have friends or the rental place down the road.
-- aem sends....
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I looked at used but found nothing that seemed to be a big cost advantage for me. I drive too many miles to buy a high mileage and the cars with about 25% of use already used were only 25% less in price. Buying new, I get to choose my options, color, etc and have that initial trouble free portion of driving too. Since I'm keeping it for many years, having what I truly want is a desirable feature. OTOH, if you find that little old lady that drove only to church on Sunday, you can get a great deal.
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Utter nonsense.
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Right, but the problem has nothing to do with "not having been stressed", and *everything* to do with not having been *lubricated* for five years because the car was only driven ten or twenty miles a week and the owner thought it wasn't needed. The idea that ball joints and tie rods need to be "stressed" to keep them from breaking is complete and utter nonsense. You clearly don't understand what you're talking about.
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Oh, give it a rest. What planet do you live on, where expressways are full of potholes, and city streets aren't?

Sounds to me like you need to drive more carefully, and/or take better care of your cars.

That isn't what I said -- that's what *you* said.
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On Sun, 10 May 2009 21:13:41 -0700 (PDT), Pat

If the car has 15000 miles on it over 8 years with a little old lady or 1 year on the highway, what's the difference as far as wear goes? Which one will fail first????
According to your theory the little old lady's car would fail first.
I say you are wrong.
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On Mon, 11 May 2009 21:56:36 -0700 (PDT), Pat

Not my experience, if the car has been maintained. At least with Toyotas. The rubber parts on Toyotas do not seem to be age sensitive at all. It's the piles of pounding that do things in.
Years ago it used to be if an engine was babied for too long, then taken out on the highway and driven hard, something was likely to fail - PARTICULARLY if the oil was changed only according to miles (might get a change every 2 years) Not an issue on todays cars with today's oils - and the fact that engines are basically "broken in" when shipped.
I've been a mechanic since 1969.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I noticed the used market has been like that for a while with no big steep discounts for relatively new vehicles except if you happen to be looking for a fluffed up truck.
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