Cars are like computers

You pay a lot of money for them and you never seem to stop paying.

Could car parts and engines be made to last much longer without needing service?

I am just curious because there are probably certain parts and accessories that are realy not necessary to make the car run and keep on running.

I should have titled this thread capitalism part 1.

Could car parts and engines be made to last much longer without needing service?

Could they??? Sure…but at what cost??? I’ll bet GM/Ford/Toyota can make a car today that will last 500k miles with little to no servicing. But it may cost $300k miles.

I don’t know too many people who can afford a $300k vehicle.

And lets not forget the fact that MOST people don’t keep their new cars that long. Most keep them LESS then 100k miles. So why would you spend that kind of money on a vehicle you’re only going to keep 10 years. And the biggest reason people change cars is they get bored with their car after a few years…so they buy a new one.

Yup. current cars a disposable appliances, just like computers. Apparently that is what the public wants, and that’s all most folks are willing to pay for; so be careful what you wish for…

Most americans are looking for their next car before the even pay off their last overpriced POS, the manufacturers don’t have much incentive to change.

“Could car parts and engines be made to last much longer without needing service?”

They already do. You may not remember when cars needed an oil change every 1000 miles as well as an annual engine overhaul. The owner would be lucky to get 100,000 miles before his vehicle was too worn out for further use. And don’t forget the planned obsolescence of the 1950s, particularly the yearly body styling changes.

Today, manufacturers compete in presenting their cars as being able to last for a very long time. Some even back up their boasts by offering limited lifetime warranties.

“I should have titled this thread capitalism part 1.”

No. It should have been titled Stupid Conspiracy Theory.

For $5,000 to $10,000 dollars, cars could be refurbished to like-new condition. How many people will, though? Few, I fear. Just think, Refurbishing Centers throughout the country!

Most of today’s cars can last at least 200,000 miles. Few make it. The reason few make it are poor maintenance and collusions. How often to people buy a new car because the WANT it not NEED it.

I can remember when a car getting to 100,000 was extremely rare. Today it is common place. The low point was the 70’s.

Consider maintenance as part of the original cost. You won’t fine a better investment. It is like your home. It may last 100 years or more, but don’t put on that new roof or paint and it is not going to make it 30 years.

As for unnecessary parts, that would include A/C cruse control etc. They are not “necessary,” but most people want them. You home does not need A/C but most of us want it. Same with the car.

I have been driving cars for about 48 years. I don’t want to go back to the old days.

Yup, it costs money to keep your car and your computer running. Also, the more you know about how they run, the more money you can save on their maintenance and repair. For example, I have an old Pentium II that I use as a print server and a file server at home. I paid $40 for it five years ago and had to replace its power supply for $30. Pulling and replacing a burned out power supply in a desktop computer is easier than changing the oil in my car. The more you know, the less you pay.

Lorenzo; if cars had as short a life as computers, you would be screaming that they don’t last long enough. True, computers do not require service because they have few moving parts and they operate in a near perfect environment for machinery! Because of rapid technical advancement, conputers will last about 5 years or so with constant use; by that time they are absolete!

Now back to cars; you will remember the very long thread on whether cars were better today than in the fifties and sixties. Most of us agreed today’s cars last longer , but are harder to fix and many items are just replaced, taking all the fun out of doing things yourself.

Lorenzo, there 3 basic sciences at work here with respect to Car Design; ECONOMICS, FINANCE and ENGINEERING. I work with industrial machinery that runs 24/7 all year long. A simple pump you can put in the truck of your car costs more than a new sedan, BECAUSE IT HAS TO OPERATE 8000 hours/year for 5 years! 5 years of non-stop operation is about 40,000 hours; you would drive 2 million miles at 50 mph to get that on your car. Since the average driver does about 15,000 miles per year, a 20 year car would go only 300,000 miles. So cars last long enough for the average driver.

Making cars more durable has been going on for over 30 years, and additional durability, such as all stainless steel exhaust systems would increase the price. So would a rust proof body mad of exotic materials.

People who do nothing but drive for a living would be able to economically justify better durability. So the London Taxi is especially made to be very durable, easy to service, etc. It is a plain. roomy sedan, powered by a Perkins diesel engine, and has durable, barf-proof upholstery, and sturdy hardware. The price is $69,000 and change! You can buy a nice Mercedes for that!Production volume is important too. Economics dictates if you increase the volume the price will drop. That’s what happened to computers.

In summary, Lorenmzo, if all Americans:

  1. Wanted to own the same car for their whole lives
  2. Wanted the car to be rust-proof and virtually indestructable
  3. Wanted a virtually maintenance-free car
  4. Did not care if it made economic sense to own a car that would cost almost as much as a house

Then we would indeed have those very durable cars we could hand down to our children! Since none of the 4 conditions exist, cars will keep within the limits of economics and purchasing power of the customers.

Toyota’s 22RE engine is one of many that will last indefinitely if properly maintained.

Yeah. parts could be made to last much longer. But at some point it’s no longer cost effective. Actually, they already do. In the '60s 100,000 miles was considered the life of the car. Now cars go 100,000 miles before scheduled spark plug changes, and we don’t have to start replacing major components on many cars before 200,000 miles.

Those unnecesary parts and accessories are there to entice people to buy the cars. If you prefer a long lasting vehicle without those trinkets, you can always get a stripped down small pickup like a Tacoma. Me, I like my sliding moon roof, my air conditioning, and my trinkets.

During World War II this was done quite a bit, since new car production stopped in 1942 and did not resume till 1946. In countries with very high import duties, or countries where only companies can import new cars, like Nigeria, refurbishing fluorishes, especially with cheap labor. Imagine you Mercedes trimmed out in the finest tropical hardwoods inside!

In Nigeria, 1980s Mercedes look like new; they are constantly refurbised.

Agree with Joseph. Cars used to be very basic, but that did not mean they were more durable. Our very first family car was a 1941 Chevrolet Stylemaster 6. It had no turn signals, no ashtray (we retrofitted), no cigaret lighter, no windshield washers, no seatbelts, etc.

The car lasted 130,000 miles before the body was rusted out and the engine started using oil. The valves and rings were done at 90,000 miles.

So, a very basic vehicle, such as a small to medium pickup has many safety and comfort features as standard and will last 300,000 miles with regular maintenance.

My former neighbor had 2 daughters in college; she bought them both the cheapest, barebones Honda Civic 2 door coupes. The girls “suffered” without A/C and had to learn to shift gears, but they made it through school without any car worries.

Ok here is the truth. I keep my cars from 8 - 10 years. My 1998 Honda Civic has 103.000 miles on it and I decided to keep it longer. I am not for spending money to keep up with everyone else. I was raised in a fairly poor family and we knew the value of a dollar. We did not spend money we did not have for items we did not need. Some of us do not need a new car every 5 years and some will keep the same computer until it wears out. I was the last guy in my crowd to buy a cd player (got my first one in 1986)and my first computer in 2000. I did not own a vcr until around 1984.
What I am getting at is that owning a new car is not an absolute necessity every five years. Whatever happened to the late 1960’s way of thinking?

I am relieved that you don’t plan to get rid of your 98 Civic because it has 103,000 miles. My 98 Civic has 177,000 miles on it and I plan to keep it until it has at least 300,000 miles. I am tempted to treat myself to a new (used) car just because I think I deserve a new car every ten years, but I am still paying for my motorcycle and that is a good cure for my new car jones.

“The more you know, the less you pay”.

You make a very good point. Many people today don’t care to know very much, and that is unfortunate. One thing that helped the United States during World War II is that many of our servicemen had worked on their cars and it didn’t take a lot of training to put them to work on aircraft engines, ship engines as well as trucks, tanks and Jeeps. A lot of fellows had tinkered with radios, so training them to work on communications equipment and radar wasn’t difficult. The same wasn’t true of our enemey–they had to do extensive training on their soldiers to work on mechanical and electronic equipment.

I used to repair my televisions and radios and even assembled electronic gear from kits made by Heath and EICO. Now, if you look on the back of a piece of electronic equipment, it says “Danger! Do not open. Leave repairs to qualified service personnel”. I remember when radios came with a schematic diagram to aid a person in tracking down a problem. In the mid-1950’s, my dad purchased a LawnBoy mower. In the manual, it showed how to disassemble the engine, carburetor and magneto. I rebuilt this engine several times. I haven’t seen a mower since that shows the owner how to make repairs.

The last television repair I made was a couple of years ago. The television went completely out after a bad electrical storm. Since there was no sound or picture and the pilot light didn’t come on, I figured the problem had to be in the power supply. Ignoring the warning, I removed the back. On the circuit board was a clip holding a fuse that was blown. A fifty cent fuse from RadioShack had me back in business. I know a service call would have cost me at least $40 which was more than the set was worth. You are right, the more you know the less you pay.

What I am getting at is that owning a new car is not an absolute necessity every five years. Whatever happened to the late 1960’s way of thinking?

And what several of us have been trying to tell you is…Cars last a LOT longer then 5 years. It’s PEOPLE who decide to buy a new car LONG BEFORE it’s worn out. My wife and I have keep our cars well past 200k miles…Several past 300k miles.

I think that the Checker motor company that built taxicabs up through 1982 had the right idea. Their vehicles were durable, but were also easy to maintain. They did sell civilian versions without the lights on top or the hail-me paint job. The Continental Red Seal engines used from 1946 through, I believe, the early 1960’s had beefed up bearings and were capable of 200,000 miles before needing an overhaul in cab service.

The air cooled VW beetles of the late 1950’s through the 1960’s probably wouldn’t go 100,000 miles without a rebuild, but the engines were easy to remove and rebuild. These cars could almost be repaired using kitchen utensiles.

Cars are very much like computers in that with just the slightest amount of user education, precaution, and maintenance, a modern version of either can last quite a long time.

Someone take that idea and run with it, please! That is the kind of thinking that is unfortunately very lacking in our society.

“For $5,000 to $10,000 dollars, cars could be refurbished to like-new condition. How may people will, though? Just think, Refurbishing Centers throughout the country!”

I agree with the principle, just not the price. If it really did only cost $5-10K, there would be “Refurbishing Centers” everyplace. As it is, we are talking about significantly more cash, but you can certainly pay to have a car restored to “like-new condition.” More realistically, you can maintain your car in 9/10 condition (like a decent 2-3 year old car) and drive it indefinitely for a few $1000 per year (much more fun than renting a new car from the bank every few years).