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Increasingly. people are posting complaints about wanting repairs or recalls of non safety items for free on over 10 year old cars.

Where is this attitude coming from? Is it from the self esteem movement that has been prevelant in schools for the last 20 years that teaches students that nothing is ever really their fault, therefore if something bad happens, someone else is at fault and should pay for it? Does anyone have a better theory?


It’s the growth of a “something for nothing” mentality we’ve been seeing for years now.

Honestly, I think it also has to do with the cost or repairing/replacing cars today, relative to how much disposable income (cash) that average people have today. A majority of people may not have a lot of cash on hand to say, repaint a hood, but they can take on another monthly car payment. Obviously, fixing the car you have is the cheaper route.

One day soon, I predict car makers will offer some kind of “lifetime” bumper to bumper warranty, just because people have become so unwilling or unable to afford basic repairs. Not quite sure how the math would work, but I bet they could figure it out. Make an indefinite monthly payment, and everything from bumper to bumper would be covered.

Finally, there’s just a lot of “misunderstanding” on what a recall is vs a warranty.


I think this is a lot of the problem.


I think that it is largely the result of people who are poorly-educated–by choice.
We have had people posting in this forum who think that warranties cover routine maintenance, and then they argue with us when we point out that they are wrong.

As you referenced, people seem to think that vehicle mfrs are responsible–forever–for any and all problems that take place with their vehicle.

Many people seem to think that recalls are done for issues that are not related to safety or emissions.

On a non-automotive basis, I still recall the ridiculous demands that people made of me and my department store employer when I worked my part-time job in retail, back in the '70s. Mommy-dearest brought her daughter’s nearly-new shoes back because “the sole wore-out”, and she demanded free replacement shoes. I pointed out that the soles were barely-worn, but that it was very clear that her daughter had stepped on a nail–which had made a perfect puncture in the sole. Mommy’s response was “My daughter goes to Parochial School, so she doesn’t lie and she says that she never stepped on a nail”. I refused to help her, but the manager buckled, and gave them a free replacement pair for the shoes that the kid had damaged.

In that same era, there had been some news articles mentioning that some small merchants would voluntarily give customers a 2-3% discount if they paid cash, rather than paying with a credit card. I had more than one customer who insisted that I HAD to give them a discount for cash. I would reply that this was not the policy of this department store, but I would get spirited arguments over this issue, and they would frequently claim that “Federal Law says that you HAVE to give me a discount for cash”. Ummm… yeah… sure…

Edited to add:
Then, there are the people who don’t seem to comprehend that their new or nearly-new car is covered by multiple warranties, and they want to know how to repair a complex (usually high-tech) issue themselves.

In essence, I think that all-too-many people are simply uninformed–by choice.


A few years back in the local newspaper ‘Letters to the Editors” section a person wrote there should be a recall because of brake dust getting on their rims.

Mostly calls for recalls are simply lack of knowledge.
Like when shopping, if customer X places an item on the wrong shelf displaying a lower price, customer Y believes the store is required to sell at the lower price.


If it is, then time travel is involved, because we’ve seen behavior like that going back generations.

What’s interesting is that we tend to look at the “everybody gets a trophy” generation and think they’re somehow unique in the “me-first” mentality. Let’s not forget that it was Boomers and their predecessors in charge of Ford when Ford made the conscious decision to let people die in the flawed Pinto rather than spend a pittance to fix the problem.

Humans as a species are “me-first.” There are brief, occasional bouts of selflessness, but even those are often not as great as they seem when examined with a critical eye. For instance, we have a wonderful mythology that pioneers on the frontier of westward expansion were magnanimous and helpful any time a fellow human needed assistance, but the Native Americans who dealt with them would doubtless take umbrage at that characterization.


I have a better theory. The improvement in reliability of cars has led to higher expectations.

When you tell people “200,000 miles” is the old “100,000 miles,” they adjust their expectations accordingly.

It used to be a big deal to say, “That car never left me stranded,” but I’ve been able to say that about my last 3 cars.

All these “the world ain’t what it used to be” comments are the things elderly people have always said.

Yep. Every generation has its participation trophies.


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My theory is people don’t want to pay for repairs while they’re (most likely) still buying the car. I just assume (and I could be mistaken), that the majority of people are making payments on their vehicles. I’m not, currently. But I pretty well know if my old junk breaks down I’m the only one who’s going to pay to fix it. Damn Toyota and GM! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Socrates–who died ~ 400 BC–said the following:

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

The only thing that old Soc failed to include was…
Get off my lawn!

The bottom line is that the elderly (bear in mind that I am now 73 years old, but I also have a sense of history…) have ALWAYS told us that “things were better in The Good Old Days”. If “things” had already deteriorated 400 years before the birth of Christ, I submit that modern-age Coots don’t know what they are complaining about.


The only cars that ever left me stranded were my POS '74 Volvo, and my '81 Chevy Citation (one of GM’s incredibly-crappy “X” cars).

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I think parenting is involved with this also.

Consider these two incidents I observed in my neighborhood, separate families.

Incident 1. Two neighbors decide to share the cost to replace a dilapidated fence between their properties. They decide to use a fence contractor to do the work. Neighbor 1 says “hey, before the fence contractor comes let’s get our kids (3 boys from one family, 2 from the other) to help us dig a gravel & drainage pipe filled drainage trench at the same time” so our backyards won’t become a swamp in the winter-time." With 5 boys and 2 adults working, won’t take more than 2-3 hours. Neighbor two: “No way either I or my kids are digging a trench. This is America, and I want my kids to become professionals, not trench diggers.”

Incident 2. Teenager has never been observed to wash the family car. Years and years, no car-washing help from teenager. One day teenager and friend drive into driveway in friend’s car, teenager and friend then proceed to wash friend’s car. Puzzling. I mention this anomaly to teenager’s parent, teenager has never washed their own family cars, but washes friend’s car instead??: “Oh, she had to do that to become a cheerleader” … lol …


I think our older generations over the years take more notice of the few negative young people. The spoiled youth as we call it is perceived because wild kids do wild things and it sticks out. The majority of young people I personally experience have excellent work ethic and very strong character. It’s the few extremists that give youth a bad reputation. Hondas may have a quality vehicle but the few bad ones that come out will make a great number of people think that Honda stinks.


I’ve been thinking about this post for a few days and maybe I’m looking at it a bit differently…

It can’t hurt to ask if something is covered by a warranty or recall, can it? The worst that can happen is the manufacturer says “No”, right? So the poster goes over to CarTalk and asks the question.

It is not that they had the ignorance to ask the question, but that they had no clue how to search for the answer. None at all. They search for some faceless folks (us) on some forum to GIVE them the answer! We can help ignorance. Stupid, well, remains stupid!

Often, the answer is available by simply opening their owners manual. They’d rather post to randos on the internet than read what the manufacturer wrote. They’d rather have us tell them a 15 year old car with flaking paint isn’t covered by a recall than actually learn what constitutes a recall.

Much like a few recent posters that need to be walked step by step through even the most basic steps. We see posters ask to identify the part name, part number, how it comes apart, goes together, the tools to use, and the torque to tighten. They don’t know HOW to search for answers over the greatest information resource the world has ever seen. Heck, sometimes they won’t even go out and look at the part in their own car.

Not teaching HOW to self educate seems to be huge failing of our school and university systems. And it isn’t a recent one, IMHO, it has always been a problem.


Agree maybe one day some one will find a cure but I dought it. :grinning:

Also agree on that one. :grinning:


I know the web has a lot of junk on it but there is an article or video for so many things that a person wants to do it is almost unbelivable . Like asking what kind of tires to buy . Every tire brand has a web site and all retailers have a search page to show what will fit most vehicles.

Of course I have posted this before but what makes one poster here have 17 plus oil threads ?


Just anecdotally from watching my teenaged relatives and their relationship to technology, I suspect it might be partially a generational thing.

I’m a child of the 80’s. When I was a kid, and even into my high school years, most people didn’t have a computer. The internet was something the Department of Defense and universities messed with, but not much else. Those of us who were uber-nerds used (and ran) dial-up bulletin board systems, but they were of limited utility for anything but talking, playing games, and downloading files. Occasionally you’d find one you could learn stuff from, but unless you were willing to pay long distance charges, you only called it if it happened to be in your area code.

We grew up having to get on our bikes and ride down to the library if we wanted to look something up. For the first half of my childhood, that wasn’t even possible, as I lived on top of a mountain and the nearest library was down in the valley in a city 20 miles away and required taking the interstate. So I grew up having to ask my parents when I wanted to know something, and that meant that sometimes I got a correct answer and more often I got some made-up BS that my dad thought would be funny.

When we got access to the internet it was a bloody miracle. Suddenly almost anything you wanted to know, you could find just by firing up your computer and searching for it. We used that capability a lot.

Meanwhile, my barely-past-teenaged niece was heading to a family gathering a month ago, and called us, furious, because she was lost. She has a computer in her pocket that gets navigation signals from outer space. It should be impossible for her to ever get lost. But she grew up with smart phones, and to her they’re just something you play with. The ability to get any information you want, instantly, on them isn’t even on her radar. Smart phones are for texting friends and playing Pokemon Go.

And I see that in a lot of the people her age. So the techno-ignorance might be a generational thing. But the me-first attitude discussed earlier certainly isn’t.


There is a current push at universities to engage college students in undergraduate research. Students who are engaged in undergrad research tend to graduate faster and perform better academically. Who knows whether that’s correlation or there is a causal relationship, but with performance funding relying on the 4- and 6-year graduation rates, it doesn’t matter to public universities whether the dog wags the tail or the tail wags the dog as long as they can improve the metrics their funding depends upon.

The point in that discussion is college grads should benefit from conducting undergraduate research, learning the skills they need in order to self-educate. People who don’t go to college often learn this skill due to necessity. My father’s family was pretty darn smart, but my father was the only one of them to graduate college, and only he and one of his brothers went to college (in a non-degree certificate program)…

At the junior college level, some schools are creating “information literacy” standards. For me it was a short online presentation with a quiz, but maybe someday it will be a full class. I learned how do conduct online research by working for a dot com startup during the dot com bubble. It’s often just a matter of choosing the right search terms when you don’t find what you’re looking for, proving it’s not the smartest who survive and thrive; it’s the most adaptable.

I am a child of the 50’s an very early 60’s as far as school goes the only way we had to look things up was a dictionary or the britannica encylopeda that was not a lot of help.

Truer words were never spoken I think I got that quote right.

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