20th Sep 2018, 21:27

Well, I for one will comment that regulations have a lot to blame for this, because most of the complications on the drivetrain never existed before. Fuel injection was merely to make a variant go faster and give it more power - after all, why did Mercedes have a 280S (carb) and 280SE (injected)? Most modern electronics have proven fairly reliable, fortunately. But the tightening regulations mean that components that have been developed to meet a set of standards, are now rendered obsolete and inadequate for newer regs, just as the component is perfected through the experience of users. An old ignition coil for NZ$50 was perfectly adequate for a 1984-90 Audi 80, but now each cylinder has a pencil coil which costs NZ$300 per on a Mazda3 or Mitsubishi Cedia. And they do still fail, even on Toyotas, but $300 is much dearer than $50 (and you could carry one in the boot of the car for emergencies, or keep replacing them every few years as a precaution).

My car, a 2001 BMW 316TI, just had its crankshaft position sensor fail (after 17 years), yet another sensor that didn't exist previously. New cars all have airbags, and with time the seat sensors fail, and now the airbag warning light means the car will fail our Warrant of Fitness as it is now not deemed roadworthy, even if the body and engine are sound.

Tyre pressure monitors are now required by law in some countries - why?? Four more things to fail, when diligence is more than adequate in ensuring correct tyre pressure. But they would be cheap enough.

The problem with yet increasing emission standards is that car makers are leaving no stone unturned technically - of course at the eventual expense of customers - to ensure their cars are legal to sell.

Here's more complications - BMW's now using electric water pumps, and oil pumps on-demand. And you can be sure that many makers will either follow, or are already doing it.

By durability, I suppose that implies the perfection of the part, i.e., the car or part manufacturer has mastered all the situations the component is subject to so that the part made can serve for a very, very long time without replacement. Case in point my BMW's water pump - they started making pumps with plastic impellers in the 1990s, with disastrous effects when they broke off the spindle with time or mileage. My car uses a water pump whose impeller is now a composite - still light to turn, but far more durable. In fact the water pump is still original! But as I said earlier, just as they are perfected, they become obsolete; just a few years after, that's when BMW started electric water pumps.

21st Sep 2018, 22:02

Well said, and I agree with your point of view. I know people that keep 70s and 80s cars as classics. And even some early/mid 90s cars as a second car to run about in. Reliability and durability is a sure thing with some looked after older cars, especially the 90s stuff, which in my opinion was the sweet spot decade.

It will be interesting to see just what the used cars/parts market is like in another 10 or 20 years time - I just don't see kids these days keeping their post year 2000 cars as "classics" if they are going to cost a fortune in repairs all the time with electronic stuff. At least with older cars once you rebuilt the engine and gearbox that was it - no worries so long as the bodywork was looked after.

Personally I think cars like the electric ones by Tesla will be the future, however they are not perfect either - I was watching a video on YouTube about a 100,000 mile Tesla at 6 years old and it had a couple of issues. To be fair the battery seems durable enough, but ultimately I bet replacements won't be cheap on those cars! The future will be interesting for used cars that's for sure.

22nd Sep 2018, 15:13

Some of us older guys will have cars that will in time be worth over 7 figures. I predict younger buyers will still see the allure and investment in these classic cars.

22nd Sep 2018, 21:54

I drove a Tesla Model S via an invitation from the local dealer, and I was impressed - within 3 minutes of driving around, both in city and motorway, the car felt exactly like being in an Audi A6 with a petrol (gas) engine, down to the feel of the accelerator pedal. I totally forgot I was in a fully electric car. Having driven a Prius before (thought it was rather eerie), the Tesla was downright remarkable.

But you are right about the battery. I also have a current aversion to buying a preposterously expensive car from a company which has barely made any money, and fear that it would end up an orphan once investors decide enough is enough. If I were forced to go luxury hybrid or electric, I would rather go for something from Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus, Jag, Genesis, Audi, BMW etc., knowing that if I happened to own one at 20 years old, I could still find parts (regardless of price) at a local dealer, or it could be ordered in from Germany (or Japan/Korea).

I can't help but think though that the very sudden move to hybrids and electrics (there has always been hesitation) is a knee-jerk reaction to Dieselgate. After all, diesel was seen as being ecologically friendly based on what people were told were the facts (i.e. emissions, which were outed to be wrong) but that also included truths such as a far longer driving range for the same litre/gallon of fuel. Suddenly diesel was outed as a big evil. So hybrids here we go!

What happens then if someone outs hybrids or electrics someday as emitting EMF or whatever, causing cancer? Isn't electromagnetic stuff still currently feared to cause cancer with cellphone batteries (despite not having anything yet conclusive, everyone is told to limit use of handheld phones and use hands-free), and why many houses that are located below high-tension power pylons are difficult to sell?

Never mind, short of everyone going back to buying a horse, I guess we can only deal with things one at a time. For now, it's keeping what we have, running and being of service.

23rd Sep 2018, 19:45

My pick wouldn’t go electric. Although I have respect for buying something that goes 0-60 in 2.28 seconds. Who cares about batteries when you spend into 6 figures anyway for the car. My pick of late would have cost the same money that the new Tesla costs above, but I would have spent it in 2006 for a new Ford GT. You would today have an extra 250k profit in your pocket selling in 2018. But money aside, that is some incredible performance numbers for the Tesla. Often highly collectible models have maintenance issues but shoot up in value anyway. Those are the ones to really watch. If you don’t care about money, buy whatever you really like. It may be of far more value to you as personal driving enjoyment.

21st Mar 2023, 19:19

Hmm, at over 100k miles you'd expect all this... but then it's good for another 100k more :)


22nd Mar 2023, 21:32

Craig, some items are, but I wouldn’t expect a hood latch or parking brake hardware to wear out due to mileage or age. Items like that wear out due to a poor design or using cheap parts.