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Unread 03-16-2010, 02:31 PM   #1
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Default What is acceptable service from your vehicle?

Over the years I have dealt with thousands of owners and have read thousands of posts about this or that car is great and I would only ever buy a _____ .

We as you have seen from another post, Who has owned what?, that I have owned many vehicles as well as serviced and repaired thousands. It continually amazes me how someone who has spent thousands a year on repairs can say that they love their car and would buy another. It amazes me how someone who spends thousands a year on keeping their car going would NEVER consider that another make might be better than theirs.

Now I can t a point, where a particular type of car would be best suited for a particular type of driving activity, if that car hard features that you just couldn't live without. For example, if you HAD to have a diesel 4dr car, that would leave you with VW and MB for the most part. If you HAD to have AWD/turbo then you have Subaru, Mitsubishi mainly.

I have friends who absolutely will not consider another make of car even though they have replaced the transmission several times over the last few years, and are constantly battling electrical demons.

After not owning a VW personalty for over 10 years I thought I would give it another try and see if things had got any better. So I bought my wife a low mileage 1996 Turbo diesel Jetta. I went through that car front to back, fixed or replaced ANYTHING that looked like it was a problem or could become one; water pump, oil leaks, shocks, CV shafts. I even got the car repainted so it looked like new. Within a year I had to fix more oil leaks, replace suspension bushings, exhaust flex pipe, ball joints, and the final straw was when the A/C went out. I was fortunate enough to unload that piece of [email protected] and got my money back. We then bought a 1993 Acura Legend and finally discovered that you don't have to put up with the constant repairs and fears of it breaking down. We owned the Legend for 4 years (was totaled in an accident) and took many trips with it. It was a blast to drive and I never stopped smiling. In that time I did 2 rear brake calipers and a couple of brake pad replacements and a timing belt as preventative maintenance. That car cost the same to buy as the VW but it cost WAY less to own.

Now I don't intend to ruffle any feathers here so don't go flamin' me, OK

As you may have read in the post I'm referring to, I got my start in VW back in the 70's. I eventually got a job at a VW dealer. Over the decade at the dealer I was so disillusioned that I actually left. I saw VW's & Audi's coming in time after time for eh same repair. the SAME cars coming in for the same things. I was appalled at the lack of quality and and manufacturer concern for quality. I know that this is the same at many other companies and they all have their shortcomings. However, I have found that several manufacturers have produced several models of their cars that have excellent reliability and can outlast many of the newer ones. Case in point; my wife's 17 year old Lexus ES300. In he 2 years we have owned it I only had to do the valve cover gaskets. It's been 100% reliable, never let us down, drives like a NEW car should, and is very comfortable. And it costs thousands less than a much newer car. So why would someone choose to pay MORE to drive a car that needs repairs every month and you can't trust it on a trip?

As much as I love working on cars, the ones I own had better be reliable and fairly trouble free.

So I guess to summarize, what would you consider acceptable maintenance and repairs?

Is replacing the transmission every 2 years acceptable?
Is repairing power/electrical times several times a year acceptable?
Is doing head gaskets every 3 years acceptable?

I can't believe the owners I talk to who accept this as a normal part of vehicle ownership.

You opinions are welcomed
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Unread 03-16-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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1) NO. You should be able to pull 150k out of a transmission easily, or 100k out of a clutch.
2) No, but most power/electrical stuff is just a fuse.
3) Nah, shouldn't ever have to. Only car i've owned that we had to was our 98 Honda CRV and the Mercury.
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Unread 03-16-2010, 05:03 PM   #3
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1. no
2. no
3. no
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Unread 03-16-2010, 05:05 PM   #4
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1. No
2. Yes, if you own my focus apparently, at least the radio hasn't gone out again thanks to the HD radio
3. No.
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Unread 03-16-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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1.) no, at 173k on my tranny, although shes starting to give up the ghost.
2.) no
3.) no
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Unread 03-16-2010, 08:44 PM   #6
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What I call good service......


1. STONE COLD RELIABLE. If stuff is falling off or breaking that shouldn't be breaking, it fails. I use my F150 as a benchmark, while it's worn out and beat up it still soldiers on down the road just fine. If a vehicle can not out-live a Ford, it seriously fails at life.

2. The engine must have balls. The one thing I can't stand is an engine that lacks torque. If I can't feel torque twist in first gear, we have issues...

3. Must meet a high mileage, ideally over 250K. Normal services such as clutch changes, maintenance and tuneups should be all that is required to reach 250,000 miles. I will detail these below.

4. Durability. If I bump into a tree at a walking pace and do 800 dollars of damage to the car, I get rid of the car. It's not tough enough. If I do 800 dollars worth to the tree, however, I'm latching onto that sucker for life. I expect a car to be able to absorb hitting rough train tracks, small potholes, over the occasional curb at low speed, speed bumps and the like without worrying about damaging anything.




OP, it is NOT normal to chew through transmissions and head gaskets like candy unless the vehicle is either abused or utter trash to begin with. My manual transmission has 265,000 on it, as does my differential. My clutch I just recently replaced, I'd say it had about 125 or so on it. It was technically due for replacement when I bought the truck and I put another 65K on it before I finally changed it, and even then I could have put another thousand or so on it before it was completely down to rivets. But that would have trashed my flywheel, so I didn't. As far as head gaskets go, I changed my first at 265,000 miles. I won't have to touch it again until I actually tear the engine down to overhaul the bottom end. As far as electrical stuff, eh that's kinda finickey. Electronics are kind of unpredictable in a high vibration, high temp variance environment like a car. ESPECIALLY under the hood. But even then a decent lifespan for underhood electronics is 10-15 years and in-cab electronics 20-25, My whole dash, or well the electrical parts of it anyways, still works for the most part. It's 25 years old. The only thing that doesn't is the backlighting. I will admit a few gauges are off(Need a tach recalibrated and a fuel sending unit to fix that), but they still work. Speedo isn't electrical, so it doesn't count for that.




What I think counts as routine maintenance is as follows. This is for my OHV Ford engine.


Spark plugs read every 10K, replaced when needed.
Plug wires, cap and rotor every 100K, or when worn
Oil every 3K
Filter every 3K
Air filter every 6K until I get the blowby under control
Carb adjustment every spring/fall to compensate for air temp changes
Once a year I'll inspect it for new leaks and check the status of old ones
Flush/refill radiator every 5 years
Checking vital fluids every 1K


Following that regimen, my engine seems quite happy. It doesn't know it has the mileage it has on it.
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1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

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Unread 03-16-2010, 09:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestECull View Post
OP, it is NOT normal to chew through transmissions and head gaskets like candy unless the vehicle is either abused or utter trash to begin with.
My point exactly! I see Caravans and 98+ Acuras & Hondas going through transmissions every couple of years. People still buy these cars and except this as normal.

Ford Taurus; oil leaks, electrical demons. 3 of my 4 Taurus customers don't have working rear wipers or interior lights due to body modual issues. My father in-law's Taurus locked itself with the keys in the ignition while we were chatting on the deck of a ferry. Other have told me a similar story.

I could go on,.....
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Unread 03-16-2010, 09:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Car Guy View Post
Ford Taurus; oil leaks, electrical demons. 3 of my 4 Taurus customers don't have working rear wipers or interior lights due to body modual issues. My father in-law's Taurus locked itself with the keys in the ignition while we were chatting on the deck of a ferry. Other have told me a similar story.

I could go on,.....

lol. I love Fords, but I'd never touch a Taurus unless I was at Dave's Farm and doing some redneck stunts with it.

Yeah, my F150 has a couple of leaks here and there. But it's got 265K, it's got a license to drip a bit of power steering fluid here and there. I did fix all of the oil leaks when the head gasket blew, tho, so it doesn't leak a single drop, and again that failure came at an acceptable mileage for a head gasket. Every single issue it has any other vehicle from any other company would have at that age/mileage/history.
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My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

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Unread 03-16-2010, 09:38 PM   #9
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1) no i have 200,000 Mi on my 15yr old t5 in my mustang and it runs perfect i had to replace the clutch at 154,000 and thats my fault as i learned to drive a stick in her

2)no you should expect your car to be bug free for atleast 20+ yrs

3)no i had to replace the head gasket at 157,000 on my mustang (thanks to a fram bomb going off) and i was pissed it went that soon

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Unread 03-16-2010, 10:17 PM   #10
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Honda CVTs are trash, i can attest to that.
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