Drive it Forever

Your favorite books and links
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Farm_or
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Drive it Forever

Post by Farm_or » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:35 am

Maybe the best advice is not to own a car? But, if you live remote or you like cars, I would recommend this book by Robert Sikorsky.

Full of practical advice for operating and maintaining your car for long term utilization.

One tidbit about oil changes. His recommendation is based on data from oil analysis. It's not necessary to change the filter every time that you change oil. It's the additives in the oil that lose potency not little bits of metal that requires oil changes.

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Sclass
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Sclass » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:24 am

Hi just wanted to chime in here. I haven't read the book. The reviews say it has good advice about regularly changing fluids.

This is good advice if the car is a fundamentally good car. Some cars are just made out of butter metal and cheap plastic (yes there is a difference between expensive plastic and cheap). You need to start with a model that has the potential to last a long time because of good material selection and design. Then stick to the maintenance schedule.

The problem with skimping on filters is the degree to which they clog depends a lot on the environment where they're operated. If an oil filter does eventually clog it has a bypass valve that will open and then you circulate dirty oil. Filters are cheap if you change them yourself and get them on sale.

My last car was dumped at 350k miles. It ran great but the AC broke and my SO rebelled.

I now drive a newer car with 200k on the clock.

My experience driving old beaters is if you stick to regular maintenance on a good platform they last, but little things like broken door locks, switches, corroded electrical connections, door hardware (I just changed a door striker yesterday), will drive most people nuts. At $100 an hour labor, planned obsolescence will start taking a toll. Not to mention occasionally being inconvenienced by a failure.

The good news is you can buy an older model with low miles and get a good idea of the platforms stability by looking online at other peoples experiences with the car. Since well manufactured goods fail in repeatable ways you'll have a good idea of what to expect down the road. If a car doesn't age this way (i.e. Random failures) stay far away from it.

I drive 1980s Mercedes diesels. I've owned a late 90s 4cyl Accord, a late 80s 4cyl Celica and two bulletproof 70s Volvos. These are examples of very stable platforms. The good news is there are even more examples of solid runners in recent years. All you have to do is search the enthusiast forums.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:32 am

The good news is you can buy an older model with low miles
Agreed. Try to find a 10 year old car with 30 or 40,000 well kept miles. They are hard to find but they exist.

If you are doing your own maintenance check out http://www.rockauto.com/. They are much cheaper than AutoZone or similar, even after shipping is included.

ducknalddon
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by ducknalddon » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:41 am

I've noticed the last couple of cars we owned have had odd electrical issues even though I keep to the most basic model. I wonder how newer cars are going to last as they all seem loaded with gadgets.

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El Duderino
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by El Duderino » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:17 pm

I see it as a problem of engineering and complexity. Older cars, for the most part, are less complex and were not designed to the same engineering standards of newer cars. this means that tolerances are looser and they aren't designed to be as servicable compared to newer models, but there are fewer things that can go wrong and even within those components, they are often rebuildable.

Newer cars are designed much better and have much better performance (mostly thinking about NVH and reliability here, not maximum sportiness), but when something does go wrong, the casual mechanic isn't going to be able to solve the problem without just replacing a component. Often, you've got to have very expensive diagnostics tools (OBD scanners or even tools like Audi's VAG-com) to even plug into the can-bus system and identify which item is failing.

What Sclass said is totally true about different platforms and manufacturers offering more reliable experiences and greater parts availability and quality. However, you usually pay for that up front in the price of the vehicle and the repair parts are similarly less easy to find and more expensive.

It's entirely possible to turn this from an expense category into a revenue stream if you're sufficiently adept at diagnosis and repair. So, I'd encourage someone looking to keep their costs down to pick a platform that is easiest to work on, first and foremost. that means taking into consideration the initial purchase price, reliability and economy, and at least equal weighting given to availability of support (online community), ease of finding parts (either online, local or junkyards) and servicability.

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Dragline
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Dragline » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:20 pm

Get a cheap code-reader. You may save $100s the first time you use it, especially since many how-tos are now on YouTube and elsewhere. And you can turn of the damn idiot lights with it.

But you probably want to stay away from European cars, particularly the German makes, that are built within the past 10-15 years, for the reasons described in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPJ64sTa7KI

OTCW
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by OTCW » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:12 pm

I have that book and have read it multiple times. Highly recommend.

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Sclass
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Sclass » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:28 pm

+1 to finding a good community online. Let other people figure out the common diseases for your car. I feel like a genius mechanic but I must say it really helps when you just do a search on the symptom on a make specific forum and they tell you where the issue is and how to fix it.

Scanners can be tricky. Half of the job is interpretation of the data. The good news is the forums are full of people who are happy to interpret the codes you post up if you don't grasp all the details of how the system components work together. I think some auto parts chains will scan your car for free.

I think I've posted it here before that my friend who works for Toyota claims German cars have less durable electronics because their roads are too good. Less shake means less circuit fatigue. It may be true. Certainly the cost of repair and complexity make them ERE unfriendly.

Old Scotty Kilmer is a gas.

Farm_or
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Farm_or » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:58 am

Some really good points.

Having worked and traveled to Germany, I will probably never own a German machine for the reasons stated. I have eleven years experience to base that opinion on.

Starting with a solid, well designed platform is very important. I put emphasis on the fundamental, for cars being engine and transmission.​. There are so many resources these days. Online reviews from places like carsurvey.org can be very helpful.

I've gotten by without a scanner since our local AutoZone will scan for free. I have purchased a few components that way to fix "check engine" lights.

Even though the book is a little dated, I think it provides a lot of data based decision content that is still applicable. The type of useful advice for owning, operating and maintaining a machine that you can only get from the best experienced mechanic out there.

For the tidbit on oil/filter changes: I think a lot of people pay to perform that task too often. Filters don't need changed every 3k. The oil probably doesn't either. Oil analysis and quality has progressed to extend life significantly. If you are paying the quick lubes at their recommendations, you are probably paying for a new engine at 100k miles.

Toska2
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Toska2 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:31 am

I never had a high mileage problem. I've always had a rust problem. Therefore I buy the opposite of most people, a newer high mileage car. When a car gets 20k miles a year and I only put 8-10k miles when I get it, it rust and wears out at the same time.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:47 am

I have a harbor freight scanning tool but if I didn't already have one I would consider a Bluetooth code reader for the phone instead.

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El Duderino
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Re: Drive it Forever

Post by El Duderino » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:14 pm

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:47 am
I have a harbor freight scanning tool but if I didn't already have one I would consider a Bluetooth code reader for the phone instead.
good point. you can get a bluetooth obd adapter for $10 on amazon and the torque app for another $5. this combo works for me.

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