Home » Is An Autopian’s Car Ever Truly Fixed? COTD

Is An Autopian’s Car Ever Truly Fixed? COTD

Stupidbrokenvw
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If you haven’t noticed by now, all of your favorite Autopian writers are auto masochists. David somehow saves hopeless vehicles, all of Jason’s vehicles, save for a post-chainsaw Changli, are broken. The Notorious Stephen Walter Gossin — we’re contractually obligated to say his whole name — saves vehicles that nobody else would, including what looked like Shrek’s Buick. Then there’s me and all of my cars. Almost all of them have at least one problem! Even Lewin somehow can’t escape driving a broken car, and wrote a 2,258-word saga about fixing a diesel BMW, just to find out that its transmission is still iffy. Thomas also has projects going on. Are our cars ever truly fixed?

I’d say no. Whenever I play Volkswagen failure whack-a-mole, I always seem to finish wrenching with the same number of problems I started with. Only, the problems have migrated elsewhere. But hey, you know what, my bargain basement Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI (below) did make it to Florida and back in November, so maybe it’s not so bad. It took only a day, a power station, and a bolt extractor (topshot) to replace a diesel fuel filter that should have taken 15 minutes to replace. Thanks, rust!

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom
1000014090 (2)
Mercedes Streeter

We now have a name for the perpetual broken BMWs of Autopians, from COTD winner Mechjaz:

VANOS: Valuable Autopian Non-fixable Ordeal Stories

This morning, Jason reminded us that the maker of the legendary New York Checker cabs wasn’t anywhere near the Big Apple, but Kalamazoo, Michigan. Alt Schule, well, took things to their natural conclusion:

Kalamazoo, a town with a Checkered past.

No Color Dadge1
Dodge

Finally, we have the new Dodge Charger. When the news dropped in our Slack, I was the first to comment that the poor car looked so sad. Admittedly, I am less than excited about the tons of snow hitting my area right now…

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Anyway, Stryker_T describes the photoshoot’s vibe so well:

the first header image absolutely reads as sad face, but then they pile it on with the rest of them behind the chainlink fences, I can almost hear the Sarah McLachlan “Angel” playing and asking for donations.

Nsane In The MembraNe drove it home:

For only $10 a month you can support neglected, V8 less Chargers just like these ????

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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EricTheViking
EricTheViking
4 months ago

Alt Schule

It’s Alte Schule as Schule is feminine noun and uses die-article.

Is Travis
Is Travis
4 months ago

I feel like every vehicle you own still has a few “nice to haves” that if the money were abundant, you would do in a heartbeat. I’ve been able to afford plenty of nice bits for my BMW, upgraded Bilstein B6s for the adaptive shocks and struts, dimpled and slotted rotors and good pads, good brake fluid, good ignition stuff, etc. Did all the work myself, waitied a year for those effing struts.
There is so much I would do if I had a dumb 8k laying around, I would have to split that between the Montero and the car though.
They both have a “Nice to have” list for that lotto lucky day.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago

Does David still save hopeless vehicles? Does he? Seems like it stopped when he moved to Cali. Just sayin’

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

He’s going to St Louis to fix up a cheap van for Torch.

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

A Nissan Leaf with 12 miles of range is pretty hopeless, as is a Grand Cherokee so broken that it was home to a colony of cats.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago
Reply to  Clear_prop

I wanna see some builds!

SYKO Simmons
SYKO Simmons
4 months ago

I daily drive my 62 Continental…..while it has MANY modern upgrades, it’s at a constant state of repair SOMEWHERE. But it continues to go and I’m always down into fixing and upgrading as It ages. New cars aren’t like that, one small problem arises and it’s in limp mode and you have to have a degree in engineering or just thousands on tissable money…..you can’t fix it.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
4 months ago

The reason that so many people had issues with the GM 1.4T is that it’s a German engine with the usual German engine foibles of cooling system parts being consumables and needing maintenance done by the book. The Chevy bowtie confused the heck out of people. They expected the Cruze to be a car like the Cavalier or Cobalt that could skip an oil change or two without immediate issue. Dealer techs also expected it to tolerate some sloppiness in troubleshooting and repairing. Nope! Interestingly the Buick Encore with it seemed to fare better.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
4 months ago

“Interestingly the Buick Encore with it seemed to fare better.”

I give Buick a hard time for being the official brand of coffin cars, but I have to give old people credit. They take good care of their shit. They don’t buy a premium vehicle just to skip oil changes and ignore check engine lights. It goes right to the dealership by the book.

Last edited 4 months ago by IRegertNothing, Esq.
Timbuck2
Timbuck2
4 months ago

I got a 2000 Mustang GT with 170k on it for my first car at 18. I can tell you that just about everything broke on that thing. Mostly interior parts and engine accessories like the alternator, water pump, power steering. Surprisingly the electrical system was pretty solid, as well as the engine (which is no surprise because it’s the 4.6). I had enough after few years. Sold it and bought a 10th gen civic from my dad who bought it new. The peace of mind is well worth it. I’m saving up to get a new fun car while I keep the civic as my daily. Only good thing that came with all this is I made money on the car cuz I sold it during covid, plus I know how to work on cars now:)

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
4 months ago

Payments or repairs, gotta pick at least one.

Timbuck2
Timbuck2
4 months ago

lol that’s very true.

D-dub
D-dub
4 months ago

LS400 loophole FTW! I bought it 10 years ago for $10K and haven’t had to pay for anything but fluids and tires since. The timing belt is coming due tho…

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago

Counterpoint:
Routine maintenance or the roulette wheel.
I choose the one I have a modicum of control over.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago

Buy a VW, get both

Torque
Torque
4 months ago

Sweet spot at which to buy for me have been at approx. 100k or at least 7 years old. By that milage/time if you buy a reasonably reliable car any normal quarks should have been fixed and assuming it checks out as running well, should provide Easily +10 years and an additional 150k miles of service with routine maintenance.

Now with the risk of EVs I expect to need to change this strategy. B/F taking the plunge I need to find reputable repair places that have experience taking on hv battery pack repair at reasonable prices. I realize needing to repair a hv ev battery pack is supposed to be a rare occurrence however given it IS the most expensive collection of parts of a ev ease of repair is important for a durable product.

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
4 months ago

I have too many cars and actually have a spreadsheet ranking how bad they are.

Current scores range from -4 to -7 against 14.5 for a generic new car with nothing broken.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
4 months ago
Reply to  Clear_prop

I’d really love to know how these rankings are calculated. I’m imagining columns for major systems, a point system for the severity calculated FMEA-style, a default assignation of 0 for not running or driveable. It sounds fascinating.

Turkina
Turkina
4 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

It’s like being in a class where the teacher gives you the grading policy for the papers you write. The grading policy is 5 pages long with 150 different criteria. Each mistake is a minimum of one point off, and you only have 100 points to work with.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
4 months ago
Reply to  Turkina

“These camshafts are NOT in iambic pentameter! -5 from an otherwise good analysis”

This much be a glimpse into what it’s like to be The Bishop: are 5-cylinder cars limericks? How does Porsche make sonnets out of 6-cylinders? Is a rough idle blank verse? Are twin turbos properly known as a couplet?

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
4 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Right now it has 41 different categories. I started it when I ended up with a few extra cars after my dad brought out some of his spare cars for my kids after their mother had already bought them nicer cars than grandpa’s clunkers.

Each time something breaks or annoys me on one car, I add another category and score all the cars. I keep meaning to whittle down my fleet, but since the extra cars are nice to have around and cost basically nothing, so far I’ve just scored them

Most categories range from +1 to -1, with a few going to +2 or -3. Default is either 0 or 1 depending on what I considered standard when I added that category.

Working brakes is 0, but ABS is +1, since most of my cars lack ABS and some have marginal brakes. The -3 category is maintenance history, and the car that has -3 in that category has a history of random electrical gremlins, a rebuilt engine, and a leaky trunk, amongst other issues covered in other categories.

The car with too small cup holders gets a -1 in that category, but the others don’t get points for decent cup holders. A bad headliner is only worth -0.5, but a very bad headliner is -1.

My first car gets 2 points in the emotional attachment category, but the others don’t get any deductions even though they are just cars to me.

Reviewing the categories for this post, I noticed I was missing one for suspension, so the car with a bad suspension gets a -1.

After adding suspension and adjusting a few other scores, the range is now -4 to -8.25. The one with the -8.25 score actually gets most mileage since it has mostly working A/C and heat, but lots of other demerits that give it the worst score.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
4 months ago
Reply to  Clear_prop

That’s amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Electrified05ViggenFeverDream
Electrified05ViggenFeverDream
4 months ago
Reply to  Clear_prop

I would like to see this transformed into an official Autopian rating system. Thanks for sharing, made me laugh.

Jim Warren
Jim Warren
4 months ago

My past is Autopian, wrenching on multiple cars. Now, however, as advanced age approaches, I drive dependable cars, and I am OK with that. I do remember a time when I didn’t have to plan a way up when I laid on the garage floor.

James Carson
James Carson
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Warren

I am in the same state. Getting up off the ground usually involves rolling to the nearest object the can provide support while I drag myself upright. It’s deeply embarrassing and slows down the intended work.

I broke down and bought a Honda. The Subaru departs in the spring.

Ultradrive
Ultradrive
4 months ago

My DD is a P38 Range Rover. If it’s not leaking, it’s out of all fluids.

And yes, where is Rob Spiteri? I remember he had some health issues. Also a full-time college student, so no news is good news? Is he OK?

Rob Spiteri
Rob Spiteri
4 months ago
Reply to  Ultradrive

I’m alive! Just been super busy with finishing up undergrad and applying for grad school. I bought another Disco… stay tuned. Also, thanks for asking and checking up.

Ultradrive
Ultradrive
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob Spiteri

Happy to hear you are alive! Sorry to hear about the new Land Rover 😉

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
4 months ago

Mechjaz? It’s that guy I am!

Really though, I owe a debt of inspiration to Alt Schule, who sparked the idea by putting “ordeal” and “story” together in their post. All I did was bring my 2023 where the Z4 spent 9 months on jackstands, with a genuinely strangely brief interlude where it passed inspection and then re-dilapidated immediately after. But hey, the TCS (for the wheel speed sensors), bulb indicator, and TPM/ABS warning combo are finally off!

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

My Z4 is fine… Now that I have changed the entire cooling system.

Last edited 4 months ago by Manuel Verissimo
Torque
Torque
4 months ago

“Now that I have changed the entire cooling system.”
Pretty sure that’s “routine preventative maintenance” on any BMW that has been made in the past 15-20 years and which has made it to +100k miles.
It’s funny routine maintenance interval duration seem to be about 1/2 as long on any German car vs. Any Japanese car.
So for a German car plan on a major brakes, cooling, suspension replacement at approx. 100-120k miles and for a Japanese car the same at approx. 200-220k miles.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago
Reply to  Torque

That is the way

Oldskool
Oldskool
4 months ago

Because we can. We know the car’s limits more closely. Just like the plumber’s sink always drips, etc.

Certain things are important, making sure it will run to get you from point A to point B, especially in the cold. And good tires and brakes. But there’s plenty of trivial shit where dealing with fixing it outweighs the benefits of it being fixed.

A. Barth
A. Barth
4 months ago

The Notorious Stephen Walter Gossin — we’re contractually obligated to say his whole name

Notorious SWG?

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago

All four cars in my household run just fine, thank you.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

What are you, some kind of wizard?

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
4 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

The prophesies foretold such a man would come among us! Repent before it’s too late

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

He’s a plant

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Just fine? Sure, for now 😉

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago

Oh, I’m well aware that I jinxed it by saying that.

Space
Space
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Yea but can they blow ice cold heat?

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

“All four… run just fine…”

Aha! “Runs” just means the engine operates. It’s not synonymous with “drives.” You can’t fool me so easily, as I’ve used that same bit of misdirection a few times myself.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

All my vehicles are in good running order*

*The Datsun doesn’t count

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago

Doesn’t Matt H drive a functional car? Like a weirdo?

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
4 months ago

Oops, Mercedes, that’s some messy subtext!

If you haven’t noticed by now, all of your favorite Autopian writers are auto masochists.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago

I didn’t want to say anything too obvious about that line…

Also: I wonder if Rob “Disco” Spiteri is OK.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Rob Spiteri
Rob Spiteri
4 months ago

Disco isn’t dead, and neither am I! I’m alive. Just been very busy with school. Thanks for caring and remembering me. Stay tuned for an update soon- I bought another Disco. Foolish, foolish, me.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Spiteri

Best news of the year!

Another disco?!? WHY

Rob Spiteri
Rob Spiteri
4 months ago

Because I hate myself. That’s why

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
4 months ago

Hmmm…look, he’s gotta have something broken somewhere!

He worked for the old site, so…

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago

Auto-erotic journalism at its finest.
Be sure to change those filters folks.
Lest your auto’s accidentally asphyxiate themselves.

Last edited 4 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
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