Home » It’s Wrenching Wednesday: Tell Us About Your Favorite Car To Service

It’s Wrenching Wednesday: Tell Us About Your Favorite Car To Service

Wrenchingwednesday 1
ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for reading The Autopian! If you’re seeing this text it means this content is for official members only. If you want to experience this automotive goodness, please consider supporting us by becoming a member. Thank you very much!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
51 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
4 months ago

Good points. I ask the question should be a poll when exactly did cars stop being DIY? Used to be you did all your own work. Remount tires rebuild carbs but every time manufacturers designed something better the average car owner could not work on it. So when did we stop DIY and start cornholio?

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
4 months ago

I love wrenching on my 66 Dodge A100 Sportsman. Everything is simple and accessible. Problem is, nothing much breaks. I replace more worn stuff than anything and parts for a 225 slant six are ubiquitous. Replaced all the rubber door and window gaskets in an afternoon. OTH, my 68 Charger is a factory air car and anything under the dash is a chore. I have begun to despise anything vacuum controlled.

Myk El
Myk El
4 months ago

I loved my Mazda B-series trucks (I had two in my life). Tall enough I didn’t have to jack it up for an oil change, engine bay big enough to work in. Dead simple and honestly just required regular maintenance.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
4 months ago
Reply to  Myk El

I have a 2009 Ford Ranger and I understand, its so easy, plenty of space everywhere

AlienProbe
AlienProbe
4 months ago

Not enough Rotary love here. When I had an ’88 NA RX7 the 13B Rotary was so easy to work on. So much space in the engine compartment to access everything. I never felt so free to be able to unbolt whatever and swap stuff out or replace parts. It isn’t praised enough that a small engine can be easier to work on when everything is accessible. I still miss that car dearly and never should have sold it.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
4 months ago

Miata is always the answer. I currently own a turbocharged 99 and an 04 Mazdaspeed and they are so much easier to work on than any other car I have owned. By comparison my 04 Mach 1 is significantly tougher to do just about anything on.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
4 months ago

My ’12 Cruze is fairly easy to do routine maintenance. An oil extractor and topside oil filter means no crawling under the car. In the tradition of GM engines being small the 1.4T is swimming in the engine bay.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
4 months ago

I’d rather deal with the beast I know than one I don’t. In this case, it’s the Porsche 944.

The Type 4 is a lot simpler and I love it for that, but its single-carb setup really belongs in the garbage. That would be my choice if it didn’t have that damn inappropriate carb.

David Tracy
David Tracy
4 months ago

1966 Ford Mustang. Easy to work on, parts are hilariously cheap and available, and every bolt is either a 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, or 5/8.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
4 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Was about to chime in with the same car. My ’66 Mustang convertible was incredibly simple to work on, and parts are very easy to find.

Paul B
Paul B
4 months ago

My 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Why? Here’s the list of repairs over12 years (other than fluids and brakes, which were straightforward):

  • O2 sensor
  • rubber boot on intake

The best cars to work on are the ones you never need to work on.

Ben
Ben
4 months ago

My gen 2 Prius is pretty easy to work on. So much is run electrically that the mechanical bits are dead nuts simple and easy to work on. Serpentine belt? Only runs the water pump so there are all of two pulleys and a tensioner. Transmission fluid? Basically an oil change. Oil changes? Can be done by driving it up on a couple of 2x6s.

Also, there are enough of them in the wild that many, many jobs have clever shortcuts people have discovered. Tricky hose to disconnect? Just pop out a section of fender liner and you can disconnect it at the other end (I speak from experience on this one).

There are things that are more difficult because of the electric bits, but it’s stuff like brakes and the brake booster than very rarely need to be done thanks to regen braking. Even replacing the hybrid battery is pretty simple, albeit time consuming because it’s buried in the middle of the car and requires disassembling basically the entire back half of the interior.

MrMcGeeIn3D
MrMcGeeIn3D
4 months ago
Reply to  Ben

I have fond memories of working on a 2nd gen Prius. A friend of mine in high school (this was around 2007) had one converted to PHEV before plugin hybrids were a thing. We spliced in a board that would intercept the battery metrics being sent to the MMI system from the ECU to display it on a dedicated display that would estimate EV only range.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
4 months ago

1974 straight six Ford RWD pick-ups. Plenty of room. No nonsense mechanicals. The only thing is, you have to be old enough to know the points and plug gaps. This seems to be witchcraft to some younger mechanics I’ve met. It’s not really complicated. But you have to understand dwell, and a timing light. That voodoo scares the younguns off.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
4 months ago

Second-generation Smart Fortwo (2007-2014 global, 2008-2016 USA). Oil changes are stupidly easy. Just lay on the ground and reach under the rear bumper to find both the oil drain plug and the oil filter in convenient locations. Use ramps if you’re more on the plump side like I am.

Seriously, you need one tool and 4 quarts of oil. You’ll be in and out in 10 minutes. Spark plugs and coil packs are another 15-minute job requiring just a basic toolset from Harbor Freight.

Even minor transmission work isn’t too bad. Need to replace the clutch actuator? That’s maybe 10 minutes with a couple of tools.

Brakes are also easy, as are wheel changes. I mean, you have three lug bolts per wheel!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

As an owner of a 4.6 Mustang, descriptions like this always make me envious – Ford’s taking an engine meant to be latitudinally mounted and rotating it 90 degrees for a RWD application means an oil filter that’s directly over and close to the steering rack.

I’ve figured out how to carefully maneuver a series of plastic bags so as to be able to remove the filter and catch (most of…sigh) the oil, but that prep alone takes 10 minutes to set it up right.

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Oh no! If it makes you feel better (and you want a little laugh), the first-generation Fortwos are the exact opposite of easy. The little baby 700cc Mercedes-Benz three cylinder has two spark plugs per cylinder and oh, no oil drain plug. So the factory method for an oil change is to pump the oil out.

Thankfully, there are aftermarket oil pans with drains, but come on, Mercedes!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

Yikes. I used to see those pumps advertised in SkyMall, usually with the claim “just like factory MB technicians use!” I always thought it was b/c they were my lab-coated Teutonic betters, not b/c there’s no other damn way to do it. 😉

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I have an 04 Mach 1 that has had a Cobra M112 supercharger made to fit on it, part of which required modifying the stock oil filter housings coolant neck in order to clear the new alternator location. This being due to not wanting to use the Cobras oil cooler which is prone to failing and mixing coolant/oil. As a result I have to use smaller oil filters(ones for a Corvette/Camaro funnily enough) and the clearance is still so tight it touches the lower rad hose slightly. That plus the insanely small amount of engine bay clearance the DOHC engines provide.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago
Reply to  Turbotictac

Are the DOHCs even bigger than the SOHCs? Taller maybe I assume? If so, yikes…talk about shoehorned in to the SN95 engine bay.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

The cylinder heads are both taller and wider at the top.

Goof
Goof
4 months ago

Had an NC-1 Miata/MX-5 for a good long while.

I’m not sure modern cars get much simpler to do maintenance on. Moreover, the engine bay can still fit a Chevy small block, so it was so easy to get to absolutely everything. Even the oil filter was absurdly easy to get to.

Hiram McDaniel
Hiram McDaniel
4 months ago

1979 Fiat Spider 2000. Dead nuts simple to work on, and despite their reputation, dead reliable. Reliable in a 1970s Italian car way, which means having a tool roll in the trunk, so you can deal with the occasional parking lot fix. I drove the snot out of that thing for maybe 6-7 years, and it never once left me stranded, and it never saw the business end of a tow truck.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
4 months ago

My ‘96 XJ was probably the easiest, though the Squareback would be a close 2nd if that Bosch D-Jet wasn’t so finicky.

The 2002 325XiT has been where I’ve spent most of my time wrenching. I wouldn’t say it’s terribly difficult, other than those pesky CV boots that disintegrate after a year or two, and the CCV system that is prone to clogging and sending oil directly down the intake.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago

For a relatively modern choice, my 2010 Ford Focus. Here in the states, it’s a refreshed Mk 1, and it’s about a simple as something from the 21st century can be (e.g. stupid Ford wrench light and proprietary reader aside).

Sure, there’s a fair amount of cheapness built into it, but the ease of fixing/replacing things + parts availability offsets it.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago

The MGB is actually a delight to work on. It’s a simple pushrod inline 4, with a basic four-speed and a solid rear axle. Doesn’t get much simpler. The only weird thing about it is the transmission fluid fill; it has a fill tube and a dipstick like an automatic, and you access it from inside the car. Feels weird to pull back the carpet on the tunnel, pull out a dipstick, and stick a funnel in there.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Not to mention the engine bay is roomy enough to set a small toolbox or sixpack in there while you work.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Have you ever changed the windshield? That is a deeply unpleasant task on an MGB, especially when replacing the gaskets with new, as-yet-uncompressed examples. I did it twice and it’s one of the few things I don’t miss about that car.

https://www.moss-europe.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/1900x/3780b08b89bf73743be85dcc5f1acf25/m/g/mgb_11_11_01.jpg

3WiperB
3WiperB
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Came to say the same. My transmission fill is traditional (from under the car and fill the hole until fluid comes out) on my 1979. I do hope to never have to change the windshield or anything under the dash. Mechanically, it’s pretty easy and cheap to work on and I’ve been able to do everything myself…even pulling the engine and transmission to replace the clutch.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

I’ve had the whole dash out of mine as part of the re-wire job. It’s not too bad, as long as you have small hands or long fingers to get to the retaining nuts on the back of the gauges. I’ve never had to do the windshield either, though I’ve heard the GT isn’t quite as bad as the roadster in that regard.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

I would hope that the GT’s conventional fixed windshield frame would make for an easier R&R than the roadster’s approach of “remove the frame from the car, disassemble it from around the glass, then put it all back together while exerting immense forces directly yet awkwardly upon the glass itself” but my abiding faith in BMC/BL assures me that they must have found a way to make the process almost, but not quite, impossible anyway.

Drew
Drew
4 months ago

My rose-colored glasses suggest my Chevy Citation was the best thing to service. Troubleshooting minor issues was easy: take out the air filter and knock some dust out, tap a couple things, and suddenly it was pulling the right amount of air again (or I had just released enough fuel that it wasn’t flooded; I was a dumbass kid at the time).
When I knocked the muffler off on a road that was made for much larger equipment, it was easy to throw a new muffler on, though we had to fabricate a new exhaust tip because the CORRECT part wasn’t available.
Suspension wasn’t that difficult, though I also ran with it shot for a bit before doing the work.

The most difficult thing I had to do with it was wire the whole thing for a stereo.

That said, I think my 2002 Silverado is pretty serviceable and has fewer dumb issues, now that I’m older and wiser. But being a 16-year-old with a Citation really didn’t feel so bad.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago
Reply to  Drew

But wasn’t the power steering pump effectively impossible to remove with the engine installed? A friend junked hers because her mechanic told her it would cost some crazy amount to replace that pump in a v6 model

-it occurs to me that her mechanic may just have not wanted to deal with her or maybe that car anymore

Drew
Drew
4 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Like I said, it’s entirely rose-colored glasses. I don’t remember having to replace the power steering pump, but I also had access to my father and his shop. Log truck owner-operator who’d been working on his own stuff for decades, a well-equipped shop, and connections to many others with experience and specialized tools. That probably went a lot further than the vehicle in making things easy.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
4 months ago

Just wanted to share that I successfully changed the camshaft position sensor on my Frontier a few weeks back. Super easy job that anyone could do, but definitely the kind of thing that I’d never really tried. Felt great!

Next up, figuring out why the cruise control only works intermittently…

John Crouch
John Crouch
4 months ago

Hey Detroit-Lightning,
Mu Volvo V 50 6Sp has the same problem. I traced it to the clutch position switch, never changed it, just pull up the clutch pedal with my foot & it works every time-Don’t know if that will do it, but hey maybe?

Clark B
Clark B
4 months ago

My 1972 Super Beetle is nice to service…as long as it’s focused on the engine and not some of the rustier parts of the car. I rebuilt the engine a few years ago and it’s like working on a new car, mostly. Every spring I spend a nice relaxing couple hours setting the valves, timing, point gap, plug gap, doing an oil change and dialing in the carb if it’s been acting up.

But strangely, I also appreciate my Sportwagen as well. Not that the Germans went out of their way to make it easy to service, of course not. But I have a fair bit of experience with late model VWs so even though they’re weird and complicated and frustrating sometimes, it’s one of those “devil you know” situations, plus I already have a lot of the specialized tools and VCDS.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
4 months ago

I had a 2004 Impreza for a while and liked working on it. Granted the head gaskets had been done before I got it but otherwise it was fine. Change plugs? OK on one side I had to lift the coolant reservoir out but it just slid up. Pulleys,belts etc? All at the front of the engine. Ignition? Right on top. Axle? pop out the pin and go. Only thing I didn’t do was replace the clutch but I also don’t have access to a lift and my desire to crawl on the ground is low.

JDE
JDE
4 months ago

I can say the 2006 Silverado I have is pretty simple to service. though what service you have in mind could affect this response. Basic service though is dead simple. no jacks required to change oil. plugs are still easy to get to, air cleaner is two snaps and your done, alternator is like 3 bolts. water pump is a bit more complicated than say a 5.7 OBS, but at least it is not hidden behind a timing chain set. Outside of trying to track down the evap leaks that almost always throw a code on these, the work overall is pretty simple.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
4 months ago

Hey, Miata finally gets to be the actual answer on this one!

I bought mine in early 2020 having never taken a wrench to a car before. I bought it specifically because I wanted to learn to wrench, and a Miata is the kind of car you never need to take to a mechanic if you buy basic tools and learn some rudimentary troubleshooting skills.

In that sense, it’s been my favorite car to service. The work makes sense, there’s plentiful support (parts and knowledge), and with the exception of the FOUR GODDAMN SLAVE CYLINDER JOBS I’ve already done, I enjoy the feeling that, if I use quality parts and take my time, I’m fixing a given problem for the first and simultaneously last time.

As a bonus, it leaves me plenty of time for my surprise Saab project, which has none of the servicability attributes of the Miata and has thus far succeeded in breaking my schedule, morale, and bank account simultaneously.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
4 months ago

The TR6 & MGB were so easy to work on. The 2005 Mini, or the Mk 6 GTI, not so much.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
4 months ago

Jeep TJ without air conditioning. Everything is out in the open and working on it reminds me of working on my grandfather’s IH tractors. Which, come to think of it, the TJ sort of is.

The only PITA on the TJ was replacing the heater core, which required removing the entire dash and steering column. That took a couple of evenings.

JDE
JDE
4 months ago

I can say the replacement of a Head on a 4.0 HO is probably the easiest thing to do compared to just about every other vehicle out there. You do need a cherry picker to actually lift that lump and set a new or reconditioned unit in place with breaking you or something else in the vehicle, but even the Valves are about as dead simple for setting as they come.

51
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x