The era of truly reliable cars is a thing of the past. World-famous status, an illustrious name, and other concepts that are attractive to a wealthy audience can now ring hollow. Car owners tend to see this as a conspiracy by manufacturers who want to make extra money on the sale of components and service maintenance, as well as increase car turnover. How justified are such suspicions?
Automaker policies have indeed changed over the past decades. However, this is not only due to the desire to make more money from car owners. Most frequent breakdowns are due to the changed design of cars, new materials, and increased requirements for driving comfort.
Until recently, the car owner carried a whole repair kit: spark plugs, hoses, gaskets, alternator belts, and much more. Today, design has become so complex that even minor problems require the intervention of a specialist and any serious problems can only be corrected in a workshop.
The Indy Auto Man car experts list several reasons why the service life of vehicles reduced significantly:
Automaker policies also play a role in the lifespan of vehicles. Sales of spare parts and services are significant sources of profit for large concerns. They are interested that after the end of the warranty period, the driver contacts service centers to replace parts and a few years later, buys a new car. If parts last 20–30 years, this will lead to a loss of profit and a reduction in production with negative economic consequences.
As a result, new vehicles are typically designed for 3–5 years of continuous operation without major breakdowns and a maximum of 10–15 years of use before replacement. If the car begins to fall apart, many drivers prefer to trade it in and buy a newer model that will not require regular repairs.
One of the reasons for the service life reduction of cars is the increased requirements for speed and environmental friendliness. Because of this, manufacturers replaced the durable cast iron cylinder block with an aluminum alloy. Thin openwork cylinder walls with a separate arrangement according to the Open Desk scheme are subject to geometry deformation - usually observed after 50-60 thousand miles.
It was necessary to cut the cylinder volume to reduce weight and improve the environmental friendliness of the engine. And to increase power - apply the principle of turbocharging. The load on the cylinder group grows, and the service life goes down.
A turbocharger is a complex unit with many systems: it controls lubrication, cooling, and other parameters. If a manufacturer uses two compressors to increase power, this further complicates the design and increases the risk of failure. The more complex the system, the higher the risk of breakdown.
Several other design solutions which improved performance but reduced car reliability:
The increased sensitivity of cars to fuel quality has become an equally grave problem. If previously it was enough to fill up with gasoline or diesel fuel at any gas station, now low-quality fuel quickly leads to filter clogging and engine malfunction. Contamination of the particulate filter has become a problem for diesel engines. Refueling with low-quality gasoline leads to engine power decrease, disruption of operation, and accelerated wear of parts.
Although car manufacturers initially assume a short service life, one can extend it by caring for and replacing worn-out components. On the roads, you can find cars that have been in use for more than 30 years, and drivers maintain them in fully operational condition.
The following actions will help extend the service life by years:
Modern cars have indeed become less reliable than previously produced models. This fact has a whole list of marketing and technical reasons. However, careful operation and compliance with maintenance regulations can significantly extend the vehicle's life and prevent premature breakdowns.