Author Topic: Repairing Today's Cars.  (Read 826 times)

Offline e.mason

  • Posts: 126
  • Name: Eric Mason
Repairing Today's Cars.
« on: December 21, 2017, 09:17:57 PM »
We have bandied around before the "future of car collecting".  Without going down that road again, I was thinking of how much different it is today, having a newer car repaired with all the technology involved in todays cars.  There was a time when most gas station mechanics could repair anything from a Studebaker to a Cadillac.  I think its safe to say that gas station mechanics are few and far between.  With the tech involved with todays cars, many times only dealers are qualified to do repairs.  What go me to thinking about this topic, was a friend that needed his new Lexus windshield replaced.  No easy task, because of all the electronics involved in the windshield.  Once the windshield is installed, they have to be calibrated for the sensors that are involved.

Offline "Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

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Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 09:53:56 PM »
Eric,
I wouldn't worry about repairing "today's" cars once they age.  They are designed and constructed of just about all recyclable materials so they can be recycled.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Jason Edge

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  • Name: Jason Edge
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 10:06:06 PM »
I'm sure everyone has a different "angle of experience" on this but will share mine briefly. First I like to think I can repair or replace anything on my 64 Coupe deVille, however, on the "other Cadillacs" (we have an all Cadillac garage) I simply don't have the time or inclination to dive into anything much deeper than replacing brakes, batteries, sensors, head & tail lamps, and the like on the newer cars.  Backing up a bit, I grew up in a military/blue collar town (Fayetteville, NC) and later moved to Raleigh, NC  to attend NC State (and still live in the area). Back then (30 years ago) we had local Fayetteville mechanics that could dial in your car in time for the Saturday dragstrip runs on their Sun Machine with their eyes closed and ears open; however, the "mechanics" at the "Service Stations" in and around the Government and more white collar Raleigh, could do little more than clean your windows, change your oil, or maybe plug a tire.   With that left the dealerships (i.e. Raleigh's Sir Walter & Bobby Murray Chevrolet dealerships since I was a Chevy man back then), which then were often out of my budget, and often headed back toward the local boys and real mechanics from back home.
So fast forward to 2017. It is sort of the same situation but instead you have to find what I call "Hi Tech Good Ole Boys".  There is one in particular just down the road and in the middle of nothing, that has a 3 bay building that looks like the old type service station but just doesn't have the gas pumps. The difference is instead of some Goober or Gomer Pyle type, you have a hi tech local yocal with his iPad pulling up all the schematics, recall and other data on any particular make or model with any particular problem faster than any dealership tech could ever dream of.  I had my 2002 Escalade for a "Service Stability System" warning a few years back at the local Cadillac Dealership only to be told the ABS module would cost me $1700, would take a week or so to get it in, and they were unable to install it due to the position under the frame. My "Hi Tech Good Ole Boy" looked at it, pulled up the code, had complete grasp of what the issues were, cause of the code, and from sites he pulled up online and helped me find the ABS unit for about $850 and could install for a couple hundred bucks but might need to fabricate some new brake lines due to how it was angled. It was ordered on a Friday and had it that Monday!
So for me, it is a matter of getting out of the cities, and finding these real mechanics and that are not stuck in time and embrace new technology and have the smarts to actually figure something out on their own. 
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 10:22:11 AM by Jason Edge »
Jason Edge
Director CLC 1963-1964 Cadillac Chapter - www.6364Cadillac.com
email - jasonedge@nc.rr.com
1964 Coupe DeVille - http://bit.ly/1WnOQRX
2002 Escalade EXT
2012 SRX Performance Edition

Offline Cape Cod Fleetwood

  • Posts: 125
  • Name: Laurie Kraynick
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 12:24:55 AM »
Similarly my 2008 GMC Acadia SLT (work truck) started throwing "service traction control/service stabilitrack" warnings/codes. Brought it to my local guy Scott (who's also on the #3 Alcohol funny car team and who will be The Ark's crew chief) he put some gizmo into the thingy under the dash and started pressing buttons on his smart phone. After about a minute he unplugged every thing, got his old Colgate toothbrush out of his socket drawer and a can of DeOxit. Removed some plugs from the ECM, started spraying and scrubbing, put the plugs back... hasn't happened since.

Ah, youth.... I knew his father before his father knew his mother.
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

Offline Jim Miller

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  • Name: Jmiller
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2017, 05:37:15 AM »
My wife's Eqinox began a rough idle. Stopped at the Chevy-Cadillac garage, they hooked their monitor under the dash - in less than a minute they knew #3 spark plug was fouled. Fortunately, the young fellow (29) who is the mechanic grew up around a hot rod shop and owns a 1950 Hudson - so he is qualified to check out my '41 by ear if it's running rough.
Jim Miller
Jim Miller

1941 62 sedan
2016 SRX

Offline Big Apple Caddy

  • Posts: 700
  • Name: R. Langley
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2017, 08:18:35 AM »
All sorts of theories about the repairability of "modern cars" have been out there for a while but cars overall have become more durable and longer lasting.  The average age of cars on the road today is more than twice what it was in 1970, for example, when the scrappage/junk rate was notably higher.

Older cars (10 years old or older at a given time) are expected to continue to "thrive" and this will help feed the need and desire for related service, parts, etc.  As the parts and technology that goes into cars changes, the technology to repair, replicate and replace parts for cars will change and improve too.

Offline BJM

  • Posts: 327
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2017, 08:21:59 AM »
Modern cars present the good and the bad. They are overall MUCH more reliable, so - to go back to the original concept of this thread - you could buy a newer car with the goal of long term collector car ownership and that experience will last a lifetime. 

Cars are meant to driven at least 150,000 miles and typically go to 250,000 without requiring an overhaul of the drivetrain.  If a modern Cadillac is plucked out and treated with collector car mentality, you are unlikely to accumulate enough miles to worry about these issues. 

I don't necessarily like modern GM so I have no idea what is available to buy new to collect or appreciate.  I do like the last gen Eldorados and do get a little worried about reliability on those.

I am also a new Field Service Technician for a major scientific equipment seller.  I am fairly new with little experience so the above comments regarding some non factory techs fixing modern issues is relevant to me.

If I go out to fix a Centrifuge for the next 2 years I may never have seen whatever issue it is before.  When I walk in I may be the guy that's supposed to fix it with years of experience but I am not. 

Similar with automobiles - some issues come up that are not common and maybe no one performed that repair before, not even the factory.  These technicians are trained at community colleges, some are smarter than others, but generally a protocol has to be followed and sometimes there is no choice - especially considering the litigious world we live in. 

Collect a modern car?  Good topic with no clear answer. 
Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado

Offline TJ Hopland

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Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2017, 09:28:57 AM »
I usually can't afford 'new' cars till they are about 10 years old.  By that time aftermarket has usually come up with all sorts of special tools and repair kits that usually are not that expensive.   There are often updated parts either from OE or aftermarket that eliminate a lot of issues too and many of the cars I buy already have the updates.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline e.mason

  • Posts: 126
  • Name: Eric Mason
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 09:32:46 AM »
Just for clarification.  My post wasn't in reference to "todays cars becoming tomorrows collectible".  I think there is already a thread or two addressing this situation.  These threads mentioned the cost, availability and knowledge to restore todays cars with all the technology involved in modern cars.

What motivated me to start this topic, was all the technology in my newest Cadillac.  What have today is the combination of mechanical and electronics in todays cars.  While they are able to work hand in hand.  Sometimes todays mechanics might not be able to deal with both sides of the equation.  You might have a tech expert, that hasn't a clue as to how to gap a spark plug.

I think we can all agree that the automobile, like TV has progressed to beyond some of our wildest dreams.  TV started with 3 black and white stations on a 10" screen.  Today we have HD screens, with sizes approaching 100" and almost infinite channel choices.  It appears as though we are on the cutting edge of having self driving cars.

Offline e.mason

  • Posts: 126
  • Name: Eric Mason
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2017, 09:34:47 AM »
I usually can't afford 'new' cars till they are about 10 years old.  By that time aftermarket has usually come up with all sorts of special tools and repair kits that usually are not that expensive.   There are often updated parts either from OE or aftermarket that eliminate a lot of issues too and many of the cars I buy already have the updates.


Might not be that easy to do in 2028.  The technology in cars, as in other devices i.e. smartphones, is rapidly changing.

Offline wrench

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  • Name: Jim Cullen
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2017, 10:40:22 AM »
What I have found over the years is that what makes a good mechanic is the mechanic, not the technology.

There are sound basic skills required and acquired. Either the guy has them or he doesn't.

The state of technology doesn't matter, it's the state of the art of the technician.

My old school skills come in very handy on modern equipment and the new school skills come in handy working on older equipment.

I hate the term 'synergy', but it does exist and I haven't found a better term for it.
1951 Series 62 Sedan
1969 Eldorado
1970 Eldorado (Triple Black w/power roof)
1958 Apache 3/4 ton 4x4
2005 F250
2014 FLHP
2014 SRX

Offline e.mason

  • Posts: 126
  • Name: Eric Mason
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2017, 10:57:01 AM »
What I have found over the years is that what makes a good mechanic is the mechanic, not the technology.

There are sound basic skills required and acquired. Either the guy has them or he doesn't.

The state of technology doesn't matter, it's the state of the art of the technician.

My old school skills come in very handy on modern equipment and the new school skills come in handy working on older equipment.

I hate the term 'synergy', but it does exist and I haven't found a better term for it.

Where I have to find fault with your thinking, is that today's "technology" requires a skill and knowledge, much different then the technology of cars in days gone past.  How many computer "geeks" are adapt at even putting gas in their car, while a top mechanic can tear down an older engine and put it back together again.

Another example is my friend that had the windshield replaced in his Lexus.  They had one serviceman install the window and used another to calibrate it.  The window repair business had to hire new techs to just calibrate the windshield.

Offline Big Apple Caddy

  • Posts: 700
  • Name: R. Langley
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2017, 01:15:29 PM »
Might not be that easy to do in 2028.  The technology in cars, as in other devices i.e. smartphones, is rapidly changing.

Or it could become easier as the technologies to create, replicate, replace, repair, etc parts also may rapidly change and improve.  No one can say for sure which is why these sorts of questions, debates, discussions about the long term reparability of "modern cars" of a given time have been around for so very long.

The essence of your questions, or doubts, posted in this topic really aren't much different than those expressed by some in the 1990s, 80s, 70s, 60s and before.  The skills, parts, technology, etc may change through the decades but the gist of the discussions themselves largely remains the same generation after generation.  Much like discussions about the future of so many other things.

Offline MeToo

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: M Taylor
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2017, 09:12:03 PM »
How many of today's young mechanics would be scratching their heads at the sight of a carburetor?

Online Chuck Swanson

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  • Name: C. Swanson
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2017, 10:58:39 PM »
Where I have to find fault with your thinking, is that today's "technology" requires a skill and knowledge, much different then the technology of cars in days gone past.  How many computer "geeks" are adapt at even putting gas in their car, while a top mechanic can tear down an older engine and put it back together again.
The schools currently teach both.  Also, I am one of those computer geeks in the IT field that can rebuild  engines as I have done a number of times :)

Since my son is getting ready to start a 4 yr college degree in automotive tech in the fall, I am very familiar with the current offerings and most all graduating will be computer geeks too.  Not only will they know  how to rebuild engines, but transmissions, etc....too of course. Some even offer an auto restoration track.  I predict it will be easier, with Youtube, videos, etc..., to restore.  It already is getting easier with the ease of spreading info.  Chuck

66 DeVille Convertible (3)
64 Series 62 (2)
64 2 door
66 Sedan DeVille hardtop
65 Eldorado (vert w/bucket seats)
65 Eldorado Bk/Bk
69 DeVille vert
97 DeVille d'Elegance
67 Chevy II Nova (AACA GN 2016)
69 Dodge Coronet R/T
98 American Tradition 40' DP RV
AACA Lifetime
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Offline jaxops

  • Mark Monaghan
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Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2017, 06:44:45 AM »
One of the biggest factors is price.   The cost of parts and labor to fix  cars has skyrocketed.  Especially luxury cars like BMW, MB, Lexus, Land Rover, Jaguar, etc. Every time my wife's MB goes into the shop it is at least $300.00 but usually around $800.00 when all of the other things get fixed (Class "A" or "B" maintenance for instance always pushes the $800 mark).  My 1997 Lincoln needed a new catalytic converter.  Oops, you can't get one except for after-market (meaning Ebay).  Luckily I had a real mechanic who was able to re-weld the bracket using a new converter and canister.  It still came out to >$800.00.  Most shops are charging $70+ per hour for repairs so even the "diagnostic" pushes you up to the $100.00 mark.  I was being charged $200 each for 2 radiator hoses!  (Yes I declined and did the job myself).

I think it will  become harder and harder to keep these 15-20 year old cars on the road. Plastic parts give out, computer hard drives die and no one makes replacements in some cases anymore.  I plan on trying! It will be expensive and hard to find mechanics that can do more than the normal repairs though.
1970 Buick Electra Convertible
1956 Cadillac Series 75 Limousine
1949 Cadillac Series 75 Imperial Limousine
1989 Ford Crown Victoria Station Wagon
1997 Lincoln Town Car
AACA, Cadillac-LaSalle Club #24591, ASWOA

Offline TJ Hopland

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Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2017, 07:55:28 AM »
The technology to build the cars is growing at the same pace as the tech to fix them.    You need a plastic part that you can't buy in a store?   No problem,  in a few years the CLC website will have a part file section where you find the part you need listed and download the code to print one a / your 3d printer.   Right now there are sites full of the codes to build your own tech related stuff.   I just watched a video about building and printing your own mini vintage arcade game.  It will just take some 'kid' to buy an old Cadillac that needs parts and get the ball rolling.  Before long he will have designed parts you can download and sells a kit so you can use your old Iphone to replace the ECU in your 89 Alante.

Today you can buy a 3D printer that works for under $500.   The quality isn't the greatest but to learn on or maybe make molds to cast I bet it would be great.   It kinda looks like $3000 is where you start to get printers that could make a finished part.     
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline e.mason

  • Posts: 126
  • Name: Eric Mason
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2017, 09:31:15 AM »
The schools currently teach both.  Also, I am one of those computer geeks in the IT field that can rebuild  engines as I have done a number of times :)

Since my son is getting ready to start a 4 yr college degree in automotive tech in the fall, I am very familiar with the current offerings and most all graduating will be computer geeks too.  Not only will they know  how to rebuild engines, but transmissions, etc....too of course. Some even offer an auto restoration track.  I predict it will be easier, with Youtube, videos, etc..., to restore.  It already is getting easier with the ease of spreading info.  Chuck

Everything you posted sounds encouraging.  Hopefully there will enough of these graduates to go around.

Offline INTMD8

  • Posts: 753
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2017, 07:16:26 PM »
Things are different yes, and it does in fact take more than your average gas station mechanic of yesteryear to repair a modern vehicle.

Good news is, people adapt and life goes on.  Anything that has been built can be fixed, and will be if it's worth it.

:)
Jim Moran.   1959 Series 62 Convertible

Offline 64CaddieLacky

  • Posts: 259
  • Name: C.Asaro
Re: Repairing Today's Cars.
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2017, 07:46:43 PM »
What about accessibility to repair these parts? Engine compartments have become so crammed, including everything inside the dash where it makes getting to a specific part almost impossible.

I always wonder how in the heck the guys that write the repair manuals on these new cars are able to get all the info they need so fast and accurately in order for techs to do the job correctly.

In the future with autonomous cars being more pronounced, and the tech being so expensive I donít think it will be feasible to even bother to repair them.

Luckily for us our classic caddyís  are pretty straight forward and are easier to work on than anything made today. That alone relieves my headache just thinking about trying to fix a 2020 Cadillac whatever since Iíll still have my 64 to tinker around with. :D
1964 Sedan Deville
1994 Fleetwood Bro
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental