View Single Post
Old 06-20-2003, 09:21 AM
Kestas Kestas is offline
I told you so!
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,804
This is really nothing new. This issue has been addressed in the automotive engineering journals for at least a decade. For every new model coming out, Mercedes has been "improving" it's car line by adding goodies (luxury features and perceived safety features) in the form of more electronics, rather than improving the quality and reliability of existing componentry. Word on the street is that if you want a high end car, Lexus is a better buy for the money.

I had a rant on this forum a few months ago about all the goodies on cars. When I bought my used 95 E320 last year I noticed all the things that needed fixing were the convenience features (both electric headrests, mutiple problems with seatbelt presenter, electrohydraulic top, vanity lights, seat vacuum locks, headlight wipers, funky volume control on radio). The car owner not only has to shell out the money on a new car to have these features, but again to repair these features. Where is the "convenience"?? Plus there's a disturbing trend in the industry to design reliability to only meet the warranty period. After warranty you're on your own. It's no wonder that used cars are so incredibly cheap compared with new cars. The price disparity between new and old is considerably wider now than 20 years ago.

Unfortunately, I have to place most of the blame on the buying public. On average they are morons when it comes to auto ownership. They walk into a dealership and ooh and aah over all the goodies on the car they can impress their friends without any thought to the added complexity of the vehicle and repairability when the car is older. Mercedes wouldn't design in these features if the market didn't accept them. Even when my girlfriend was buying a new car I had to talk her out of many features that she felt she needed. (She has since put 100,000 miles on the vehicle with no repairs needed!)

It'll only get worse. The latest automotive engineering journals are now talking about installing sensors in side window tracks to prevent hand pinching by electric window regulators. I can just envision the added trips to the dealer because windows won't close! There's also talk about installing sensors to prevent stupid people from locking their kids in a hot car. This would be a design nightmare! For all you engine rebuilders you'll just love rebuilding engines that have variable compression. This design has an active system with an electronically controlled motor that drives a gear rack attached to the moveable crank main. It just may be on the market soon.

I think I'll hang on to my 71 Cutlass. It'll probably outlive all the cars being built today simply because it's easier to fix.
95 E320 Cabriolet, 140K
Reply With Quote