What's a car's lifetime?

Why are cars today so disposable? Is it convenience?

Most of the 'car guys' I know are all pretty hands on and, as a result, all have older cars. When I say older cars I mean 10 years or older,so not classic but at the same time not brand spanking. This means that we're half expecting, sometimes pre-determining the next thing to go wrong well into the hundred of thousands of miles.

Earlier in the week, the exhaust on my '54 plate Mini Cooper S decided to destroy itself, so naturally my first thought was I "wonder what I'll need in order to get that back to normal again". Turns out the answer is looking like a full stainless system......hee hee.

However, when looking around, I thought I'd ask my local main dealer just out of curiosity and I'm glad I was sitting down when they told me the cost of replacing with a standard system, which made me think that if this is an old school exhaust with 'basic' internals, how much is it going to cost in 10 years time when a modern car with its valves and constant strive for improvement fails, costing an absolute fortune. I could easily have chosen to trade the car in but I want to keep this car fighting for another day, it's a bond.

These amazing technologies are fantastic for the first owners who have a great laugh, but this means that if new parts are going to start costing as much as the car is worth, a car's life could only be 10, maybe 15 years at most. But I guess that's the age we live in, it's all about buying new and, as soon as something goes wrong, sell it on for the next owner to worry about and get a new car to last you the next 3 or so years.

I understand that we're all busy and years ago, average Joe would have dedicated a day to repairing the car rather than going to the gym, going shopping or spending all day catching up on a box set. Use the digital takeover to your advantage and spend some time to replace that bad part yourself.

Because of this, when you look around, even tasks as simple as changing a lightbulb are offered at a cost meaning the customer is, out of demand, encouraged to have a mechanic change it rather than learning themselves.

That said, there is also a part to play from the car manufacturers who cram so much tech into a car that you have to remove a wheel to fill up the petrol tank (slight exaggeration). Manufacturers are also forced to make cars more econimical, which means they are far more efficient but the toloerences are so fine that 100,000 miles can be classed as a lifetime.

I emplore you to teach your friends, help your mates, learn a new skill and we'll see many more older cars on the road for years to come, you never know, you may even save some money and find new pub bragging rights.

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