Ever wonder how we started doing new vehicle reviews...after our first full year we should tell you (remind) how it all started.
As usual we invite your thoughts, and comments.
We have been around cars long enough to know that they require maintenance, nothing new...
Here is the story...
One of our cars, the one that is usually parked somewhere or other while a new vehicle is reviewed, a few weeks ago required some overdue maintenance. Cars these days are pretty smart, they tell you what they need.
What the car was telling The Colonel that it required...
> Oil and filter a something or other service.
> The consumable (accessory) battery was acting up, some cars have 2 batteries.
Issues The Colonel uncovered...
> Clunking sound from the front suspension, on this model its usually the stabiliser bar joint (ball joint) on the suspension arm that starts making noise.
> Plus more sounds from the front suspension, usually one of the suspension arm bushing wears out.
> For some reason the windshield washer reservoir and/or lines started leaking.
> Perhaps the brakes required some attention, although the car spends a lot of time parked.
> Lets check the cabin filter and engine air filters.
> Install the winter tires that are on the factory (stock) alloy wheels.
Except for the front suspension everything else is routine work dealing with normal consumables, obvious that once you start inspecting additional items might appear.
The Colonel goes to his friend Jordan to have the work done....The Colonel and Jordan go back a few years.
The first order was to install the winter tires (front brakes are low), and take a quick look at the windshield washer, in this case its also the headlamps washer (found one leak at the headlamp) it solved 50% of the problem. The other 50% would require removal of the right front fender liner to access the reservoir.
Took the car, now its OK, with snow, and to deal with messy conditions the windshield washer reservoir will hold some fluid for a period of time.
We often hear of after market here and there, and perhaps we even know how it works, here is the deal on the after market for European cars. The major player is World Pac, and you probably have never heard of the name, since World Pac does not have a store front that you can walk in and browse.
World Pac provides an EPS (electronic parts catalogue) to independent shops, its the parts department for a myriad of shops.
The parts that were ordered were the ball joints that go in the lower suspension arms to attach the stabiliser bar link(s) one for each arm. These cars have 2 lower suspension arms, its a known weak area of the aluminum arm the bushing and ball joint wear out sooner than later. Obvious that you wil replace the arm on each side, in addition to being easier to replace the link ball joint (in the other arm) with the aluminum arm out of the way.
In the interim, one of the pad sensors contacts the disc, and needless to tell you that "you need brake pads" lights up in the dash (no longer goes away)...you have to love cars that think for you.
As consumables consume themselves, its an incremental process, which tends to mislead us as to how good it was, when it was new...the front end of this car feels like a new car with no noise, and new suspension arms (yes...don't ask about the cost).
Since the car has literally a brake by wire system (not many of those around) which requires proprietary procedures to perform a brake job (now you know why there aren't many around). In addition its not the foot pressure or pedal travel that actually applies the brakes...worn pads are not so apparent.
With new pads and discs it makes an appreciable difference, tighter front suspension with new front brakes for the new car feel, to leave it parked...again. You also realise how the worn out consumables almost become normal, how easy it is to simply replace the most obvious, to save money.
Correct maintenance, and service has a price, reading about, and experiencing precise suspensions, high performance brakes with 4 piston calipers to name a few. You can imagine that when the time comes to replace the consumables there is a cost associated to the parts, and doing it correctly to uphold the integrity, and performance of the car.
Since the progression of wear is incremental, it creeps on you, and seems normal. Its "normally worn out". There is a strong sense of satisfaction in having a car drive "like new" even if it costs more money. Yes...could have saved some money, and have the car drive "not new". Its a personal choice!
What do you think most folks would do? Go for the "like new" or the "not new"?