Car Diagnostic scanners - anybody use them?

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Fergie 307

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The public - you and I generally - are complicit in the exploitative strategies used by car companies.

They have sold us the idea of, and mostly we have willingly bought, complex gizmos which do close to nothing to improve the functionality of motor vehicles.

These include generally unusable performance, sport modes, racetrack modes, economy modes, power seats, internal ambient lighting, auto wipers, auto lights, integrated media systems, etc. None of this is critical in transporting homo-sapiens from A to B efficiently in reasonable comfort.

We have only ourselves to blame. We should have bought the base model. Instead we chose the one equipped with configurable steering wheels, optional altitude sensors, leather upholstery crafted from the skin of dolphins, ecologically sound wood trim, and additive free air suspension.

They then tell us we need £000s of sophisticated technical kit to tell use what is wrong with our sophisticated complex car. We are idiots and deserve to be exploited!
it is such a shame that no one really makes a basic car anymore, a modern equivalent of the 2CV for example, with the bare minimum of electronics to control the engine and useful stuff like ABS and airbags. No mood lighting, no blooming electric handbrake or the plethora of other gadgetry that we can apparently no longer do without.
 

loc0

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Car companies build cars to make money, they are in the business of shifting products, lots of them, the customers convenience in fixing it when it goes wrong is barely a consideration, any way to make the product faster & cheaper to build will be used. The white goods analogy is perfect, they build washing machines to wear out so they can sell you new ones, Cars are the same.
Very true. Recently my partner had to leave her Audi A3 due to some ongoing issues. Fortunately, her new mechanic is ex VW group employee specialising in Audi. He told us that new cars coming from VW Group are built to last 7 years (not sure if that applies to the premium sector aka Porshe, Bentley, Lambo). How their accountants come with that number I do not know, but new cars are plagued with problems related to electronics. Again quote from him: most components used in modern cars are basically borrowed from a home pc/ laptop systems that are designed to work in stable conditions and will fail on the road at some point.
Mercedes is being sued by its customers that bought new S Class and can't enjoy 100 000+£ cars because of constant problems.
 

Terry - Somerset

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The priority of car manufacturers is keeping 1st owners happy. Keeping 2nd owners happy increases the trade in price the 1st owners enjoy, and 2nd owners may one day be new car buyers. Thereafter their motivation to provide long lasting vehicles declines.

The origin of the phrase planned obsolescence goes back at least as far as 1932 with Bernard London's pamphlet Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence. The essence of London's plan would have the government impose a legal obsolescence on personal-use items, to stimulate and perpetuate purchasing.

Car manufacturers have enthusiastically adopted the philosophy.

It costs money to build cars which last longer - better materials, design, finer tolerances, more quality control etc. The 1st owner choice would be skewed towards that which is cheaper (but outlast their ownership) rather than that which will be reliably motoring in 20 years time!
 

Spectric

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Car companies build cars to make money, they are in the business of shifting products, lots of them, the customers convenience in fixing it when it goes wrong is barely a consideration,
It is not even a consideration, when I was involved with automotive engineering we were told that we design for manufacture and not repair, this meant some good engineering practices were ignored. So providing the line operator could fit component x without problems then it did not mater if later on someone would need to remove the entire powertrain to replace component x when it failed so you get huge labour cost to replace something that cost a few dollars.
 

Dibs-h

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Just watched a video on changing the chains on an N47 BMW engine, what a complete design failure from start to finish. Remove engine, remove flywheel and sump then a casing just to access these chains and some nasty plastic guides. Running in oil so why do they fail, could it be that it is just a single little chain and not a duplex that was once so common!
Historically (in the 80's & 90's) on some engines, BMW used double chains, plastic guides and oil fed tensioners - a very reliable system on the whole. The big difference was all of it was on the front of the block, so changing it wasn't the debacle and expense it is now.
 

Spectric

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The priority of car manufacturers is keeping 1st owners happy. Keeping 2nd owners happy increases the trade in price the 1st owners enjoy,
The first owner providing they only keep the vehicle whilst in warranty should have no major issues, the OEM design or at least try to, to ensure minimal warranty work because that is something that cost them. The next owner is taking a higher risk, the OEM has made their money and that car no longer exist once it is in the second hand car market, now it is the turn of the motor trade and garages to make their money and the OEM might make some money on parts but it is the owner who forks out everytime. Now once getting towards fifteen years old they become a high risk but unless you buy new then they have got you, most warranties offered are worthless unless the car fails badly within weeks of purchase. We are already seeing expensive high end motors that become worthless because the cost of repair exceeds their market value, it will be the more basic and less refined motors that may hold their value.

So where does the word sustainable, resource or enviromentally freindly come into this equation. The modern car is nothing more than whitegoods on wheels, just a throwaway commodity that consumes vast amounts of material and energy to build yet even if the engine is zero emisions it will have contributed during it's short life and therefore maybe the older cars that were more polluting were better for the enviroment due to longer lifecycles.
 

Spectric

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The big difference was all of it was on the front of the block, so changing it wasn't the debacle and expense it is now.
Yes I do remember when German engineering was appreciated, is it not ironic that when timing chains were reliable that they were easily accessed yet now they are inherently unreliable that they are inaccessable without removing the engine, sounds like backward engineering because it is hardly new technology and with so many historic designs to learn from.
 

Jameshow

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The first owner providing they only keep the vehicle whilst in warranty should have no major issues, the OEM design or at least try to, to ensure minimal warranty work because that is something that cost them. The next owner is taking a higher risk, the OEM has made their money and that car no longer exist once it is in the second hand car market, now it is the turn of the motor trade and garages to make their money and the OEM might make some money on parts but it is the owner who forks out everytime. Now once getting towards fifteen years old they become a high risk but unless you buy new then they have got you, most warranties offered are worthless unless the car fails badly within weeks of purchase. We are already seeing expensive high end motors that become worthless because the cost of repair exceeds their market value, it will be the more basic and less refined motors that may hold their value.

So where does the word sustainable, resource or enviromentally freindly come into this equation. The modern car is nothing more than whitegoods on wheels, just a throwaway commodity that consumes vast amounts of material and energy to build yet even if the engine is zero emisions it will have contributed during it's short life and therefore maybe the older cars that were more polluting were better for the enviroment due to longer lifecycles.

I don't like buying mid market tbh although I have 2 vans in that sector 12 and 15 plate as they are out of warranty, yet still valuable so risky if something goes wrong.

My sons 02 polo on the other hand cost £500 is easy to fix and goes well.
 

Smithy

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I used to live French cars, still do the old ones. Best thing to do with a modern one is sell it before it goes wrong, the electronics on them are dreadful.
Yes a friend told me the same. I think modern cars are challenging for the diy mechanic. I will stick with this car. I know my way around it now and this is the first problem I have had with the electrics. I have a 1983 volvo 240 I hope to put back on the road. She is a delight to work on.
 

PhilipL

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Blame the legal regime of the EU. Copyright in functional artefacts (software in cars) means you never get the required information to repair what you bought.
 

morqthana

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Blame the legal regime of the EU. Copyright in functional artefacts (software in cars) means you never get the required information to repair what you bought.
Please explain how that theory explains why so many states in the USA are considering right-to-repair laws, and manufacturers are opposing them, and Biden recently directed the Federal Trade Commission to issue rules preventing manufacturers from imposing restrictions on independent device repair shops and DIY repairs.

You don't have some prejudiced bias agains the EU, do you?
 

PhilipL

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Considering ease explain how that theory explains why so many states in the USA are considering right-to-repair laws, and manufacturers are opposing them, and Biden recently directed the Federal Trade Commission to issue rules preventing manufacturers from imposing restrictions on independent device repair shops and DIY repairs.

You don't have some prejudiced bias agains the EU, do you?
Considering right to repair is something the EU has been doing for years, but never implements. I was an academic interested in these matters and used to groan at the decisions which came out of the ECJ. I could see where it was all heading, even back in the 1980s. The US, of course, were there too mixing up artistic and functional aspects.

And don't start me off on trademarks!
 

Fergie 307

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The first owner providing they only keep the vehicle whilst in warranty should have no major issues, the OEM design or at least try to, to ensure minimal warranty work because that is something that cost them. The next owner is taking a higher risk, the OEM has made their money and that car no longer exist once it is in the second hand car market, now it is the turn of the motor trade and garages to make their money and the OEM might make some money on parts but it is the owner who forks out everytime. Now once getting towards fifteen years old they become a high risk but unless you buy new then they have got you, most warranties offered are worthless unless the car fails badly within weeks of purchase. We are already seeing expensive high end motors that become worthless because the cost of repair exceeds their market value, it will be the more basic and less refined motors that may hold their value.

So where does the word sustainable, resource or enviromentally freindly come into this equation. The modern car is nothing more than whitegoods on wheels, just a throwaway commodity that consumes vast amounts of material and energy to build yet even if the engine is zero emisions it will have contributed during it's short life and therefore maybe the older cars that were more polluting were better for the enviroment due to longer lifecycle


The priority of car manufacturers is keeping 1st owners happy. Keeping 2nd owners happy increases the trade in price the 1st owners enjoy, and 2nd owners may one day be new car buyers. Thereafter their motivation to provide long lasting vehicles declines.

The origin of the phrase planned obsolescence goes back at least as far as 1932 with Bernard London's pamphlet Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence. The essence of London's plan would have the government impose a legal obsolescence on personal-use items, to stimulate and perpetuate purchasing.

Car manufacturers have enthusiastically adopted the philosophy.

It costs money to build cars which last longer - better materials, design, finer tolerances, more quality control etc. The 1st owner choice would be skewed towards that which is cheaper (but outlast their ownership) rather than that which will be reliably motoring in 20 years time!
It is interesting that some manufacturers do continue to supply parts way beyond any legal obligation. I can still get virtually any part for my 30+ year old Mercedes from the dealer, admittedly sometimes the prices can be a little eye watering. Saab and BMW used to do the same. Try asking a Ford dealer for many parts for even a ten year old car and they will just laugh at you. So when the manufacturer is no longer interested you have to either get a replacement from a dismantler, buy pattern stuff, or find one of the specialist suppliers who go around buying up NOS original parts from dealers and manufacturers.
 

selectortone

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Ìf you want a reliable car buy Japanese. I found my daughter a 2004 Mazda 3 with 55k miles and a decent service history five years ago, for which she paid £1.9k. Lovely car, 1.6 petrol, fun to drive, quite peppy, good economy, ran like a sewing machine the entire time she had it.

She had it serviced annually, it sailed through every MOT, and she sold it with 88k miles on for £850 despite a deep scratch down the drivers side some anonymous moron left in it. She only sold it because she has a new job with a company car - a Kia e-Nero EV which I have to say is absolutely awesome, but that's another story.

Now, that's what I call a good car-owning experience. I'm having (touch wood) a similar experience with a Mazda 6, which is every bit as well appointed and nice to drive as my old 5-series BMW 525i. I also have 17-year old Mazda MX-5 and the engines on those are legendary for being bullet-proof.
 
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Spectric

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I don't even think that the newer Japanese cars are what they once were, one of my first experiences with Japanese was a Datsun bluebird and one of the first things you noticed was that it did not drip oil on the driveway and it always started.
 

Dibs-h

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Yes I do remember when German engineering was appreciated, is it not ironic that when timing chains were reliable that they were easily accessed yet now they are inherently unreliable that they are inaccessable without removing the engine, sounds like backward engineering because it is hardly new technology and with so many historic designs to learn from.
TBF, I think they are as reliable as they used to be - just that they don't last for ever and do need changing.

The issue is that some "designer" got his\her way and engineering probably were on the receiving end of a "JFDI" - resulting in the sprocket\chain end being put at the back so as to allow the front of the engine to sit lower, thereby allowing the bonnet to slope down further.

Having them at the front limits how low the front of the engine can go.

Sadly a case of "form" taking priority over "function (and reliability)".
 

Spectric

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I think they are as reliable as they used to be - just that they don't last for ever
But they require parts replacing that would have lasted the life of the car years ago. I have worked on cars that required the engine to sit very low, not to get the bonnet to slope more but to get the CofG lower and our solution was to fit a dry sump lube system with a pace pump, maybe not ideal for a mass production road car but I cannot see any excuse for such bad engineering from BMW. Another example are motorcycles, on bikes like the CB750 and such, to change the chain meant dismantling the engine as it was driven from the centre of the crank and was an endless chain but the design was so good they lasted and were so easy to re-tension. I think that had this BMW engine been designed in the seventies then maybe they would have used gears.
 
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