Many of our new or prospective customers frequently ask:
If I use all SynLube Lube-4-Life® products in my new vehicle, will it last FOREVER?
Of course, they expect us to answer simply: YES, but unfortunately the reality is quite different!
Not because SynLube Lube-4-Life® does not perform as advertised, but mainly because their new or nearly new vehicle has NOT been designed to last indefinitely!
Forever of course has a personal definition as well.
To one person owning the same car for 3 or 4 years may seem like "forever" and he or she is "totally" ready for a new vehicle.
Yet another person who has nice looking "clean" vehicle that is 7 years old and has over 70,000 miles may in his or her mind think of it as "still new"!
So before we go into great detail about what SynLube Lube-4-Life® can and can not do, let's examine some unpleasant realities of car life and the current status quo of the automotive industry.
When vehicles of all types just started to be an acceptable replacement for horse and buggy, the level of automotive engineering was almost nonexistent.
Vehicle manufacturers were either home based barn projects, or an outgrowth of companies that made anything from horse drawn carriages, bicycles, rail road cars or even bar soap.
If the vehicle actually ran, and got you somewhere from point A to point B and also back, it was in itself a major achievement.
In the early 1900s there were dozens of automobile manufacturers in the United States, and many more worldwide. Many of these manufacturers and automobile parts companies joined trade groups that met their needs for promoting business and raising public awareness of this new form of transportation. A need for patent protection, common technical design problems, and the development of engineering standards was quickly emerging and many engineers in the automobile business expressed a desire to have "free exchange of ideas" in order to expand their individual technical knowledge base.
Two magazine men of that era: Peter Heldt of The Horseless Age, and Horace Swetland of The Automobile were tireless advocates of the concepts that forged the creation of SAE. Heldt wrote an editorial in June of 1902 in which he said, "Now there is a noticeable tendency for automobile manufacturers to follow certain accepted lines of construction, technical questions constantly arise which seek solution from the cooperation of the technical men connected with the industry. These questions could best be dealt with by a technical society. The field of activity for this society would be the purely technical side of automobiles."
A mere 27 months after Heldt's editorial the Society of Automobile Engineers was born.
The SAE still exists today www.sae.org
The crowning achievement of the era was the famous FORD Model T, which made mobility for the masses an achievable as well as affordable reality.
The Model T was introduced on October 1, 1908, and production continued as late as 1927; the final total production was 15,007,034. This record stood for the next 45 years.
Low cost and simplicity were far more popular that reliability or durability.
FORD Motor Company is still in business today. By contrast almost all of their rivals that made better and more durable cars, which were hand made and much more expensive all eventually went out of business or were absorbed into General Motors or Chrysler.
Chrysler LLC and twenty-four of its affiliated subsidiaries filed a consolidated petition for bankruptcy on April 30, 2009 and General Motors following the suit did the same on June 1, 2009.
Today in 2012 both companies are reportedly well and prosperous. While GM is today still the world's largest automobile manufacturer, Chrylser has for all practical purposes merged with Italian FIAT
But, enough of the FAST FORWARD and back to the PAST.
Keeping any vehicle forever was not ever the objective for anyone but the very few that were extremely rich.
Few cars of those limited production automobiles are today still in running shape.
These seldom driven and even seldom started always garaged examples of automotive opulence indeed seem to last forever.
Their normal residence is in numerous automotive museums around the World or in private garages of wealthy car collectors.
None of these forever vehicles are or have ever been a daily drivers.
Some examples of FORD Model T also survive, mostly because of the almost infinite supply of donor cars, which made their resurrections possible. However finding one of those old timers in original condition today is a miracle.
The few originals that are known to exist are also permanently parked in museums and private collections.
During the boom years after the WW II, when the USA and Western Europe got back to business making cars rather than tanks and trucks for the military, having a new car every model year was the ultimate status symbol. No one who could afford it could even think of ownership that extended past 18 months. If you were somebody, anybody you just got a new car as often as possible.
Doing valve jobs, engine overhauls, major transmission repairs after 30,000 miles of driving was not uncommon and the 3,000 miles service was the norm.
Most vehicles did not even run reliably to go that long between tune-ups as Spark Plugs, Ignition Points, Ignition Condensers, Motor Oil, Oil Filter and Air filter needed to be replaced that often.
Tires did not last, and many had inner tubes that quite often did not survive a single Sunday drive!
But that was the norm and the motoring public was quite used to have lot of service and maintenance done in just about any Service Station that did not just sell the required fuel but also provided Oil, Oil Changes, Hoses, Belts, Wipers, and so on.
Until 1966 car business was free for all any company just anywhere on Earth that made any vehicle sold some of them in USA, there were no safety regulations, there were no emission regulations, there were no restriction, with the exception of extremely high import duty for vehicles made in the Communist block.
When GM introduced the answer to the VW bug invasion from West Germany with the infamous Corvair, one person in particular (Ralph Nader) decided to rain on their party!
The Chevrolet Corvair was produced from 1959 to 1969 with 1,786,243 cars being made.
Nader followed the book with big self run campaign to the US congress. His effort eventually resulted in the formation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that are administered by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Agency) which is an integral part of Department of Transportation (DOT).
Unsafe at Any Speed is often characterized as the book "about the Corvair", though only one of the book's eight chapters covers the Corvair. The theme of tire pressures chosen for comfort rather than safety is recurrent, and the main theme throughout is the way in which the motor industry evaded even well-founded and technically informed criticism.
Nader's advocacy of automobile safety and the publicity generated by the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, along with concern over escalating nationwide traffic fatalities, led to the unanimous passage of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The act established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and marked a historic shift in responsibility for automobile safety from the consumer to the manufacturer. The legislation mandated a series of safety features for automobiles, beginning with safety belts and stronger windshields.
So suddenly there was a Federal US mandate that vehicle had to be safe before they could be imported into USA or sold to US consumers by anyone.
The boutique imported brands mostly vanished overnight, which was far more profitable for GM than the loss of Corvair.
But to just anyone’s great shock the obsolete VW Bug, was quickly reincarnated to the New Bug and without missing even month of sales managed to meet all the enacted safety regulations as they become effective.
VW Bug was perhaps the only vehicle that was still manufactured so that one could if he or she wanted to keep it forever. The famous derivatives of VW by PORSCHE also were keepers, since parts to keep those running were available.
From US made vehicles FORD again had the top winner with the famous FORD Mustang, which although not durable was made in such huge quantities, that plentiful donor cars were commonly available for perpetual resurrection of one's coveted Mustang, almost indefinitely.
Mustang was initially based on the Ford Falcon, a compact car. Production began in Dearborn, Michigan on 9 March, 1964 and the car was introduced to the public on 17 April 1964 at the New York World's Fair.
Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year, but in its first eighteen months, more than one million Mustangs were built
Environmental concerns did not lag too much behind safety. Serious smog events in Los Angeles, California gave a wake up call to politicians, that safer more durable cars may keep their drivers alive in accidental collision, but will certainly choke them to death with their exhaust.
The Clean Air Act Extension of 1970 (84 Stat. 1676, Public Law 91-604) is a United States federal law that requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the general public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health. This law is an amendment to the Clean Air Act originally passed in 1963.
This time Engelhard Corporation got the winning card, the magic of Platinum in the newly engineered “Catalytic Converter” that was simply plumbed into the exhaust of the common gas hog, and the World once again was saved!
Engelhard Corporation is a former Fortune 500 company headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey. It is credited with developing the first production catalytic converter. In 2006, BASF bought Engelhard for $5 billion.
But restricted exhaust increased engine running temperatures, the platinum was not happy with lead commonly used in gasoline to increase the Octane Rating, so newly formulated Unleaded Gasoline became the required norm.
This reduced engine durability, as the self lubricating qualities of the lead were lost.
The early “smog” cars were just a big step backward in performance and durability and even reliability suffered.
The alternate answer by GM to the smog challenge was poorly engineered Diesel engine which was based on gasoline version of the same unit and thus became a total disaster!
So cars in the 1970's were definitely not candidates for forever ownership.
By mid 1980's there were but few vehicles that still utilized carburetor, most had Fuel Injection systems, of which the BOSCH L Electronic system was indisputably the best of the best.
Improved metallurgy that was direct result of the poor durability of the earlier smog engines has reached about the peak, and finally if you planned for it, you could have kept your 1985 to 1989 vintage well maintained car almost forever.
Few people however did as the increases in fuel prices, fuel shortages and other incidents made the bigger cars just too expensive to keep.
But this is the period when smaller Import manufacturers like TOYOTA and HONDA got their reputation for durability, but incidentally even the rather rare BERTONE X1/9 with FIAT power train could easily outlast typical American made car many times over!
Odometer mileages of over 100,000 miles become so common that manufacturers had to start selling new cars with 6 digit odometers so that mileages of over 100,000 miles could be reliably recorded.
The only cars of that period whose odometers only registered to 99,999 miles were the iconic YUGO, which incidentally did not feature Fuel Injection until their demise in US market in 1992.
This is the short era of forever automobiles, they were made much better than they had to be, and over improved and over engineered in comparison to the mid 1970's vehicles which as bad as they were caused this phenomenon to occur.
Durability and reliability of TOYOTA and MERCEDES-BENZ of that vintage made them legendary even till today, although nowadays that is truly only a legend, as it is not longer true fact.
These are the years that automotive industry reached an undisputable plateau.
It had all the knowledge and technology to build vehicles that could be designed to last 25 years or more!
The estimated cost of making such a durable car was only $700 more per unit!
But who would want to own just two or three vehicles in their driving lifetime, which in USA is about 50 years, and much less than that in most of rest of the World.
Also automobile industry Worldwide progressed from making cars into just assembling them!
This subtle difference however is extremely important, as no manufacturer was any more capable of making the entire car; rather all components were sourced from component suppliers.
So vehicles made by such life long rivals as GM and FORD would now have piston rings in their engines made by the same supplier, connecting rods made by another supplier and brake pads from yet another.
Company that made seats for FORD would make them for Chrysler and Jeep, and so on.
GM and TOYOTA shared parts on many smaller car models, to the extent that some models were made on the same assembly line and only differed in the “badge” attached to the vehicle, and so on.
But most important development was not request for better quality or improved durability, but rather for MINIMUM possible price for the component part.
In conjunction with the Emission Durability System regulations, there was no reason for example why fuel injector should last more than 10 years or 100,000 miles when the responsibility for the vehicle ended in theory with the 5 year or 50,000 mile <>Useful Life for most vehicles.
Aluminum radiators with plastic headers started to replace the forever fixable designs made from Copper alloys.
Plastic components became acceptable and belt driven overhead camshafts became the norm in most engines replacing the forever design of Classic American V-8 with very reliable in-the-block cam with push rods.
Sales started to be measured in 10 days performance levels, rather than in monthly or annual numbers.
Selling more than the year before was no longer as important, as selling much more than in the previous 10 days!
Every manufacturer in the World predicted incredible production capacity gains for the future, without any concern about the fact that there may not be enough new vehicle buyers in the World for all the cars that can be manufactured in any 10 day period!
The constant demand from the OEM's that now only assembled vehicles was to their Suppliers in a form of borderline extortion. Make the parts cheaper (not better) or we will buy them from someone else who will !
The secondary request was to make the component parts such as to be quickly installable during final assembly, with no regard to future serviceability, maintenance or reparability.
For last 20 years every manufacturer's objective was not to make more durable vehicle, but to make it cheaper, and to make it faster. Every OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) of vehicle continually pressed the automotive parts suppliers to cut costs, at all costs.
The 3 to 4 year new vehicle owner became the model for the car industry, and to those that did not feel good about purchasing a new car every 3 to 4 years, a new alternative to buying was greatly promoted leasing.
By leasing a car for at most 48 months (24 months to 36 months being the norm) one was forced to get new car when lease expired.
Direct results are cars where aluminum components that had a half life of 25 years were almost universally replaced with plastic which at best last only about 7 to 9 years.
Examples of the planned to fail design are plastic header aluminum core radiators, which can not be fixed and cost hundreds of dollars to replace. If the entire radiator was from aluminum then it would indeed last forever or at least 2 to 3 times longer, the cost of production almost nearly identical and possibility of repair by welding a reality. Yet no manufacturer utilizes such simple solution to assure durability and reliability.
Another example is plastic intake manifolds, which crack, warp, and fail in various ways.
This extends to Coolant header tanks and even internal engine and transmission components where plastics replace hard metal parts which would normally last forever.
The perhaps most ridiculous application of plastic is in Water Pumps on VW and AUDI engines where the stainless steel impeller (which would last forever) has been replaced with plastic so that it very reliably fails in 70,000 miles or less.
Good quality double row ball bearing with stainless steel impeller has the potential to last forever, but the plastic one is guaranteed to fail, not if, just when, is the question.
Why does any OEM go out of their way to engineer and design in components that are guaranteed to fail eventually?
The economic incentive is not just the possibility of sales of NEW vehicle, but the elimination of certain penalties that are levied against OEM by the Clean Air Act.
Under the Act, manufacturer is responsible for the emissions from the vehicle for the life of the vehicle, and if “old” vehicles stay on the road and are driven and pollute the air, they can and do get hefty fines.
If the “older” car just breaks down and is too expensive to fix, it is retired and can no longer pollute the air if it is scrapped in junk yard. Better yet if it is dismantled and the materials are recycled, because then the donor cars vanish from the World and keeping the car of any obsolete vintage running forever becomes an impossibility.
The fact that OEM's are being fined for in use vehicles shortcomings in the emission category are usually only known to the insiders of the automotive industry.
Theoretically it is a matter of a public record, but just try to get disclosure from companies like TOYOTA or HONDA or CHRYSLER or MERCEDES-BENZ about the millions in fines they have already paid in recent years.
Find this to be unbelievable?
Just see few of the public yet well hidden documents we have been able to obtain about fines.
TOYOTA Engines die from mysterious gel formation, transmissions have no dip sticks to check for fluid level and no provision to add or change the fluid.
Vehicles with over 70,000 miles when the emission performance warranty expires start having mysterious illuminations of the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) that is commonly known as the Check Engine Light. The only cure is re-flashing the ECM (Electronic Control Module) that runs the engine which costs hundreds of dollars, and not under any warranty, yet in places where smog check is a pre-requisite of getting renewal for vehicle registration (Most of California for example) this is real pain for the owner that wants to keep the now obsolete TOYOTA forever.
MERCEDES BENZ Electronic gremlins and CAN (Central Area Network) mis-communications are the faults that plaque the brand.
FORD engines spit out Spark Plugs, Ignition Locks lock you out, clutches in manual transmission cars fail prematurely (perhaps to teach you a lesson to never again own anything but automatic), engine mounts that fail, intake manifolds (plastic of course) that have various problems, etc.
And Diesel engines in F series trucks; those are simply horribly unreliable and fail due to numerous reasons.
CHRYSLER (also DODGE, JEEP) No fuel filters should tip you off about how serious Chrysler was about it's short-lived life-time power train warranty. The hope is that the fuel filter which is built into the gas tank will be good for the life of the vehicle which is 7 years or 70,000 miles.
And of course the ever present plastic internal components that are not intended to last much longer either.
BMW same idea as the above that goes even further, fuel pump, fuel filter, fuel level gauge, charcoal canister for evaporative emission control, fuel tank and of course the CAN computer interface are all ONE Integral $1,000 + unit, so if any of those components need servicing you just replace the entire assembly which in many BMW vehicles is actually a major labor effort. The total cost for parts and labor can easily top $3,000 !
We can go on and on! Also this is not limited to just the above few listed manufacturers; it is the industry status quo.
So to have 2012 MY vehicle of any make and have the intent to keep it forever just may be quite an impossible dream and even harder to achieve than with cars that are 100 year old, as they were only a mechanical contraption, while a modern car is electro-electronic nightmare with multiple embedded computers that are just incidentally attached to a vehicle.
Today in just a day, with CNC quick prototyping and fully computer controlled machining; you can manufacture almost any simple mechanical part. The part that was made in the not too a distant past mostly by hand and skill controlled process.
Therefore today you can actually manufacture a part for a car that was made 100 years ago ! And keep it running forever!
But you can not get the code or even the electronic component parts for any of the modern new vehicles, and if OEM exhausts the spare part bin after production ends, there simply are no more assemblies to replace the failed units, what ever they may be!
How do they dare ?
Simply they got the hint from computer industry as well as software providers !
Accounting principles have been the same for 100 years, yet if for example you are using Peachtree Accounting since it became popular in 1980's, you would be now on about the 16th upgrade for the 2012 version ! Why ?
Simply because the 1985 model of Radio Shack Computer is no longer serviceable, the memory chips are not available, the CPU if it fails is history, and the 5 inch floppies for it are about as popular as 8-track player, and so on.
Even the 1985 computer could process the Accounting Input information 10 to 15 times faster than any human being can ever type it into the computer, so there never ever was real legitimate need to upgrade your accounting software or even the computer itself.
Yet the media to store that information on became obsolete and unavailable at any price, the printers and supplies for them to print out that Balance Sheet are not available, and so on.
So now like it or not you need the 16th upgrade to add two numbers or balance your checkbook 12,500 times faster than you can type that information in, but of course now you can see it on LCD screen in over 2 million color combinations and print it on Laser Color printer few seconds later.
Do we really need this to balance the checkbook? Of course not, but that is what makes modern industry churn out much MORE stuff than the human population even at 7 billion strong can ever use up in their lifetimes.
Industry growth is not based on need, but more on want and above all the trends of style or fashion as well as convincing people that they “must” have what they did not ever even dreamed they could possibly would ever need or want.
You would not expect your latest Windowsnow ???) Lap top to last and function but few years, or would you? The Lithium Ion battery that has useful life of 400 re-charge cycles will cost you more few years latter than the computer is worth, and just try to get a memory or CPU chip for 10 year old computer !!!
You should have the same expectations for currently made 2012 MY cars, they are foremost conglamoration of computers and will end up to be as fixable as your 10 year old lap top - it may look like new but it will just not function, same will eventually happen to your car, so expect it !
Keeping any new modern car forever is about as practical idea as planning to have your latest lap-top conputer functional 10 years from now!
Another implication is that the volume of
software needed for each car is growing rapidly. Ford's 2005 models contained
between two and three million lines of code. 2007/2008 vehicles had an
average of six million lines of code. About 10 million
lines of code in vehicles in 2010MY. In looking at the development costs for
all this software (which is mainly written by outside suppliers), FORD
has made it a priority to increase the amount of code that gets reused."
Just think it is the guy in Bangladesh that just came to work on a rikshaw that writes the code, on which your 2012 MY car operates.....
So grow up and forget it !
So now that you know what you can and should expect from your new 2012 MY vehicle, you can still benefit from use of SynLube Lube-4-Life® - today the only items that are serviceable on modern vehicles are:
2.) Some filters on some cars
We can definitely take care of the MOTOR OIL as all vehicles still have factory fill Motor Oil that needs to be changed frequently, on many new vehicles especially with CVT and on many Automatics like TOYOTA the ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) can no longer be checked or added (sealed for life), PSF (Power Steering Fluid) can also be changed if it is present (some cars have now electric power assist steering), and of course in the old fashioned Rear Wheel Drive vehicles the most neglected automotive fluid (out of sight out of mind) is the Differential Oil; it too can be serviced with SynLube.
Many of our customers do not realize that we also have Long Life Coolant, which can make your coolant hoses last much longer and keep them from deterioration. But great coolant is another fluid that you definitely need if you wish to keep your vehicle forever.
For many applications we also have MicroGlass Oil Filters, but unfortunately also many new car designs now use more inferior cartridge oil filters, so a better filter is not an option on those.
Used SynLube Motor Oil when applied to the side walls of tires can substantially prolong the tire life especially in hot, smoggy and ozone prone areas as it prevents the sidewall deterioration and cracking.
DOT 5.1 Long Life Brake Fluid can keep your vehicle's brake system functioning properly and especially can prevent the ABS system from failing due to the “goo” that low quality brake fluids generate.
While 2009 was a disastrous year for Automobile Industry everywhere, except for China, it also marks definite END of a TREND in USA. The fact that New Vehicle Sales plummeted from previous normal of 16 million to just 10 million, but more important is the fact that cars scrapped exceeded new car sales in 2009 for the first time since World War II, shrinking the U.S. vehicle fleet from the all-time high of 250 million to 246 million.
In 2009 the 14 million cars scrapped rose above the 10 million new cars sold, reducing the fleet by 4 million, or nearly 2 percent, since 2008's levels.
Among the trends keeping sales well below the annual average of 16 million that prevailed from 1994 through 2007 are market saturation, ongoing urbanization, economic uncertainty, oil insecurity, rising gasoline prices, frustration with traffic congestion, mounting concerns about climate change, and a declining interest in cars among young people.
Market saturation may be the dominant contributor to the peaking. The U.S. now has 246 million registered motor vehicles and 209 million licensed drivers nearly five vehicles for every four drivers.
Japan may offer some clues to the future in USA. Japan being both more densely populated and more highly urbanized than the United States. Japan apparently reached car saturation in 1990. Since then its annual car sales have shrunk by 21 percent. The United States appears set to follow suit.
The car promised mobility, and in a largely rural United States it delivered. Now with four out of five Americans living in cities, the growth in urban car numbers at some point provides just the opposite: Immobility. The Texas Transportation Institute reports that U.S. congestion costs, including fuel wasted and time lost, climbed from $17 billion in 1982 to $87 billion in 2007.
Almost every U.S. city is either introducing new light rail lines, new subway lines, or express bus lines, or they are expanding and improving existing public transit systems in order to reduce dependence on cars. Among the cities following this path are Phoenix, Seattle, Houston, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. As urban transit systems expand and improve, commuters are turning to public transit as driving costs rise. Between 2005 and 2008, transit ridership climbed 9 percent.
Many communities are also actively creating pedestrian and bicycle-friendly streets, making it easier to walk or bike to work.
Forward-looking cities are also reconsidering parking requirements for new buildings. Washington, D.C., for example, has rewritten its 50-year-old codes, reducing the number of parking spaces required with the construction of both commercial and residential buildings. Earlier codes that once required four parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of retail space now require only one.
A more specific uncertainty is the future price of gasoline. Now that motorists know that gas prices can climb to over $4.00 per US Gallon, they worry that it could go even higher in the future. Drivers are fully aware that much of the world's oil comes from the politically volatile Middle East.
Perhaps the most fundamental social trend affecting the future of the automobile is the declining interest in cars among young people. For those who grew up a half-century ago in a country that was still heavily rural, getting a driver's license and a car or a pickup was a rite of passage. Getting other teenagers into a car and driving around was a popular pastime.
In contrast, many of today's young people living in a more urban society learn to live without cars. They socialize on the Internet and on smart phones, not in cars. Many do not even bother to get a driver's license.
This helps explain why, despite the largest U.S. teenage population ever, the number of teenagers with licenses, which peaked at 12 million in 1978, is now under 10 million. If this trend continues, the number of potential young car-buyers will continue to decline.
Beyond their declining interest in cars, young people are facing a financial squeeze. Incomes among a large segment of society are no longer increasing. College graduates already saddled with college loan debt may find it difficult to get the credit to buy a car.
No one knows how many cars will be sold in the years ahead, but given the many forces at work, U.S. vehicle sales may never again reach the 17 million that were sold each year between 1999 and 2007. Sales seem more likely to remain between 10 million and 14 million per year.
By contrast all the Automobile marketers in USA once again forecast increase in their own sales in the near future, totally disregarding the fact that if ALL those forecasts would materialize the vehicle sales would have to be in 25 million range, or at least twice what will be achieved even under the most optimistic circumstances.
Currently no company is willing to structure their business model on + the sales volume of their peak years, and thus most are doomed for certain failure, more bankruptcies and going totally out of business in the previously number one market the USA.
FIAT/CHRYSLER will survive for another 2 years or more, but for sure there is no market for 500,000 FIAT 500 minicars that can be made in Mexico annually. FIAT has sold just 19,769 of them in 2011. At the same time the number one minicar specialist SUZUKI is quietly contemplating total exist from US market ala the style set up few years ago by ISUZU.
On the other hand companies that are yet to exist are proclaiming to build new factories (with US Government money) to build millions of electric and hybrid vehicles, which the public has almost no interest in buying (less than 2 % are even interested).
2011 however was rather cruel year for the would be new OEM's specilizing in
Electric Vehicles or Range Extended Electric Vehicles.
Bring on the now over 8 million TOYOTA vehicle recalls for range of safety problems ranging from cars that accelerate on their own, steer on their own, do not want to stop and have bits and pieces of suspension parts break and fall off. Add to that over another million of cars from HONDA that have air bags that turn to shrapnel and either can injure you or kill you, rather than protect you.
Scrappage rates are easier to project, if we assume an auto life expectancy of 15 years, scrappage rates will lag new sales by 15 years. This means that the cars sold in the earliest of the elevated sales years of 15 million to 17 million vehicles from 1994 through 2007 are just now reaching retirement age.
Even though newer cars are initially more reliable than earlier models, and may thus stay on the road somewhat longer on average, scrappage rates seem likely to exceed new car sales. Given a decline of 1 percent to 2 percent a year in the fleet from 2009 through 2020, the U.S. fleet could easily shrink by 10 percent (25 million), dropping from the 2008 fleet peak of 250 million to 225 million by 2020.
At the national level, shrinkage of the fleet combined with rising fuel efficiency will reinforce the trend of declining oil use that has been under way since 2007. This means reduced outlays for oil imports and thus more capital retained to invest in job creation. As people walk and bike more, it will mean less air pollution and fewer respiratory illnesses, more exercise and less obesity. This in turn will also reduce health care costs.
Or at least that is the theory, on the other hand in order for any manufacturer to stay in business long term they have to increase their per vehicle retail pricing, or else they will for sure go bankrupt. Today the meager profit per vehicle is quickly absorbed by just one or two recalls, and few warranty repairs.
Question is: "Will consumers be willing to pay a premium ?"; so that the Brand they buy will be in business few years from now, or will they prefer to save thousands of dollars and buy a vehicle from company that will not be around next year ?
Only time will tell, and your guess is good as anybody else's!
The United States is entering a new era, evolving from a car-dominated transport system to one that is much more diversified, this transition is driven by market saturation, economic trends, environmental concerns and by a cultural shift away from cars that is most pronounced among young people. As this evolution proceeds, it will affect virtually every facet of life.
We have hundreds if not thousand e-mails annually that are sent to SynLube Incorporated asking us what is the best car or truck.
Unfortunately we do not have answer for what is the best vehicle made today, we can only tell you what vehicles turned out to be the best that are 5, 10 or even 25 years old, and of course no longer manufactured.
That is based on our experience that is communicated back to us by our customers.
Predicting how good any Make or Model or Brand made in 2012 will be based in experience with the previously made vehicle is about as useful as predicting return on stock or any investment based on it's past performance, simply it is impossible.
Manufacturers continuously change and modify components, source the same parts from cheaper supplier, and so on.
You find out 5 or 7 or 10 years later how good a bet you have made, and no one has the crystal ball that will with any certainty give you any useful data on durability, reliability and cost per mile of any NEW car or truck or SUV that you can buy NEW in 2012.
Opinions in automotive magazines are based on personal opinion of staff writers that at best spend few hours driving the particular vehicle and most of which have no ability to even change their own vehicle's motor oil or even do simple under hood check.
Will you take their advice and bet $25,000 to $45,000 on it?
Will they care or give you a penny if their advice turns out 3 years latter to be bad?
No, definitely NO !
Should you believe Consumer Reports that spent one afternoon testing all the vehicles?
Or their vision of the future based on looking into the rearview mirror of automotive reliability data?
Will they refund your magazine subscription price if their advice is bad?
No, definitely NO !
So what should you do?
Check the design yourself!