By on December 4, 2013

Puzzled male shrugging wearing lab coat

Cass writes:

Dear Sanjeev: (facepalm – SM)

As a matter of coincidence most of the vehicles I’ve owned have been covered in previous Piston Slap articles and I’ve noticed a recurring theme: at one point, a point likely occurring far prematurely than hoped, I’m going to have an issue which according to your previous advice will require either a new engine or a whole new car. 

(BTW I’ve noticed this seems to be be the number one prescribed solution – could you just sum up all future articles as “get a new engine or a new car” that way then?)

So quickly to my question – should I just go ahead at looking at replacing my cars right now? Yeah, it’s a bit premature but I feel like the sooner I start, the better prepared I will be, financially and work-load-y, to go shopping for a new one when the time comes.

And also, how the heck do I prevent this in the future? Do I just have phenomenally bad luck at picking a long-lasting car or is that the just nature of the automotive world today – a world where planned obsolescence means I’ll be switching out rides at 60k miles no matter what I buy?

Sanjeev answers:

It’s true, that Sajeev jerk gives advice that turns into a new engine (usually of the LSX-FTW variety) or a new car (usually a Panther) because he’s an idiot.  I look forward to the day when I can permanently replace him here at TTAC and shame his parents for giving him such a silly, silly name. Wait, you give that keyboard back YOU CANNOT TAKE THIS AWAY FROM SANJE…

Sajeev answers:

Aside from misspelling/autocorrecting my name, your letter “sees” everything in the wrong light.  Overly generalized concerns do not compute, especially with absolutely nothing outside of abstract notions to discuss. Make, Model, Year and problems encountered?  No, none of that is necessary! But I digress…

Perhaps your notion on planned obsolescence is a summation of your concerns.  While a genuinely worrisome manufacturing/engineering defect shows up with every manufacturer, that’s the exception…not the rule: the majority of cars available today could drive 200,000 miles with minimal expenses outside of basic maintenance.

My point?  You should lease a new car every 3-4 years. Think about it: the vehicle is always under warranty, the money factor in many leases is essentially zero and you never worry about anything.  It’s like renting an apartment versus buying a home. I’d budget accordingly and start leasing as soon as possible.

Or just get a clean Panther with good service records.  Obviously: TAKE THAT SANJEEV, YOU AIN’T THE BOSS OF ME!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and  ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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32 Comments on “Piston Slap: Do I Need A New Car, Sanjeev???...”


  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    I’m really glad that Sanjeev is going to answer questions too Sajeev.

    You know I have this pain in my foot, and since most people have feet I thought I’d look it up on the internet. What I found out is that this pain may be a result of skin cancer on my nose. Its ok thought because the skin cancer is probably from when my grandfather witnessed some atomic bomb testing.

    I heard that I might die someday, so I want to be prepared and cut my foot off now so it stops hurting.

    :) Sorry, couldn’t resist. The sky IS falling you know.

    This is an example of someone reading way too deep into info on the internet.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    We need some facts here. I hope OP posts in the comments so we can actually know what the “engine problems” are with his “car” and maybe know what “replacement cars” he is interested in before we give a 100 comment review of the Panther platform.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    I have to believe that at this point people are using “Sanjeev” on purpose.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    How many cars does the OP have and why are they all shit? Maybe pool all the money together and buy one good car. If you have $5000, don’t go but 5 $1000 cars.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Are you crazy? Do you have any idea how awesome of a car you can get for $1000? And you could have five of them! And you should enjoy working on cars on your weekend, so they provide pleasure in more than one way! And then you can sell the cars and make money off of them because someone else paid for all the depreciation!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I have a very simple remedy for your car issue: Jack up the radiator cap and replace everything underneath.

    Issue fixed.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Well, one thing that Cash wrote may indicate the problem. If all his cars need major work at 60k, there’s likely a whole lot of non-maintenance going on. Sajeev’s leasing advice might not work if Crash doesn’t even take the leased vehicle in for FREE service. Instead of needing a new engine or new car, Case might need a new credit rating when he turns in the lease vehicle.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I think all Piston Slap letters should be addressed to “The ‘Jeeves”, to be inclusive.

    Some people do have bad “pickers” and end up buying cars that they love but need lots of tender care to stay on four wheels. These are one of the groups that leasing is a good idea for.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Don’t buy obscure vehicles.
    Mitsubishi, Subaru, anything with a CVT

    Buy a toyota, buy a GMTxxx, buy a frontier with a manual.

    Seriously, don’t go buy a Suzuki and have something break that breaks on no other car and find that its an expensive fix just to be surprised.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    You could afford to put a new engine in a car every year for what you pay in depreciation expense by leasing a new car every 3 or 4 years.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That does not account for the time value of finding and acquiring the replacement engine, the downtime on the vehicle, and acquiring (or hiring) the skills, equipment, and location to do the swap.

      My guess is that it would be a wash on a late-model vehicle; just a matter of deciding which buckets to put the various costs in.

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, if the downtime doesn’t get you fired from your job…and you just want an appliance that lets you live the rest of your life worry free.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Excellent image, my doctor often makes such an expression as well.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If the OP is that concerned with the work that needs to be done, ask around which dealers give the best customer service in their service departments and with warranty work. The purchase a new or CPO car from said dealer. If crap happens then it will be dealer resolving issues and not Sanjeev or Sajeev. :P

  • avatar
    George B

    My advice would be to get a new car when the old car no longer meets your needs or the repair expense exceeds vehicle private sale price. Repairs almost always cost a little more than you expect. Good maintenance is cheaper than repairs.

    On car selection, narrow down the list of possible cars to ones you like. Not much point in buying a car you dislike unless you’re poor and just need any old car to get to work. Out of the list of possible cars, try to track down the positives and negatives and determine if the aftermarket can remedy any of the negatives. I prefer to buy relatively high-volume cars sold in volumes of 100k/year or higher because parts will be readily available.

    On maintenance, I don’t believe in “lifetime” fluids. Change the coolant and automatic transmission fluid earlier than the manual says. Use the fluids specified by the manufacturer unless there is a problem like Dex-Cool. I’ve also become a believer in adding aftermarket automatic transmission cooling and magnetic filters. Most people get the engine oil changed frequently enough. Don’t be in the minority that ignore oil changes. I believe in keeping my garage sufficiently free of junk so the car gets to stay inside overnight.

    On driving habits, let the engine run for a few seconds before shifting into gear and drive fairly gently until it reaches operating temperature. However, don’t let the car sit idling for a long time to “warm up”.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Keeping a daily driven car in a heated garage during the winter is both a blessing and a curse. Not dealing with clearing off snow, or a frigid interior, or a stone cold engine is certainly nice. However, for snowy locales, the constant thawing cycle of frozen on ice and road salt accelerates corrosion immensely. Better to keep that salty slush frozen as much as possible. Higher temperatures are a catalyst for the chemical reaction of iron oxidation. of course, keeping the underside treated with a serious water repellent undercoat helps a lot as well.

  • avatar
    myheadhertz

    How about a 3-year lease on a high mileage 2006-10 Panther? There are car lots on Boulder Highway in Vegas that could do the deal.
    Just pennies a day and you pay here!

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    So, the conclusion is, buy a Panther, and swap in an LSX ? (new car, AND new engine, win-win)

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There are a few exmples of this in existence, and I definitely approve.

      Putting GM engines in Ford chassis has long been proven to be an extremely effective strategy. GM builds great, cheap, hipo engines but often puts them in front of lousy drivetrain parts and Ford tends to build too large and heavy per displacement engines that are expensive and fruitless to modify, but often use stronger driveline components.


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