Piston Slap: A Citation Against Conventional Wisdom?
Conventional wisdom says wait until the second model year of a new vehicle since that’s when the automaker will have fixed the glaring flaws decried by the “beta testers” who bought the first model year. Is this always true?
Do automakers fix problems “on the sly” so that, say, a 2016 model year car manufactured in August 2015 could already incorporate some/all fixes slated for 2017 model year?
The photo above came from a Curbside Classic about the Chevy Citation. The original 1980 model was one of the most recalled vehicles in automotive history, but I found only one recall for its Toyota-branded competition — the V10 body Camry. (And the Camry’s voltage regulator problem was, relatively speaking, quite harmless.)
Applying this historical perspective to your question, would you buy a bugs-worked-out 1983 Citation or an untested all-new Camry for your next compact family sedan?
But that’s history. Today, the (aggregated) quality gap between Japanese and American brands is rather slim. So what constitutes “glaring flaws” in your mind? And does your opinion mirror that of every other car buyer?
Of course not! Flaws are in the eye of the beholder. Take the litany of reasons why Technical Service Bulletins are issued for any automaker. And as new technology is added on a regular basis, software changes happen frequently. Does one model year matter relative to the next?
Simply put, cars have too much frequently-revised stuff updated too regularly for the automotive conventional wisdom notion to hold water. Add the mechanics of how TSBs are created/implemented and there’s too much doubt that one year will be better or worse than another.
I wouldn’t put my money on conventional wisdom being right for anyone’s next vehicle purchase.
[Image: Gustavo Frazao]
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