By on December 6, 2019

2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T - Image: Honda

TTAC regular David Holzman writes:

Sajeev,

My best friend has a 2019 Honda Accord with gas direct injection. Recently, Scotty Kilmer raised questions about the potential longevity — or rather potential lack thereof — of that engine.

I would expect Honda to have done a good job in designing that engine, but my friend is worried. Can you shed any additional light on this?

Sajeev answers:

It’s too early to condemn your friend’s Accord (with the base, oil diluted 1.5L Turbo) and we’ve previously touched on the nightmare reality of Honda’s Earth Dreams. While I’m not the biggest fan of my fellow Houstonian’s YouTube channel, he often digs into the details to find the heart of the problem.

And he did it again, hooray! Just have your friend change the oil regularly (possibly more often than prescribed) and everything should be tolerable for many years to come.

Since we got all “revved up” on a Scotty Kilmer joint, allow me to indulge in my long-overlooked pastime…

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom: 

We’re dealing with a fantastic cocktail of low tension piston rings, engines with high compression ratios, forced induction’s impact on crankcase ventilation, and sometimes poor maintenance habits. It’s a lot to juggle.

The intention was noble: improve fuel economy without affecting performance (or triggering engine displacement taxes in China). And sometimes performance improves… to the point fuel economy suffers because of a driver’s excitable right foot. Irony!

As countless manufacturers’ headaches prove, this cocktail is a flawed implementation for an unrealistic a lofty goal: make cars/CUVs/trucks bigger, safer, more tech-savvy without losing fuel economy. Considering the public acceptance of an utterly simple electric vehicle (if Tesla makes it), perhaps a future downfall of the ever-compromised internal combustion engine is a two-player zero sum game?

Why would everyone want all this nonsense bolted up to a CVT-infused Honda when Tesla makes the minimalist Model 3? Of course a base Tesla is 15-ish grand more than a base Accord…

Too bad we can’t integrate the best of today’s technology portfolio with a 2.5-liter (naturally aspirated) four-banger (or an optional V6) with normal automatic transmissions, lower/more aerodynamic/lighter bodies from yesteryear’s showrooms and make a more durable, more perfect vehicle.

This is our new reality. Something’s gotta give, it’s gonna be fun to watch this unfold.

[Image: Honda]

Send your queries to [email protected]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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102 Comments on “Piston Slap: ‘Revving Up Our Engines’ for Earth Dreams?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Too bad we can’t integrate the best of today’s technology portfolio with a 2.5-liter (naturally aspirated) four-banger (or an optional V6) with normal automatic transmissions, lower/more aerodynamic/lighter bodies from yesteryear’s showrooms and make a more durable, more perfect vehicle.”

    Put enough heads on pikes and watch how reasonable statists can become.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Scotty Kilmer’s whole demeanor is like nails on a chalkboard, and he seems eager to dial up the ridiculousness of his hot takes for attention and views.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      for the life of me I can’t figure out how he gained an audience.

      but then again, I think the same about pretty much every YouTube “star.”

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Yeah he went from quirky backyard Boomer mechanic with a mix of reasonable advice (sometimes) and totally cringeworthy repairs (repairing an AC line with a compression fitting), to just totally useless clickbait crap. But said clickbait really blew his channel up so hey good for him I guess, he’s making SERIOUS money off youtube ad revenue.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    Scotty is entertaining, and I won’t dispute his knowledge. I will say, however, that if you took everything he says as gospel you would pretty much never buy ANY vehicle (90’s Celicas being the exception), and you’d be convinced that whatever vehicle you were currently driving is a ticking time bomb. I’ve grown weary of his clickbait video titles myself (“Here’s why ‘X cars’ are crap”). And apparently, so has everyone else, to the point that he’s had to address that recently due to viewer complaints.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    You had it right originally.

    Unrealistic goal. It’s attainable with measures that are relatively high-risk and low return (IMO).

    One thing Honda has going for it—many others are embracing the same high-risk, low return ideas: CVTs, Turbos, stop-start, 10-speed autos–and wrapped in ugly bodies!

    Honda’s well deserved reputation for excellence took decades of persistent diligence.

    It’s eroding at a rapid rate.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Well put.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      +100

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I concede that I am a bit biased as I paid real money for a 2019 Accord 2.0t (10 speed). I really cant speak for the whole lineup, but the 2.0 and ten speed is fantastic. It is not particularly efficient with me as the pilot, averaging about 23 to 25 mpg in mostly city driving but dont think the Sport trim with engine upgrade was really meant to be efficient as mission priority #1.

      In the past decade or so, I have never been particularly impressed with Honda compared to their offerings in the 1990’s- early 2000’s and would agree with the comment that their products have eroded their past reputation. But this Accord pulled out all the stops and is a pretty incredible package. It may represent peak sedan unfortunately as more development dollars are likely to head over to crossover country. Longevity? Who knows, if I get 100k trouble free miles I really dont care.

      • 0 avatar
        saturnotaku

        I was a whisker away from plunking down on the same car. Loved the performance of the 2.0T/10-speed drivetrain, but it was a bit too tight of a fit in my side-load garage. Would up with an Acura ILX A-Spec instead and have been having an absolute blast with it.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          The turning circle with the oversized 19” wheels is one of the few gripes I’ve got with my 2019 Accord Touring. I can’t comfortably make the 90-degree turn into my garage from my condo’s parking apron in one maneuver. I probably could, but my judgment of distance is sucktastic to begin with, and the higher hoodline relative to my previous Hondas combined with the lower seating position makes it worse, even with the parking sensors.

          As to question being discussed, consider me a 2.0T guinea pig. Right now, I’m at roughly 4,500 miles since taking delivery on June 5th of this year, and I’m at around 43% remaining oil life as a guesstimate. The powertrain has performed flawlessly, and the couple of times I’ve checked the oil, it’s been full, and not over; just checked it now, and it seems OK, with no gas odor, a bit darker than the last time I checked it a couple months ago.

          We’ll see how things continue to go. I’m in the habit of having the dealer detail my car twice a year, so I’ll have them double-check the oil level when I take it in. (The dipstick is kind of weird, with a thick plastic piece where you read the level, and the tube is kinked a little, enough that I’m not sure if the oil on the dipstick is dripping off a little by the time I manage to get the dipstick out and away from the engine, since the oil is so thin. I managed to drip a little on the engine cover — yuck!)

      • 0 avatar
        AA610

        I test drove a 2.0t Accord a few months ago with the 10 Speed and absolutely loved it! It will likely be my next car. I have a 2012 g37x that is starting to need more and more work.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Well, 80’s and 90’s Hondas were well known for blowing blue smoke out the tailpipe and rusting rapidly in my neck of the woods. And then the transmission debacles in the newer ones. And they all feel like tin boxes. But I guess that defines “excellence”.

      The best cars made are NOW kids. I have some Luddite tendencies when it comes to cars, but you bunch around here are ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        If you can’t appreciate the ergonomics, tactile quality and design of the older Hondas and how they were superior in many of those areas to the lifeless steering Hondas of today, that’s on you. Of course then I’d also question what you’re doing buying BMWs for, aside from the badge.

        Contrarian to the point of coming across as willfully dense?

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          The Accord isn’t too bad — better sorted than the 9th-Gen, which was a little numb. I will say that the brake feel s excellent, despite the power assist being electric and not hydraulic.

          The only thing that honestly lets my interior down below the bar set by the 1990-1993 4th-Gens is the grade of carpeting, and maybe the headliner material and quality of the sunroof shade, if I want to get really persnickety, though I don’t think it’s any worse than my 2013. Unlike that last Accord, which went its first year without squeaks and rattles, I’ve got one passenger-side rattle which is temperature-dependent, and it’s obvious enough that the dealer should be able to address it when I have a chance to take it in.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          ’95 Legend (the absolute peak of ’90s Honda in my biased opinion) vs. 2019 Accord 2.0t is an interesting comparison.

          The Legend wins on material quality everywhere except the seats (if leather) and the center console.

          The Legend wins by a mile on styling and the impression conveyed.

          Long-term durability: jury’s out. The Legend can last forever, but you have to do a bit of undocumented maintenance to make it do so; if the EGR tube clogs with soot, the computer will occasionally run the engine lean and it’s just a matter of time before a head gasket blows. So you have to clean out the EGR tube and lower intake manifold at least each time you do the timing belt. Suspension pieces are also a bit fragile. We’ll see about the Accord.

          The Accord wins on every performance metric, although the Legend’s unusual layout pretty much eliminates torque steer and makes it more satisfying to drive than your average FWD car. The Accord also wins on ride smoothness and unibody stiffness.

          The Accord obviously wins on feature content and safety.

          But the most telling bit: the very cheapest Legend cost almost $60k (!!) in today’s dollars, while the most expensive Accord doesn’t break $35k.

      • 0 avatar

        Cannot agree with you more about 80s and 90s. But my perspective is from European side of the market where Hondas were actually US Acuras. Honda never was considered as an equal to Toyota regarding reliability according to TUV ratings. It was somewhere in the middle. Of course all German, including Ford Mondeo, and French cars beat Honda Accord in comparo tests.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    This whole thing strikes me as a slightly updated version of “Back in my day, cars were good and heavy with thick steel bodies and V8s, not these crap V6s you kids have now! They didn’t just crumple up in a crash! They don’t make ’em like they used to! You can’t even wear your hat in a car now! These modern cars are garbage – I never see a single one that’s over 20 years old, and all the old cars have lasted that long!” Etc, etc.

    Every generation has that group, and I guess the bogeymen for the current crop are turbos and multispeed automatics instead of automatic chokes and radial tires? Meanwhile cars, on balance, keep getting cheaper per-feature, more reliable, more efficient, and faster. Does that mean that the car *you* buy will run to 250k? No. But I wonder if Mr. “Never Buy A 2020 Honda Accord” would swap it for a showroom-fresh 1990 Dodge Spirit, or a showroom-fresh 1980 Citation, or a showroom-fresh 1970 LTD, or a showroom-fresh 1960 Ford Falcon, or…

    (By the way, inflation-adjusted MSRP of roughly-base models? The Spirit, $21,000; the Citation, $18,000; the LTD, $22,000; the Falcon, $19,000.)

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I mean, maybe the LTD?

      Good post though to keep perspective on this.

    • 0 avatar
      Chi-One

      I’ll take the LTD, please.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      “cheaper per-feature”

      Those sir, are the keywords. Cheaper – no. Cheaper per feature – yes, because they keep adding more features that are inexpensive to create and program.

      “more reliable”

      Factory QC has undoubtably become better through the past decades but reliability is still largely a direct result of maintenance on a car by car basis. The manufacturers know this and therefore began the marketing ploy of “lifetime” fluids. They figured out that they can generate business, either a large repair bill OR A TRADE-IN, by suggesting that some fluids are “lifetime” fluids and leaving the interpretation of “lifetime” up to the ignorant customer.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “Those sir, are the keywords. Cheaper – no.”

        Actually, yes, pretty much. Compare a new Accord 1.5t to a car with similar interior volume (the Accord matches or exceeds the LTD in leg/headroom front/rear, as far as I can tell, and presumably most then-full-size American cars) and market positioning at pretty much any time in the past and it’ll be within rounding distance (eg, the LTD).

        You can go through pretty much any era and do the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          We may have different definitions of a “feature”.

          A dimension, legroom, headroom, etc. is not a feature. It is part of the car that cannot be changed or optioned. A feature is something that can be added or subtracted from a cars options.

          With the addition of more “standard” features (as most marketing schemes call them) in new cars, they are becoming more expensive not only to buy, but to repair and maintain.

          Lets assume for arguments sake that you are correct that newer cars are cheaper. How much more inexpensive would they be if they had fewer “standard” options or to Sajeev’s point, yesteryear’s tech and powertrains?

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            As was discussed ad nauseum in yesterday’s Ford decontenting article, most of the features that Luddites complain about add insignificant cost to a car, which is why they are standard. Even if the parts cost money, the efficiency gains from standardizing in manufacturing wipe a lot of it out.

            Those features that do add cost are generally optional, like sunroofs.

            It’s not as if removing touchscreens and power seats would result in a $15,000 Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            PeriSoft

            “How much more inexpensive would they be if they had fewer “standard” options or to Sajeev’s point, yesteryear’s tech and powertrains?”

            Probably not all that much, actually. A lot of the improvements are there because of scale – so, for example, power windows are cheaper than manual windows because most people *want* power windows, meaning that you either have two different designs with more parts to keep track of, more infrastructure, more documentation, etc, or you just do the one. Turns out that just doing one is cheaper than the additional cost of doing manual ones too, and the cost of power windows themselves are lower because now you have an integrated network in the car, better electronics setups, so the marginal cost of adding them is quite low compared to in, say, the ’60s.

            So you multiply that across a bunch of stuff and I suspect that yanking out “standard” options wouldn’t actually lower consumer costs all that much, and reliability over all models in toto might suffer a bit too (If every car has the same stuff, things are simpler). And a lot of these features are nearly ‘free’ in monetary and complexity terms once the basic infrastructure is there. Automatic climate control is another one of these: You’ve already got the control systems, so you’re replacing three separate mechanical linkages and cams and doohickeys and knobs with (on, say a Mirage G4) one button and a couple of motors that are probably going to be WAY more reliable in the long term, and are likely cheaper.

            The manufacturer is doing the infotainment software anyway; they’re designing the in-car network anyway; the wiring harnesses don’t tend to fail and are simpler if they’re all the same anyway. So you can get rid of features, but really all you’re removing is, say, six $5 camera modules and connectors. Now you only saved thirty bucks *and* your software dev is being amortized over fewer units *and* your product is a little less competitive – and all those things have real costs too.

            So I really don’t think that you’d see significant change in consumer pricing with super-crazy stripper cars. Advances in engineering, manufacturing, and materials have likely made a lot of “fancy” features cheaper and more reliable than the old-school stuff ever was.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Jack

            What about us non-luddites who don’t want to pay for stuff we don’t want?

            Peri,

            A few hundred dollars not spent is a few hundred dollars saved. Just as mountains are moved one (steam) shovel at a time, car prices increase a few (hundred) dollars at a time. These increases may not be individually “significant” but over time they add up to a significant cost increase. (“significant” being relative to every mans wallet)

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            @Jon,

            I suppose you’ll need to be more specific about what you don’t want if you expect an answer. The usual complaints on this site are about things like power accessories, touchscreen infotainment, and software based driving aids. None of which would give you much savings if they were deleted.

            Again, things like sunroofs, larger wheels, or leather seats that do cost money are almost certainly optional.

            For as much as I dislike some of the trends in the auto world, it’s my sincere belief that car buyers have never received more value for their dollar than right now.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If you do your research you’ll see much of the technology is problematic depending on implementation, and when you look at the number you’ll see depending on model/marque etc you’re not getting much for it vs stable conventional technology. So you get to pay more for half baked technology with only incremental improvements with the eventual repair costs exceeding the added benefit of the technology in some if not most cases.

    • 0 avatar

      “This whole thing strikes me as a slightly updated version of “Back in my day, cars were good and heavy with thick steel bodies and V8s, not these crap V6s you kids have now!”

      Except I just want to go back to the simpler, by gone era of 2005-ish, but with the latest ICE screens and slightly higher quality interiors. Both are huge perks of newer vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      So, OK, here’s the ’73 LTD according to a Pop Mech owners’ survey. Mileage, 13 highway / 10 city for the most popular engine, a 400cid V8 making 180hp; weight 4300lbs (!!).

      As for what people said about them – and remember, these were *new cars*: “Front windows squeak. Rain comes up through the floor.” “Engine surge, front tires misaligned and out of balance, rear taillight filled with water.” All problems remained after repairs.

      This guy says the workmanship was “good” and continues, “…Initials scratched into the underside of the hood, an upholstery button was missing”. “Lousy acceleration. Window glass rubs against rubber weatherstripping and squeaks.” “One power window wouldn’t lift after being lowered. Intermittent window system didn’t work.” “FM radio floats and has static. Had adjustments to doors to make them fit flush.”

      37% had mechanical trouble. Carburetors, 20%; cold starts, 17%; engine dieseling, 15% (!!), wheel alignment, 9%.

      New cars! Still ready to sign up?

      The thing is, we live in a time where we don’t even think about the stuff that was broken *all the time* back in the day. Who’d buy a car now and worry about water pooling on the floor or wipers not working?

      The good old days: Not so good.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Having lived through that era of cars, I agree. However I do wish that we could decontent somewhat to increase the purchase price of new vehicles.

        And create bumpers that are actually meant to take some damage and be easily and inexpensively replaced or repaired.

        However I am beginning to believe that vehicle durability will experience a decline until the ‘rise’ of hybrids. At which point CAFE requirements and the tyranny of the wind tunnels will be removed and styling will once again return. With the added benefit that the electric motors will require much less maintenance.

        Studies have demonstrated that electrically powered buses have a cost advantage over ICE powered buses due to significantly lower maintenance costs.

        And yes, I would take the LTD too.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Why dogpile on the ’73 LTD? Weren’t there better cars that year? And better years for them? What about the ’97 4Runner? Didn’t they offer a V8 that year?

        I’m sure there was a time when automakers realized they were making cars too good.

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          That sounds like the tale of how Mercedes-Benz made the conscious decision to start making their cars less reliable and more prone to breaking down. Supposedly prior to the decision, the cars lasted too long and people had no incentive to buy a new one.

          It feels of an old wive’s tale, but planned obsolescence is a thing. I’m just not sure how much of a factor it truly is.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Henry Ford would examine the Model Ts in junk yards looking for parts that wouldn’t fail, so he could make them weaker. It’s just common sense when the goal is to maximize profits any way and every way you can. Or just call it “blueprinting”. And anything that’s overbuilt is dead weight too.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            What really drove Benz to unreliability was the growing dominance of Japan, who offered reliable luxury cars for much less money (most significantly, MB was spending over a billion dollars developing the W140 S-class just in time for the original LS400 to launch and eat their lunch), and 90’s European recycling standards that meant much of the wiring was biodegradable and a long-term failure point.

            Put more simply, a basic 190E cost about $25k at launch (or about $65k inflation adjusted) – I’m sure Benz could build something similar today, but who’d buy it when you could get an excellent IS300 for $45k?

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Yes. I dunno if it was so much a plot to make them less reliable, but I do remember there was a realization at Mercedes — at the tail end of the 1980s I think — that leaving the engineers in charge had resulted in cars that would last forever but had to be priced insanely high, greatly limiting sales. Costs cut will always have consequences…

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          No V8s in third gen 4Runners from the factory, the 3.4L V6 was the top motor. 4.7L 2UZ-FE came in 2003 with the introduction of the 4th generation. A few guys have done UZ swaps into third gens (both the smaller 4.0L from the Lexus LS and the truck 4.7L) and it makes for a fantastic package to be honest

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Small V8s didn’t turn midsize SUVs(/pickups) into Hot Rods. Nor were they gas guzzlers. But they were the perfect match for greater than 4K lbs vehicles (that are 5K lbs now).

            Yes there was about a 1 MPG (EPA cycle) V8 penalty, if that. Of course the V6 got worse MPG when doing what they’re intended for and or a heavy foot.

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          the “fat” camry, for one, so it could share engineering with the lexus ES300

        • 0 avatar

          My parents had a ’70 Valiant with the slant six, which they bought new. It was an amazingly trouble free, durable, peppy car. I suspect the ’73 LTD didn’t compare.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        And that was the first year of a mostly new design, IIRC, though the coupes looked alike between ’72 and ‘73, at least in side-profile.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Either coincidentally or deliberately, you have chosen the nadir of American automobile manufacture. I’m not sure what accounted for such abysmal assembly quality, but having driven 1960s cars my parents owned (and purchased new). I don’t recall any assembly issues with his 1963 Biscayne (and the 1957 that preceded it was exemplary. Being a 6-cylinder with an un-heated manifold it had a tendency to buck when it was cold if you lugged it (which my father always did) although it always started with no drama. It also achieved a righteous 20 mpg on a semi-cross country trip hauling the family and stuff in the trunk. My father replaced that (he felt it to be inadequately powered)in 1966 with another Chevy powered by a 283 V-8 with a 2-bbl (195 HP gross. It started and ran without a hitch — cold or hot but the restriction of the small carburettor limited top end power. That did have a big QA problem — a missing rear main seal, which was discovered immediately and replaced with no further issues.

        Early 70s cars were the worst as Detroit put the engines through all kinds of strangeness in an effort to meet emissions standards. At the same time, cars had grown to gargantuan, obscene size (compared even to the 1960s) and the price of gas tripled thanks to our friends at OPEC. With a 55-MPH speed limit, propelling these 20-ton lumbering barges with detuned engines wasn’t as problematic as you would think. What was problematic was fuel economy.

        However, even the legendary fuel economy poster car –the VW Beetle — wouldn’t do better than 26 mpg running at its top speed of 65.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        I never had any of these issues with my late 70’s GM mid size cars other than a possible carb rebuild after 100K and belt replacements and a few tuneups every 30-40K miles so this was not representative of all cars from this time era. About the only complaints I had were the frameless door glass on the A/G body two doors that sometimes let a few drops in on the high pressure laser wash, sluggish performance from the base 231 V6 or 260 Olds V8’s and early 200 Metric transmission failure. Thus I avoided base engine cars and always looked for the bullet proof THM 350 transmission and a good old 305 LG4 or 307/overdrive equipped car. But as we all know things varied dramatically from one car to the next.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Newly redesigned vehicles are statistically less reliable.

      consumerreports.org/buying-a-car/new-cars-arent-always-more-reliable-survey/

      Dodge is now a top 8 (!) brand in CR’s reliability rankings and the writers credited that to the relative age of their products.

      No one is seriously saying let’s go back to 1985 but for people wanting longevity as their #1 priority going for a known quantity is much safer.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “Newly redesigned vehicles are statistically less reliable.”

        Sure, this is true – I bought a used first-year Hyundai Genesis (2015) and it’s had some glitches, probably because it’s first-year. But I knew that going in, and Hyundai has actually been really excellent about making everything right.

        But that’s not really the point; that’s been the case with every product cycle. But measured across those cycles (at year 1 of a redesign, or year 2, or year 3) cars are getting more reliable. And across any significant timespan, newer year 1 vehicles are likely more reliable than older year 3 vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          EGSE

          I sure don’t want to go back to “the way we were” (now I’ve got that earworm tune…).

          Points that needed tweaking every 5000 to at best 10000 miles.
          Carb jetting that was good for cold weather, so it would load up at idle in summer.
          Or jetting that was good for hot weather, so it would get lean staggers on throttle tip-in in cold weather. Lots of accelerator pump-shot was a generally poor solution (I raised/lowered the float level twice a year to compensate….an also poor fix). Admittedly I was fussy about how it ran, more than most people that just accepted it (I was the “carb tuner” in the ‘hood). Open-loop induction systems flat-out **suck** for general street use compared to even a 1st gen TBI setup.
          Carb throttle shafts that fit poorly, leaked air so it ran rough at idle. Worn-out die-casting molds for the carb manufacturing didn’t help (cough…Carter).
          Carbs that heat-soaked so they vapor-locked (Cough….Holley 4bbl).
          If plugs lasted more than 10K miles it was newsworthy.
          And when it all worked right, 20 MPG highway for a small block V8 in a 3500 lb car.

          Body leaks. Everywhere. Water ponding in interior footwells. A/C condensate leaking onto the floor.
          And then rust-through in 3 or 4 years; where depended on the body style (rear fenders on Darts/Valiants, front fenders on Volare/Aspen), and lower doors on early Accords….yes, Honda.
          Lousy assembly (see leaks above) with panel gaps, paint runs, dings/DENTS.
          Air whistles at speed due to poor door seals.
          Leaks around gaskets/seals with lube on the inside (axle seals, rear main seals…GM seemed worse than others for rear MS; the SB Chevy had some defective cranks).

          Let alone the casting sand that Chrysler couldn’t completely get out of the LA engines. It tended to clog heater cores (raises hand). The zone rep ‘fessed up when I pressed him on it.

          And there’s more…….

          There was a common phrase back then….”you don’t put money into a 3 year old car”.

          The slant-6 was a rare bright spot and could withstand some hella turbo-ing, but it was heavy and the low-mounted distributor was a PITA to get to, and dropping the screw for the points into the dist was a great way to shear the breakaway key on the bottom of the shaft. Ask me how I know…

          And don’t forget, disco music was taking over near the end. We truly live in better times…

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            In contrast today we have the following issues some of which are a real pain

            Complexity- sensors everywhere, 10 computers, Can bus systems, auto braking, side, front and rear detection systems, cameras everywhere, touch screens. Many people I know with fantom check engine lights, intermittent stalling issues or infotainments systems that lockup for no reason etc are often reporting that they have had there vehicle in as many as 10 times or more and the problems still persist. What ever happened to KISS. Skilled educated car mechanics are harder to come by and it truly takes a long time well rounded mechanic that cares to truly fix your issues.

            Gun slit rear and side windows and the horrible rear visibility issues- a real problem if your vehicle lacks a rear camera or obstacle detection system and even if you have those items still an issue in Winter months with all the filth and muck that distorts the rear cameras.

            Whacky consumer buying habits that are eliminating that thing called choice. Stick shifts, coupes, wagons, minivans and now everyday sedans are disappearing at a jaw dropping rate meaning choices are drying up for those that can’t afford a pickup or don’t want or need a tall raised hatch with confidence inspired AWD

            Horrible color choices and the all black interior syndrome- truly depressing that after spending an entire day looking at numerous vehicles from 5 different manufacturers and every sinking car had an all black interior! Terrible

            Very little choice when it comes to options and packaging. You want that radar cruise? Well be prepared to shell out another 3500 for an option package that bundles loads of other crap you don’t want or need.

            Styling- well we truly live in a cookie cutter world where it seems like the same designers are making everybody’s cute utes and fastback sedans. It’s telling that a car guy like me is often confusing one sport ute for another when years back I could tell any American manufactured vehicle apart from each other in the dark! And most of the time could even tell you the year.

            Reliability- Improved greatly but still an issue on many vehicles made today. The engine in this title article makes a case in point and already many have had issues that will surely decrease engine life. Small stressed turbo engines, too many transmission gears, Jatco CVT’s, dual dry clutch Focus/Fiesta’s, GM 2.4 oil issues, poor clunky shift quality and seats that are butt crushers are constant companions of many vehicles today. And lets not forget headlights. The suck on many cars today, are easy to pickup condensation, are made of plastic which yellows with age and greatly reduces performance and in some cases cost a small fortune to replace. My uncle had to pay a garage a couple hundred dollars to replace his Accord’s headlight because the entire front end had to be removed to get at it! The days of 10 dollar head light replacement are a distant memory on the majority of today’s vehicles and if you think LED’s last forever think again!

            And regarding disco i would rather listen to music from the 60’s to early 90’s over 98% of the boring noise they make today. But that is just an opinion and the above is just an counterpoint to not wanting to ever go back.

            Cost- as was said many of todays vehicles are decent values when everything is taken into consideration and all the bells and whistles and safety gear that is sometimes included. But window stickers have jumped quite a bit in the past 5-6 years where the average pickup is selling for 50K and the average cute ute is going for 35-40K. That is simply not doable for many of today’s average consumer that is barely making ends meet raising a family on today’s salaries that have not kept up with inflation at all. Thankfully there are still a few smaller sized cars left that can be had brand new for around 15-16K but that choice is slowly eroding.

            Trends/Fads- we are now in the massive over sized tire era and everything must be black gangster menacing look faze. The problem here is that these rubber band massive tires often give terrible ride quality, increase interior road noise and make Winter traction a truly scary affair. These even greater costs come into play with many consumers having to buy smaller rims and snow tires to even think of getting through the slushy stuff which can be costly and is a pain in the neck.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      @ PeriSoft

      But would they swap it for a showroom fresh 2017 Accord V6?

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I get confused watching Scotty’s videos. In one video he’ll was poetic about car X for one reason and then in another video he’ll deride the same car for another reason. Makes it really hard to understand what he’s driving at except to say buy all the Toyotas.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      His stuff seems mostly like click bait. Thus I assume confusion is part of the strategy.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      This is actually how it absolutely can be! For example, my Highlander was very reliable for 9.5 years. But just when I was about to celebrate 10th anniversary, I found it has problems worthy of decommissioning it. So yes, some cars are short game, others can have more issues in the process but last long time. And this is totally possible to have reasons to own and reasons not to own the same car.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    “Too bad we can’t integrate the best of today’s technology portfolio with a 2.5-liter (naturally aspirated) four-banger (or an optional V6) with normal automatic transmissions, lower/more aerodynamic/lighter bodies from yesteryear’s showrooms and make a more durable, more perfect vehicle.”

    Isn’t that the current Camry? I wouldn’t avoid buying a small displacement turbo, but I don’t think there’s one out there that’s outperformed what Toyota’s done with a relatively traditional setup (even with slightly gamed EPA numbers) Even real-world, I had one last weekend, and averaged something like 45mpg in heavy highway driving (at least as reported by the trip computer).

    • 0 avatar
      StudeDude

      I would say that also describes many of Mazda’s products to a tee.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Fair enough – I particularly called out the Camry because it gets 29/41 EPA MPG in addition to doing well in the real world. The 6 is something like 25/33, which is by no means bad, but on paper, it does lag behind the 1.5 turbos.

        • 0 avatar
          StudeDude

          Agreed. The Camry does do better now primarily because of the 8 spd auto. The 2016 Mazda6 I own was rated at 26/38 but that was before the EPA changed their testing and the 6 put on some weight to quiet it down and also handle the turbo option. Both cars do extremely well with reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            I’m finding the current Camry’s 2.5 MPG to be suspect at least on the city and combined front. Highway MPG can usually stretch past the EPA figures but most any sedan I have rented struggles to get the city and combined figures, especially in colder weather. Going to rent one soon and see what happens

    • 0 avatar

      YES! Granted the new Camry is a bit on the porky side, but it’s EXACTLY what I am talking about.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I have a theory about this: Toyota doesn’t drop and create new engines all the time (like BMW!) but continue to refine what they have. I mean how old is their GR series of engine? This helps with reliability as the problems get ironed out.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        True about the GR engines. They did have the VVT-i oil line issues with the 3.5l 2GR-FE that resulted in a recall to replace the rubber hose on the right (rear) head, and later they switched to a rigid line, that can be retrofitted to engines using the rubber hose. Other than that, they’ve been pretty bulletproof.

        The only other issue I’ve seen with the wife’s ’08 Sienna is noticeable piston slap when the engine is cold, in cold weather.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Toyota pretty much had oil issues with all 4 cyl 2.5-2.7L. And it had this for years. My coworker had his 2008 Camry gulping oil and I had same with 2009 Highlander. I called a dealer and was told by service advisor, “this is it for the engine”.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I love watching people rationalizing dismissing the viewpoint of someone who spends every day seeing what breaks. There are idiot taxes in their futures.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Spending every day seeing what breaks also gives you a skewed viewpoint – after all, somebody who fixes cars, by definition, only sees the busted ones. So from his point of view, they all suck.

      Actual stats, on the other hand, tell a different story. The average age of cars on the road isn’t going up because they’re breaking more often and can’t be fixed. Warranties haven’t gone from 12/24k powertrain to 10/100 powertrain because engines break more often.

      In reality, the guy who “spends every day seeing what breaks” is the absolute worst person to ask about reliability: He might know where weak points are, but he has no way of knowing, and will likely have a wildly skewed viewpoint on, how *often* those weak points fail. Particularly if he has a monetary interest (ahem) in dramatizing these issues.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        What warranties? VW rolled back its warranty

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        How are CAFE compliant transmissions and small displacement turbo particulate emitting engines contributing to the increasing age of our fleet? I’ll admit that they’ve kept me from buying two new cars in the past couple years, which has kept my average fleet age up. That is not because they are excellent or durable. Watch the fleet age continue to rise as people hold on to the cars designed for how people use them instead of how stupid people voted in 2008 and 2012.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Weird tho because Toyota gets great MPG with dumb simple big fours and conventional autos. Nissan gets even greater MPG with even dumber simpler big fours and CVTs. Toyota’s Prius is complex and built almost solely to optimize MPG yet year after year it’s one of the most reliable cars on the road — a popular taxi choice. Maybe it’s less to do with the rules and more to do with bad choices and unskilled engineers.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The Prius was on the market before aspiring serfs elected Obama to tell people what to buy. Anyone who wanted to save fuel was free to. Your side hates freedom though, so now most brands have been reduced to ChiCom compliance disposables. You’re right to take offence to the heads on spikes comment, because it means that some people understand that death by a thousand cuts is still death.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    Toyota routinely gets called out for being behind the times with engine/technology development, more evolutionary than revolutionary, “Where’s the 10 speed autos and turbos!!”, etc. Whatever. One man’s lack of revolutionary drive train components is another man’s dependable, tried and true drive train.

    I wouldn’t mind having an Accord Sport 6-speed manual, but I admit the engine does give me pause. Plus, I just like a big a$$ displacement, non-direct injected, naturally aspirated engines. And I prefer a conventional automatic vs a CVT in applications where a manual isn’t available.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      IBM became at one time the largest (by market value) company in the world for a while by using a strategy of coming late to the market with technology. Rather than being leading edge it waited until the technology’s initial kinks had been worked out.

      Thus IBM’s products were regarded as being ‘more reliable’ than their competitors.

  • avatar
    salguod

    I stopped paying attention to Scotty after researching repairing a rusted brake line and found his video recommending using compression fittings to do the job. The package in the video said “not for use on brake lines”. Evidently he has taken the video down since, but here’s a reddit thread on it:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/cars/comments/aj273x/if_you_have_to_change_a_brake_line_on_your_car/

    I crawled under the car and cut and flared the old lines properly and put in a new section of preflared line to replace the rusted bit.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Fer cryin’ out loud, fix the “Read all comments” thing. It’s annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Doubt that is going away. All about number of clicks and ad dollars I suspect.

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        Yeah, why bother about customer service? Some dolt actually spent time making things worse in the do-over, so we can’t have their feelings hurt by reversing the change, now can we? Clients? Who cares about them? Healey’s comments about fixing things yesterday were as solid as a politician’s promise. You make the gesture so everyone knows you’re flexible and on their side. And then promptly forget it. Job done.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The car I recently bought (2014 Kia Forte LX) for Daughter No. 2, after she totaled the 2013 Cruze LS purchased at the end of The Used Car Search From Hell, has the 1.8l MFI four, instead of the 2.0 GDI four in the EX. I’m happy that I didn’t buy a GDI engine because I’m still not sold on the reliability of high-pressure fuel pumps.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I bought v6 Highlander with DI and Port injection because Cx9 is DI+Turbo

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        And I bought a new 6 turbo because I assumed Mazda engineers aren’t as useless as VW ones obviously are. I’ve owned five turbos from four companies since 1988 and had not a moment’s problem. Why be so paranoid as to saddle yourself with a lumpen Highlander? Beyond my ken. And another thing for all the noisy high pressure fuel pump DI clackers out there — the Mazda is COMPLETELY silent at idle. You can hardly hear it running. And it has more welly available than the car can handle — wheee!

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I don’t believe in a long game for Turbo/DI engines. There are nice videos on u-tube where mechanics take apart those. You should see the valve ports. Disaster. Have you got your car to 200K miles?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    We still need to applaud Honda for offering a 6 speed manual with the 2.0T.

  • avatar
    volvo

    The relatively new technology small displacement turbos and CVTs shift costs to the owner once the warranty runs out. Probably less expensive for the manufacturer to meet CAFE numbers and safety requirements than other changes to the platform. For me options have shrunk to Toyota, Mazda and Korean models (in that order).

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I do feel as if we are entering an era when you shouldn’t buy anything you can afford to dump at the expiration of the powertrain warranty.

      I going to live my life that way until these new technologies show their true colors.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Exactly. And (dirty) words you don’t want to hear from your independent repair shop or parts house; “Dealer Only!”

        You don’t want to be at the mercy of the automaker until the aftermarket catches up. So no one thinks about what that fabulous, cutting edge, 10-Speed auto (or CVT) is going to cost to rebuild.

        The independents that don’t turn you away simply source the magic trans or engine from the Ford, Honda or what ever “Parts Dept” (wholesale), add 20% plus labor and misc.

        This is part of why so many recovered “stolen vehicles” show up with a mysteriously blown engine or trans too. It’s also why the 6.0 Diesel F-series was at the top the “most stolen cars” list in their day.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “Read all comments”? Why would I want to have to click to load text that could have just loaded with the rest of the page? Why does TTAC want me to have to click to load them?

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Why would everyone want all this nonsense bolted up to a CVT-infused Honda when Tesla makes the minimalist Model 3? Of course a base Tesla is 15-ish grand more than a base Accord…

    I hope I never have to get stuck with a Model 3. They are not a good looking car on the outside and the interior is too gimicky. The one screen, powered vents.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    This may or may not be on topic, but I recall similar questions being raised about the durability of the EcoBoost engines in the F-150. They seem to have done quite well. I have a friend who is a Ford truck guy – his current one is the last year of the Raptor with the 6.2L – and he will not ever, ever buy a vehicle with a turbocharged engine. It isn’t durability for him though. It’s just principle.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Principle? The mind boggles. Yeah, there’s vehicles strewn everywhere with blown turbos, you see ’em every day. They litter the roadside.

      Old wives’ tales, stick axles and knitting needle pushrod engines that need valve spring rates only Hercules can tolerate seem to be order of the day round here. I heartily recommend a 1953 Plymouth six with the L-head 97 hp blatter for all the whining worriers. You couldn’t beat those engines to death with a 14 pound maul and a day off from work. But you did need six new plugs.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      After hearing about the problems friends had with their Ecoboost F150’s, I wouldn’t touch one unless it was a freebee. One had multiple turbo failures and being a total Ford believer, even when he’s been stuck with turd after turd Ford cars and trucks, he just bought another Ecoboost F150! “It’s a whole new engine!”. I won’t be surprised when it goes sour, just like the last one. Ford not admitting and fixing the problems his last truck had alone would have sent me to the Ram store. Tossing in the Mustang, Crown Vic, Windstar, and Explorer disasters he’s had, and I almost think he gets off on Ford nightmare vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        How_Embarrassing_4You

        Crazy, know at least 5 people who have owned(and then bought newer years) first year Ecoboost V-6s and had nothing but great luck with them. Funny how your buddy seems to have problems with every single vehicle he’s owned. Definitely a personal problem. Don’t get me started on the friends who have had nothing but major issues with their Dodge or Gm vehicles. Man those are some doozy’s…

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Welcome to contemporary sensationalist ratings and or click driven media culture. I felt faint echos of Alex Jones watching the two minutes I could stand.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Scotty Kilmer- where the only good car ever made was a mid 90’s Toyota Celica. Everything else is junk because well a customer of his had one with a bad this or that thus condemning every single car from that manufacturer.

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