QOTD: Questioning the Expiration Date of Automotive Product?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd questioning the expiration date of automotive product

Try as we might, there’s just no way to know everything about the contemporary offerings of all car manufacturers, even if consideration is limited in scope to North America. Invariably, our mental encyclopedia is missing a few pages. That means sometimes, we should consider the unknowns of our automotive knowledge.

Allow me to explain.

Today’s QOTD was prompted by something I asked on Twitter three weeks ago. Specifically, I queried the informed citizens of Car Twitter on the automobiles they’d have to check via Google to be sure they were still in production. Start searching the recesses of your mind for the things you really don’t know, while we talk about the first example that came to mind for me.

Asking myself the question I’d just invented, the Twinkie-shaped (and colored) Fiat 500L was the first car to come to mind. I assumed it had been in production since 2012 or so, and that it was past due for a major refresh or a cancellation in North America. Everybody who wanted one (that’s very few people) bought one shortly after introduction. I recalled the factory for the 500L used to make Yugos — and had a workforce that liked to go on strike. And when was the last time you saw one? Here in the Midwest, they’re fairly rare. Discontinued model, right?

Turns out I was half right, given I didn’t look this up until writing this piece. I got the introduction date correct, 2012, but I was wrong about the cancellation assumption. The 500L continues production in Serbia, though the factory was just idled (like so many other things) due to COVID-19. The TTAC article linked here also informed me of the North American death of another car I would’ve assumed was still on offer: the regular 500.

It’s a simple question, but not something one usually considers — unless there’s a critical mass of boredom, or perhaps a pandemic keeping everyone at home 24/7. Are you willing to admit what you don’t know?

[Images: FCA]

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Apr 01, 2020

    Acura RLX- I’m surprised it’s still around, there’s even a hybrid version. I saw one some months ago but at around $50k there are plenty of other premium sedans that are a better value.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 02, 2020

    I KNOW the Jeep Patriot was discontinued after the 2017 model year, but I see so many in San Diego, including a couple brand-new looking models with dealer sheets still on the window, that I still wonder if there's a factory somewhere still cranking out a few. The simple answer is there was a glut of unsold Patriots when production ceased, and they're still working off the remainder. But how did dealers stay in business with so much inventory on the lot? Did FCA actually lease them, and they're now returning?

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?