Consumer Reports Lists Least/Most Expensive Car Brands to Maintain

With the average vehicle now older than ever before and fewer people capable of spending the kind of money required to purchase a brand-new automobile, maintenance has become even more relevant. To that end, Consumer Reports has furnished an analysis on just how much each nameplate is likely to set you back in terms of upkeep over its lifespan.

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BMW i3 Owner Quoted Over $70,000 for New Battery

Last year, the owner of a 2015 BMW i3 REx was reportedly quoted over $71,000 to have a new battery pack installed. For reference, that particular model would have retailed somewhere around $50,000 brand new. While we’ve seen some staggering high prices being entertained for EVs in need of a new battery pack this has to be one of more egregious examples on record.

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Maine Approves Right-to-Repair Rules, Auto Lobby Annoyed

The State of Maine has voted "yes" to Question 4, which mimics the right-to-repair legislation that passed in Massachusetts three years earlier. This makes Maine the sixth state in the U.S. to approve such a measure and requires automakers to standardize modern vehicle onboard diagnostic systems and make them available to both customers and any independent repair shops they’d like to use.

While the decision represents another important victory for the right-to-repair movement, the world’s largest automotive lobby predictably bemoaned the situation.

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Report: Couple Charged $20K After Their Tesla's Battery Got Rained On

A couple in Scotland expressed sticker shock after facing a bill of about 20,000 U.S. dollars to have their Tesla fixed when the battery was damaged by rain.

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Cary's Garage: Citroen Hydraulic Blues

Cary,

Here is kind of an odd one for you. I have a ‘71 Citroen D series car and it seems there is an issue finding the Hydraulic Mineral fluid for the system. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for me?

Thanks,

Mark

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Study Suggests EVs Cost More to Service

One of the reasons electric vehicles have been so polarizing is down to the near-constant proclamations that they’re the superior mode of transportation. But truth is usually a mixed bag and spending some time with EVs has shown them to have some serious blind spots that will need to be addressed if they’re ever to supplant internal combustion vehicles. Electrics aren’t always the better option, though they do boast features that make them extra desirable to some.

Among those was the promise that owning an EV yielded lower maintenance costs. But there’s a new study out claiming that’s not entirely true. Data is pointing to electrics actually having average servicing fees higher than traditional automobiles.

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Mazda Wants to Keep Vintage MX-5s Baby Fresh With Restoration Parts

In 2017, Mazda announced a restoration program for the first-generation MX-5 Miata in Japan. Those NA years were good ones — sales were strong and customers were happy. But the cars had developed a reputation for being phenomenal project vehicles and an affordable way to get into racing. Many entered into a hard and exciting life as the years rolled on.

Realizing the MX-5 is equally beloved and hardworking in the United States, Mazda has decided to expand the program for North America. On Monday, the company announced that its restoration parts catalog is now 1,100 items deep and ready to help restore the luster of NA Miatas around the world.

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Tesla Raises Prices, Eliminates Maintenance Plans, Claims EVs Are Too Reliable

Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked the world to “please note” that prices on all Tesla inventory would rise by about 3 percent on April 1st. While it sounds like the setup to a particularly bland April Fool’s prank, Musk followed up by saying, “To be clear, this doesn’t affect Tesla website order prices. Existing inventory prices are currently slightly lower than on website. This will bring them in line,” which is only slightly funny.

The automaker is also scrapping its extended service plans, intended to provide annual maintenance on its vehicles. Considering how often Tesla adjusts pricing, this is the bigger story. But let’s give the money matters a little attention before making our deep dive into the company’s bold reliability claims (which is Tesla’s stated reason for the yearly maintenance program’s kiboshing).

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Piston Slap: Do You Want to Keep a Vehicle Forever?
Elliot writes:

I have a 2002 GMC Yukon with 165k and a 2003 Grand Marquis with 150k. The plan is to keep them running forever. Any thoughts regarding products or services to accomplish this goal?

Your loyal reader,
Elliot

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Dealer Association Chair: Relax, Critics - Electric Car Owners Still Have to Visit the Shop

National Automobile Dealers Association chairman Wes Lutz doesn’t have much time for critics who claim traditional car dealers don’t want to sell you an electric vehicle. As EVs boast fewer moving parts and lower running costs, green car advocates often say dealerships view the vehicles as a threat to a business model that relies heavily on service visits for profit.

Not so, says Lutz. The parts that do move are the ones they profit from.

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QOTD: What's the Most Reliable Car You've Ever Owned?

Back in January, we asked you B&B to tell us about the least reliable car you’d ever owned. The stories poured in, amounting to a shocking 240+ comments. It took us days to emotionally recover from the sad tales expressed in your replies.

But today will not be a day of tears. We want to know: what’s the most reliable car you’ve ever owned?

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Nothing Lasts Forever, but Your Saab Might (if You Sign on to a New Parts Warranty)

One day, if we’re lucky, we’ll see a documentary showcasing old Saabs in their natural habitat. The slinky 9-3 plying the interstate between Burlington, Vermont and the Connecticut coast, a valiant 9000 prowling between a Denver lawyer’s office and home, and a black 900 convertible sneaking up on a rural farmers’ market.

David Attenborough will handle narration duties.

Until that time, we can draw comfort that a conservation program exists to keep this extinct brand on the road. Started last fall by the defunct automaker’s official parts supplier, the warranty program means Saab owners in the United States, Britain, and the brand’s Swedish homeland can look forward to smaller maintenance bills in the future.

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Could Bringing Classic Cars Into Dealerships Create a Halo Effect?

While there are dealerships that will happily service your vintage automobile, there are reasons a lot of classic cars are wrenched at home or taken to speciality shops. It’s not typically in a service center’s best interest to hunt down rare discontinued parts and train employees on the reassembly of carburetors. But it still happens, especially among premium brands.

Porsche is rather obsessive about its heritage and has extended that to maintenance and repairs at a large number of stores. It isn’t alone, either. Mark Rogers, a 20 Group consultant with the National Automobile Dealers Association, estimates as many as 1,800 U.S. franchised dealerships are willing to service vintage cars. Some are even selling them — putting desirable classics on the showroom floor in the hopes they might garner positive attention.

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QOTD: Do You Even Wrench, Bro?

Early last week, I brought the Charger into our local dealer to sort out a passel of recalls, not the least of which was a computer reflash to bestow Auto Park capabilities on my ZF-equipped Dodge.

This new programming, it must be noted, not only added the Auto Park feature (which actually works so seamlessly it beggars belief that Dodge engineers didn’t include it from the get-go to save themselves a world of bad PR) but also changed the font in the dashboard EVIC. I now look upon my digital speed readout with a level of disdain formerly reserved for soiled copies of the National Enquirer. Comic Sans would’ve been a better option.

Anyway, the car was also due for an oil change, so I scheduled that service for the same visit. Arriving at the desk, the mental fog cleared long enough to bestow upon me the presence of mind to inquire the cost of a dealer oil change for my Pentastar-equipped Charger.

“Uhhhh … justamomentlemmelook.”

Pokes at computer

“It was around eighty-four dollars last time. Soooo …. about the same again?”

Needless to say, I canceled the oil change, proceeded with the recall work, and broke out my tools when I got home.

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'What is Cost of Ownership?' Asks One Third of US Drivers While Borrowing to Pay Repairs

According to the American Automobile Association, one third of drivers in the U.S. cannot pay for an unforeseen vehicle repair without going into debt.

AAA says the average trip to the shop will set you back between $500 and $600. So, what does that mean for the 64 million American drivers who can’t afford an unexpected repair bill?

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  • Cprescott This is what happens when you are an early adopter. You are a test subject. Why do Toyoduh (and Honduh) owners feel so entitled?
  • Kosmo Love it. Can I get one with something other than Subaru's flat four?
  • M B When the NorthStar happened, it was a part of GM's "rebuilding" of the Cadillac brand. Money to finance it was shuffled from Oldsmobile, which resulted in Olds having to only facelift its products, which BEGAN its slide down the mountain. Olds stagnated in product and appearances.First time I looked at the GM Parts illustration of a NorthStar V-8, I was impressed AND immediately saw the many things that were expensive, costly to produce, and could have been done less expensively. I saw it as an expensive disaster getting ready to happen. Way too much over-kill for the typical Cadillac owner of the time.Even so, there were a few areas where cost-cutting seemed to exist. The production gasket/seal between the main bearing plate and the block was not substantial enough to prevent seeps. At the time, about $1500.00 to fix.In many ways, the NS engine was designed to make far more power than it did. I ran across an article on a man who was building kits to put the NS in Chevy S-10 pickups. With his home-built 4bbl intake and a 600cfm Holley 4bbl, suddenly . . . 400 horsepower resulted. Seems the low hood line resulted in manifolding compromises which decreased the production power levels.GM was seeking to out-do its foreign competitors with the NS design and execution. In many ways they did, just that FEW people noticed.
  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.