h a l f b a k e r y
The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.
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Currently we have to go to dealerships and car mechanics
not only to fix cars, but to do maintenance on them.
I suggest a car that you can easily do maintenance yourself.
Put new oil and press a button to change oil (any kind of fluid
transmission, brake fluid),
and old oil goes in the empty
(where new oil was), and then you recycle it somewhere. Or
put those fluids like gas stations, using hoses.
With tire rotation it wouldn't be that easy - maybe integrated
carjacks or automated garage where robots do tire rotation
Easily replaceable lights and brake pads.
Car computer would tell you what needs to be done or
(it's kind of already done, but it would be better). Also, time
required to do each task would be written on the screen. And
what has been completed.
Tools to do everything are included with a car.
Maybe it would be an additional chore for the kids, because
even a 10 years old would be able to do maintenance on a car
a shortest time possible.
This is not about cars ...
... but I suspect the Law of Leaky Abstractions may be applicable here. [pertinax, Dec 20 2021]
Where washer fluid refill should be.
[bs0u0155, Dec 21 2021]
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||I think its mistaken to think that because car
technology used to be accessible to the average
home mechanic it should be as accessible again.
Every generation has a technology which is part of
the defining identity and language of that
generation. So in the 1940s and 1950s it was
tinkering with cars and motorbikes; in the 1960s
ham radio, in the 1970s electronics; in the 1980s
home computing and programming - and so on.
Those who are the right age when their
generations technology is emerging can ride the
crest of the wave (e.g. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak,
Bill Gates in the 1970s). Conversely, its not
always easy working with a technology which was a
mass participation movement in an earlier
generation, or getting young people interested in
||well Im giving this a bun because I have always
said we should be able to work on our own cars, at
least the easy stuff. Im not sure any of these
suggestions are really viable like pressing a button
to change your oil, but I still like the idea. Have a
||I think you don't get it. //Unnecessary complication //[a1]
car maintenance easy. Special tools make it easy and
engineered parts make it easy. Just like K-cups in a coffee
machine. Like a tv remote, where you don't have to walk to
anymore, but still need to change batteries sometimes. And
something breaks, then you have to go a mechanic; but it
wouldn't happen often - computers, air conditioners,
are very reliable now.
This car can be complicated and expensive; but it would be
easy to maintain until something breaks.
// I was helping my Dad work on our cars before I was 10
years old.// [a1]
Some parts are heavy or inconveniently located, for this
new tools and equipment needs to be made. Women also
would benefit from this.
||This is either trivial and WKTE or impossible and magic, depending on your definition of "any human". Certainly it's possible to make a car that's enormously easier to maintain. But you would have to sacrifice mileage, weight, cost, performance, reliability, and every other metric that people value.
An older car is easier to figure out and some of that is due to deliberate obfuscation. But the majority of it is due to clever design features to improve one of the above metrics. You want fuel injection, water injection, air injection, oxygen sensors, oil flow where there is high temperature? You want to limit vibration ? You want a car that's lower to the ground for better space, better safety, better fuel efficiency? No? You don't you say? Okay. How about a model T? It's widely known to exist but it's sure a lot easier to maintain.
Or we can go the other direction. Let's put a sensor into every part so a computer knows exactly what's going on everywhere. That's the modern car. It turns out it doesn't really make anything simpler. You can read out a computer diagnostic, but unless you really know what it says and what it's measuring it's not going to help.That low oxygen sensor could be telling you to run some engine cleaner through, that you have a bent valve, that a sensor is damaged, or that you're running rich. To know which one you need a hundred times as many sensors. And sensors to watch the sensors. Pretty soon you've got a massive, enormously expensive space shuttle of a car.
The problem with this idea is either it doesn't explain how to accomplish something we all wish can be done (magic) or that it's already been done and you're just wishing for the good old days.
The closest we could get, I think, would be a highly modular car with limited and standardized interfaces between parts. An engine in a box with holes for fuel, oil, water, and air, and outputs for mechanical energy and electricity. It would interface with a standardized transmission box, a standard fuel provider, and so forth. The car would separately route oil, water, electricity, information, and so forth between parts. It would suck in every other category but it would be super easy to maintain (as long as you have the standardized powered part replacement jack) -- just swap out the part that's not working like lego.
||He makes a point though. Maintenance of modern equipment and vehicles for the common man has been made almost impossible in many cases.
These issues are currently undergoing court cases in the right-To-Repair movement.
It's total bullshit that a farmer can no longer service his own machine.
||I'm damned glad that my backhoe/front end loader was manufactured in 1968.
They hadn't worked out minimal tolerance of the parts so every piece is overkill.
Sure it might not outwork a brand new Case... but the thing is 53 three years old and still runs like a top... that new machine won't make it 30 years.
...AND I can fix or replace 'every' single part without a middle-man gouging me.
||I've always said, if I can ever see my way to getting any of my undisclosed inventions off the ground, anything I market will be able to be completely disassembled by the owner and come with the one tool needed to do it.
||Furthermore, isn't this idea soon to be rendered moot by the
emergence of electric cars, with very few moving parts?
||//idea soon to be rendered moot by the emergence of electric cars// Either that, or by the abandonment of cars in general as unsustainable and too expensive and resource-hungry, and we all go back to horse doctoring.
||But I also think that even in the middle ground where people still run fossil-powered personal vehicles, there is less and less need for maintenance. The build quality is just much better now. My bicycle requires more servicing than my car.
||Most people would rather have a reliable car that
they cant maintain themselves than an unreliable
car that they can maintain themselves
||Car engineer here. This car would cost a fortune,
weigh 3 tons, break more often, have lousy gas
mileage, and not fit in your garage. But it could have
some of the features you want.
||Hmm, let's hit the main points.
||//we have to go to dealerships//
||No we don't. There are incentives, sure. You want a 100,000
mile warranty? Then from the manufacturer's point of view
you can see why they'd want control over the maintenance.
From your point of view, does the dealer network make a
tidy profit? Sure.
||//Put new oil and press a button to change oil//
||You're missing a point here, or more accurately, a word:
Inspect. A good mechanic* doesn't just dump the oil and
||First, they'll take a look at the amount of oil that's in the
car vs. the mileage interval. There's a spec. in the manual
telling you how much the car should burn. Modern engines
are very good in this regard, so it's easy to get lazy and just
assume the oil burn is very small. Exceptions include the
Mazda Rx8. If a car is burning/losing oil, this is a big waving
red flag for further investigation.
||Next, what does the oil coming out look like? Is there water
coming out first? Could be blow by in a chronically
underused engine. Does it look like you're gazing into the
milky way with a million glittering points of light? Major
engine work is in your future. An expensive car might
warrant sending a sample for oil analysis.
||If you want to do this maintenance item yourself, it's not
difficult, the barrier to entry is small, $300-500 in a
jack/stands modest socket set? Or at least here in the US,
there's a wide range of quick & cheap oil change places.
But they are a trade-off & possible risk.
||//even a 10 years old would be able to do maintenance on
||I'd have no problem teaching a 10 year old how to do most
things, that's how I started. The biggest barrier is that the
car usually has to be started/moved at some point and
that's illegal in most places.
||Now, are cars harder to maintain than they used to be? (I'm
taking this as an implication and as mentioned in
comments). Yes and no. They are more complex, vastly so,
particularly with regard to the electrical system and
||Does that affect an oil change? Not really. In some ways
those aspects have improved. Looking into the engine bay
it's now clear where all the various user-interacting parts
are, Ford colors the washer fluid etc. bright yellow. Go
back to the 80's and you were on your own. For things like
headlights there are real problems. I've seen horrendous
repair times and costs on a headlight in a modern car. This
is a stark contrast to the past.
||I was blown away when I found out that for decades, the US
had 2 types of headlight: Round and square. Go look at the
60's-70's cars and it's obvious. That makes life very easy. So
did car designers just run wild with headlights when they
got the chance? A little, also light technology has changed a
couple of times recently incandescent>HID>LED AND they're
in a tighter package, AND they're in the front of the car
which has to cope with the regulations of 100+ countries
regarding accident safety AND now pedestrian safety.
||You can blame car manufacturers for increased car
complexity, but that's largely unfair. They don't want it, at
least the profitable ones. Take the Mini, the blueprint for
the modern car. Transverse i4 engine, transmission
attached, front wheel drive, subframes attached to a
monocoque, great packaging. It made a phenomenal car for
the time, quick, nimble surprisingly spacious. But, it was
overcomplex and due to administrative bloat, they had no
idea how much it was costing to make. Ford just churned
out a huge number of completely conventional longitudinal
engine, rear wheel drive cars that were scale-downs of the
American models. They would still be doing that today with
some styling tweaks, if you let them. Do you want a safer
car? "Yes". Do you want air conditioning? "Yes" Do you want 3
sun roofs? "yes" Do you want better fuel economy? "Yes" Do
you want lower emissions? "Yes". If you want to deliver all
these things at the same time, you need sophistication. At
the moment, that sophistication looks like a 2 ton hybrid
SUV. Car manufacturers are clearly feeling the strain of
developing models under the needs/regulatory
environment. You can see it when even giants like BMW,
Toyota & Subaru choose to share the development of the
||//Certainly it's possible to make a car that's enormously
easier to maintain.//
||We can do somewhat better with minimal downsides:
||The location & appearance of things like Washer fluid, oil,
brake fluid reservoirs could be standardized and labelled. If
manufacturers designed around a standard headlight, they
can go with a standard oil cap. Washer fluid shouldn't even
be in the engine bay if you ask me <link>, and the reservoir
should hold a whole damn bottle, or more.
||OBD2 info shouldn't be hidden, there's no reason it can't be
||Many components could be standardized: All the sensors, all
drain plugs, all fluid caps, all filters, hoses, fuses, relays.
Some things could come in a limited range e.g. 4 sizes of
bolt, 4 sizes of brakes, 4 sizes of wheel with corresponding
bolt pattern and offset.
||Helpful info can also be scattered around, for example why
can't we cast the bolt size into the components? Hole says
12x25mm, bolt says 12x25mm.
Certain design decisions could contribute to a
maintainability score (like safety ratings) for example. If
you go with BMWs complex suspension that requires careful
alignment, then your score takes a ding vs. a trailing arm.
||The problem is what people want, and how that's
transmitted via governments and regulations. If you ask
people what they want, they say "yes". The solution has got
harder because the baseline mechanical competence of the
average person has gone in the opposite direction from the
car complexity. How many people in the 60's were trained,
or knew someone who was trained in vehicle mechanics? A
lot. WW2 did that, even the Queen could give your series
Land Rover a service.
||*There are plenty of incompetent, lazy, incompetent & lazy,
malevolent, hungover, busy & mismanaged mechanics out
||You know what? Just buy a Korean war era Willy's Jeep. With
training a 10-year old could completely disassemble and
reassemble one of those. They were designed for simplicity of
maintenance and reliability. There's 100% parts availability &
they'll be grandfathered into regulations for decades to come
and only go up in value. It's what you want. no complaining
about the downsides though.
||oooh, what is/are/were the best engineered cars? And that's
"Best" not "Most".
||//any human// I think this is the most challenging aspect of this spec
||////any human// I think this is the most challenging aspect of
||There's clearly societal pushes, at least in the countries I'm
familiar with, toward having things handled by specialists. On
one hand that's irritating credentialism, but in this case you
will be fairly confident that less waste oil is improperly
disposed of and fewer wheels fall off moving cars. Among
||[+] I don't read this idea as nostalgia for the good old days,
or saying that you can't change oil in a car if you want to.
I'm pretty sure I don't use $300 of tools to change my oil:
probably more like $50, but I could certainly image the
automobile designers spending just a little more time
making it easier for common maintenance tasks if not
somewhat or even fully automatic in some cases.
||I'd say it's a half-baked idea because it's not likely to be a
profitable for the automakers, so it won't happen. The
automakers are targeting their best customers. Those are
the people with extra cash who buy a new car frequently.
Those are the ones who don't care about spending a few
bucks to have the oil changed. The automakers don't care
what I want because it seems I'm currently on a 20 year car
||Hmm, though maybe the way they could sell it is as a
convenience thing. They ship you the oil replacement kit.
You spend 5 minutes changing the oil in a standard parking
spot without getting your clothes or hands dirty, then ship
the used oil back for analysis (if desired) and recycling.
That probably just saved the customer half an hour. Gas
station pickup and dropoff might also be an option.
||//Just buy a Korean war era Willy's Jeep// I was thinking
along these lines - I used to drive a 1968 Land Rover
Defender, which would
have been serviceable by a cave-dweller were you to equip
them with a spanner and some parts.
||//a 1968 Land Rover Defender, which would have been
serviceable by a cave-dweller were you to equip them with a
spanner and some parts//
||I can assure you most Land Rovers of that vintage ARE serviced
by cave dwellers... Although my friend Mike has recently
upgraded to an old cow shed with a tarp on the roof.
||Check mate: Heater Core Replacement.
||Try Audi timing belt replacement. You start at the bumper
and pull everything off from there on back.