"Why your car can't be repaired"
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Cooley On Cars
Cooley On Cars
Why your car can't be repaired
Hey folks, Cooley again.
Got another one of your emails about high tech cars and modern driving.
Vince S this time, writes in and says.
My 2013 Ford explorer has a feature that allows it to phone in its status.
So diagnostics can be retrieved from a website.
The feature is still there, but the website no longer provides any diagnostics.
Are there any laws about removing features like this after the sale, like this or incomplete map data, he also points out.
Interesting stuff Vince.
What you've got going on here is what some decry in the auto industry as obsolescence by design.
When something is put in there And they more or less know or expect it won't always work or be supported.
A very contentious topic so let's dive into it a bit.
So first of all what you're talking about specifically is Ford vehicle health report which does exactly what you say.
It sends information to the cloud.
Your vehicle report was submitted successfully.
And then answers about what you need show up your My Ford portal page and then of course they want you to make an appointment with the dealer to get it dealt with.
What I'm guessing happened here is a lot of folks didn't do that and Ford probably had a partner involved in all this to make it work, which probably cost them money.
Put those two together, kiss of death.
Goodbye my vehicle health report.
What's happening here also.
So is they have the right to do this.
It was spelled out in the terms of that vehicle health report As you can see.
Let's look more broadly at other parts and service of a car.
Because there are lots of other things that actually keep your car running.
That people get.
Get nervous about being supported.
The number one back stop you have, of course, is your car's OEM or factory warranty, which is either the warranty when it was new, or the duration of any cars that are out there carrying a factory certified pre-owned warranty.
during any of that umbrella the car maker pretty much has to keep just about any part in production as well as all the service diagnostic tools and procedures.
But those expire after lets say ten years kind of on the outside for most vehicles.
Which is why we have this kind of five to ten-year rule of thumb.
This is typically how long carmakers will offer just about every part for a car after cessation of production.
Once you get ten years past the end of production, look out.
You're gonna find that mostly just break, transmission, and engine parts are available, suspension as well.
But you start to look for things like trim Radios, electronics, control modules.
Now you start to get into the Wild West where you have to go to the after market and hope they've picked it up.
Other parts that are covered though are more stringent.
Your emissions warranty, as mandated by the federal government says that the car must pass emission tests for two years after manufacture For any reason that it doesn't it's the car makers fault unless you tampered, and then there is an eight year 80,000 mile warranty on all the major components of your emission system, things like catalytic converters, for example.
that are very expensive or a certain computer that may be tied into it.
By the way, a lot of you know about the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, it's been in the car business for decades It speaks to where you can get repairs done and what source of parts you can use it doesn't ever envision the idea of connected services like this so it's not gonna help you either you know it's a powerful federal warrancy law now another aspect of this is the right to repair concept this started in Massachusetts And as of the 2018 model year cars that just came out this year, auto makers must provide to independent shops or any other repairer, the same parts, diagnostic methods, software and tools that they provide to dealers as long as they provide those to dealers.
Once they stop supporting dealers on an older car, they don't need to support independent shops either.
But that is relatively new across the board from all major auto makers.
Of course, recalls cover you on a lot of things.
Anytime a car maker is going to be on the hook potentially for a safety recall or a federal noncompliance recall, they've got to have the parts and techniques available to address that.
But that's for ten years, and it's on safety, or federally regulated parts of a car.
Your technology that connects your forward health report is not going to be covered under that, so that's not a remedy either.
After market parts are where you often go to find things that the manufacturer's have stopped making, and this will vary widely Some parts like power train parts, you can easily find.
A lot of things, though, that are trim parts, forget it.
And then when a car gets really old, it's in the classic phase, and sometimes another company will buy up the old tooling, and start production again.
But we're talking about cars that are at least 25 years old.
Or older and they're not gonna have a lot of sophisticated software either.
And of course software is a really odd bird.
This is not using the same muscles that the after market has tuned over the years.
This is about intellectual property rights that are different from the rights to tooling.
This is also about keeping software in sync with evolving platforms that it might have to talk to.
That's really not what the automotive parts business is trained or skilled at doing.
It may happen over time, but right now software is seen as The [INAUDIBLE] issue, almost exclusively.
Cars made since 2000 may simply go out solid before they go classic.
Bottom line, if you're buying a new car these days, an electric EV range or connected services or any automatic driving or driver assist is really important to you.
Know that you're getting into an area of extremely fast innovation.
And obsolescence is almost a given if you're a longterm owner.
This is why when you look at these technologies, it makes more and more sense to a lot of people to lease instead of buy.
Let it be someone else's problem.
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