We hear also sorts of propaganda about buying a new car to stimulate the economy. I believe it is time for a little AGCOnomics, stimulate the economy of our own family. Not by losing 60% of what we pay for a new car, in three years. Learning how to make the vehicle we have last 15 years. With AGCOnomics, we spend the savings on our family, vacation, paying off our mortgage and things we enjoy.
The bathtub-shaped curve
In quality management, we use the bathtub-shaped curve to illustrate the life of manufactured products. With any vehicle, problems inherent in the manufacturing process, occur early in the life cycle. This may be a squeak, recall, a loose bumper or even defective parts on a new car. They normally resolve these in the first year. If not totally resolved, such problems are usually greatly diminished.
Next we enter the reliability phase. Clearly, this is the part people enjoy the most. We show this as B-C in the curve. Eventually our vehicle starts to wear out and problems start to rise, this is C-D. The longer we can remain between B and C the lower our cost of driving.
How we extend reliable vehicle life
The length of time we can remain between B and C is primarily a factor of three things:
The type vehicle we select
The maintenance the vehicle receives
The shop that maintains the vehicle
1. Selecting the right vehicle
My definition of a vehicle is: A means of getting from one point to another, in a reliable, economical and comfortable fashion. I understand to many a vehicle is a status symbol, not wrong, but they will not gain much from this article.
New vehicles lose a lot of value quickly. About 25% the first year, 20% the second and 15% the third. After that they lose value much more slowly. Buying a three-year old vehicle means getting the best price with the lowest risk. Even if a vehicle receives very little attention, it will likely be in very good condition after only three years.
A quality shop can perform a pre-purchase inspection and let you know you are getting a sound vehicle. Tip: Ask a trusted shop, what type vehicles they would recommend you look for.
2. Maintenance, the key to lower cost
A large portion of this site is dedicated to the benefits of proper maintenance. It is simply much cheaper to prevent problems, rather than pay to repair them. A proper transmission service, at $150.00 is 5% the cost of a transmission rebuild at $3,000.00.
3. Selecting an auto repair shop to help
Not all shops are equal, not even close. Selecting a quality shop can save you far more money than you may ever realize. Aside from being sold things you don’t need, poor repairs result in a huge number of future problems. An improperly done coolant flush can cost thousands in future repair. Corrosion from improperly mixed coolant can eat away radiators, heater cores, water pumps, seals and gaskets.
A cheap set of improperly mounted and balanced tires can create a $1,200.00 rack and pinion leak. An improperly changed pinion seal can result in a $1,500.00 differential rebuild.
It does not have to be difficult. Find that right shop, buy a quality three-year old vehicle and bring it in once a year for maintenance. Of course it is also possible to do the same with the five-year old vehicle you presently own.
Fifteen-years and two-hundred fifty thousand trouble free miles, that’s AGCOnomics.