More and more automakers are turning to hi-tech gadgets to lure buyers. Almost no thought is given to cost/benefit. More than ever car buyers need to be extremely wary. High tech can easily turn into high cost, quicker than you might imagine.
Before most reasonable people part with their hard-earned money, they weight benefit, relative to the cost. For instance, when I make a purchase I try to weigh the cost against my need/desire and my other options. I will not buy a 24 carrot gold coffee cup, because the cost far outweighs any benefit.
Car makers seem to have lost sight of this. Vehicles that recognize speech, have hard drives, touch screen controls and exotic navigation systems are commonplace. Highly technical devices also tend to break and when they do command absurd prices to repair.
For instance, voice recognition modules may cost thousands to replace. An onboard hard-drive can easily cost over a thousand dollars. The cost of maintaining these gadgets can be staggering.
Modules control interior lighting, outside mirrors and even power windows. These can easily cost over $500.00 and require special programming to replace and they break a lot.
Even less obvious features, like HID headlights can be obscenely expensive. A replacement headlamp assembly for a Lincoln LS can cost over $2500.00 per side. Headlamp bulbs in the $250.00 range are fairly common and some require removal of the bumper to replace.
Twenty inch and even larger tires offer no real benefit, other than styling. Very tall tires can easily cost over $300.00 per tire to replace. Vehicle traction control is a feature most people do not realize is even on their vehicle, until the service traction control light pops on. It may cost several hundred to several thousand dollars to repair.
General Motors and others are also specifying very expensive oils and replacement fluids in their newer vehicles. Dexos motor oil is required in all 2011 and newer GM products. Dexos and it’s equivalent oils is not cheap, normally around $8.00 to $10.00 a quart. Not using the specified oil will void the vehicles warranty.
Over priced extended warranties, full of loop holes are also of little help. These companies are professionals at making money off of policy holders. They collect the money up front and every claim they deny increases their profit. What sounds very good up front may prove an expensive disappointment when it comes to collecting on a claim.
Perhaps automakers feel the dependable basic transportation of yesterday lasted too long. Maybe they simply feel people will buy what they offer. There are fewer and fewer options. The days of a vehicle giving years of low cost service may soon be behind us?