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Unread 11-04-2013, 09:18 AM   #1
jeepkid03
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Quality... what does it mean to you?

I find that as a society our definition of quality has gone downhill. Whether it be products, services, etc.

You can argue that Americans always want stuff for the cheapest price possible, and I agree to a point, but I find now that most are willing to pay more for quality.

New cars for example. The electronic gismos will not last 15 years, they just won't. Even if they do, dealership support for them will probably cease to exist. I've talked to a few shops around here and they never directly tell me that newer cars are worse, but they do say this...

"I have noticed a lot more newer cars coming in with major driveability or manufacturing problems that shouldn't happen on a car so new."

One was a newer Chevy Cruze that the car would just shut off going down the road. While on the highway, it would just stall and not restart for a day. The car had been through the dealership which couldn't find the problem. The person was able to fight for another vehicle.

Another shop told me: "I've had more and more people come in to do engine rebuilds, transmissions, and suspension work on older vehicles in good shape. Some people have told me they actually buy older cars with good bodies and rebuild the engine since it is cheaper and will last longer than the new stuff, even though they have the money for a new car."

I've noticed that in general, new things are built with crappy quality.
-Washing machines last 5 years if that, or a short period before having problems
-laptops last 2.5-3 years almost to the day
-major components on cell phones such as microphones, speakers, and screens randomly stop working even if taken care of

Doing small engine repair as a side business, I frequently see newer engines (from all brands) with major failures such as broken connecting rods with low hours and full oil, starter components installed backwards on Kawasaki engines, ignition coils that wear out after a year, etc.

Services are another problem. Nobody takes pride in their work. Everywhere you go, its how much can someone get away with, or how little can they do to get the job done. Nobody will man up and take the blame for their own mistake.

If I do something, I do it right the first time and to the best of my ability. I'm willing to pay more money for quality parts instead of doing things 50 times over because it not only saves me work, but saves me money in the long run.

The "Americans want stuff as cheap as possible" argument isn't always valid because vehicles nowadays cost $40k-$60k and they still have **** quality.


What is your opinion on quality, and how does it influence your life and purchases you make?

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Unread 11-04-2013, 09:51 AM   #2
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The 'most americans' part of everything above is a bit of a fallacy. Change 'americans' to 'people' and you're on track. No where in the worlds is a society of people that insist on paying as much as possible. A majority will always vote with their pocketbooks.

Old engines were usually on the downhill slide at 6 figures on the odometer. They would still run but performance and efficiency dropped pretty quickly. Even when new they generally aren't spec'd tight enough to be efficient. Newer engines will cross the first 6 figures without an issue and keep on going for another 100k+ before needing rebuilt. The old are easier to rebuild but will generally need it more often. So I'll side with the old is cheaper, but not the will last longer than new stuff. And multiple rebuilds over time its no longer cheaper. It's just more expensive in smaller chunks. And more expensive in really small chunks to run day to day.

I love classic cars, but there's no way besides styling and 'feel' that I can say with a straight face that a 69 mustang is 'better' in any way then my 2002 mustang. Side by side I'd take the '02 every day as a dd and the 69 would be my fun on the weekends car. I'd enjoy the 69 more, but the 02 would still be better on the road.

Older cars were simpler, less to go wrong with them on a manufacturing front. New cars have more tech in them, by far, then it took to get to the moon and back. But they're put together by the hundred thousands on an assembly line vs the moon items being handcrafted by scientists over years. The odds of something go wrong in that sense is billions of times higher, but its still pretty rare.

Laptops, cell phones etc, there's no reason to design them to last 50 years. They're outdated by tuesday and the buying public as a whole has no use for the old tech. The push is for the newest soonest not for the most durable. A company working for the long haul item will be out of business by the end of the month.

Most consumers are younger, that's who every company is aiming at. You have to get older and get your hands dirty a few times before you learn to appreciate actual quality.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 10:09 AM   #3
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I should have clarified, when I say old I mean 1995-2005 era vehicles. Not 1960s cars with carburetors, that would cost way too much and make no sense compared to using a modern car.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 10:42 AM   #4
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1995-2005 cars as quality?!?!?!?!? Sorry, but that comment kind of sucks the wind out of your argument. It sounds like you're saying that because you drive a 2000.

I don't know why everyone always uses cars when speaking of the decline in quality. They are now of higher quality than EVER. You can't use anecdotes from a few to draw conclusions about a massive population. You have to use numbers.

Most Americans are not willing to spend more money for the sake of quality. Based on what do you say they are willing? The success of Wal-Mart and other retailers with their primarily Chinese stock? Name one product out there that doesn't have a high quality option with lower sales.

Laptops and cellphones have not been around very long so I'm unsure of your baseline.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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Too many people shop with their heart and not their head. They walk onto a car lot and say "Oh, that's cute!" or "That looks fast and mean" "I'll take it!" without doing any research on the drivetrain, recalls or owners reviews. Some really bad stuff has come out of Detroit and some really good stuff has as well. The Ford 6.0 Powerstroke Diesel comes to mind. Head bolts that were threaded into none threaded holes would cause the head gasket to blow, heads to crack without a moments notice. Ford issued a recall to fix this oversight. The Triton V-8 is, IMHO, one of the best engines to come out of Detroit. I have a 2001 F-250 with this engine and it has 285K miles and still runs clean and strong. I have a friend with a F-150 with the same engine and has over 300k miles and runs like the day he bought it new.
Of course maintenance is key to new cars lasting a long time. If you don't practice regular maintenance on anything, don't expect it to last very long.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 11:54 AM   #6
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The modern engines are good and will outlive the rest of the car, the problem is that it is the electronics that will kill it and make it useless.
In 10-15 years the scrapyards will be full of cars with rustfree bodypanels and perfect drivetrains but with dead electronics that noone wants to repair because it will cost to much.

I think that the only electric things thats good in a car is heated seats, ABS and sterio, the rest can go.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
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Because things are made with lighter and thinner materials now I think many people associate it with being cheaper but it isn't really the case. Quality electronics seem to be hard to come by in automobiles and the vehicles from the 90's are some of the worst ever produced! As far as cell phones and laptops you're just plain wrong, I'm not mad at you though.

Most people do not take care of their stuff, I personally own a Toshiba laptop from 2007 still running strong, a Samsung laptop from 2006, an Apple MacBook Pro from 2009, two iPhone 4 non S phones (2010) and an HTC EVO 4G original also from 2010 all functioning perfect. They're all considered modern electronics and over the 2-3 year window people claim these things are engineered to quit within.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 01:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobjp View Post
1995-2005 cars as quality?!?!?!?!? Sorry, but that comment kind of sucks the wind out of your argument. It sounds like you're saying that because you drive a 2000.

I don't know why everyone always uses cars when speaking of the decline in quality. They are now of higher quality than EVER. You can't use anecdotes from a few to draw conclusions about a massive population. You have to use numbers.

Most Americans are not willing to spend more money for the sake of quality. Based on what do you say they are willing? The success of Wal-Mart and other retailers with their primarily Chinese stock? Name one product out there that doesn't have a high quality option with lower sales.

Laptops and cellphones have not been around very long so I'm unsure of your baseline.
Yes, a car full of infotainment crap and electronically controlled suspension components that fail to work correctly, or cars without engine oil dipsticks or transmission dipsticks or serviceable drive train is definitely quality. Think about that for a second. A lifetime transmission fluid. No fluid lasts a lifetime, especially one under the heat and stress of a transmission.

I agree with some of you that electronics get outdated. That is obvious. Newer and better things are coming out all the time. My point is that there is a place for this. $40k vehicles should not be "engineered" as you say to last only a certain length of time like cell phones.

Think about a snowblower for example. The gear box used to be cast iron with heavy duty gears and grease fittings on all the moving parts. There are 1970s snowblowers still working great. The new ones have a sealed gear case with cheap gears that strip out over time. They are cheaply made but not cheap to replace, so then what used to be a useful machine is scrapped because of one part that failed.

Complain all you want about my argument, but I have many friends who have loan payments on newer vehicles they can't afford to fix.



Also as far as paying more for quality:

When your Jeep breaks do you buy the Autozone part that you will have to replace in 2 months or are you willing to pay a little more for the part that will last longer?
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Unread 11-04-2013, 01:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepkid03 View Post
Yes, a car full of infotainment crap and electronically controlled suspension components that fail to work correctly, or cars without engine oil dipsticks or transmission dipsticks or serviceable drive train is definitely quality. Think about that for a second. A lifetime transmission fluid. No fluid lasts a lifetime, especially one under the heat and stress of a transmission.

I agree with some of you that electronics get outdated. That is obvious. Newer and better things are coming out all the time. My point is that there is a place for this. $40k vehicles should not be "engineered" as you say to last only a certain length of time like cell phones.

Think about a snowblower for example. The gear box used to be cast iron with heavy duty gears and grease fittings on all the moving parts. There are 1970s snowblowers still working great. The new ones have a sealed gear case with cheap gears that strip out over time. They are cheaply made but not cheap to replace, so then what used to be a useful machine is scrapped because of one part that failed.

Complain all you want about my argument, but I have many friends who have loan payments on newer vehicles they can't afford to fix.
You are not forced to buy a car with infotainment. What does that have to do with quality?

Non serviceable transmissions were around in your high automotive quality 1990's. Prove (with numbers, not anecdotes) that has anything to do with quality. It seems strange to me as well, but I don't go stomping around the internet saying I know better with no experience whatsoever.

You can buy a quality snow blower if you put your money where your mouth is. But apparently you didn't because you bought the cheaper one with these issues you speak of.

It seems like all you're going to do is just post random anecdotes without numbers to back it up. It's like you're regurgitating a bunch of things you overheard your dad saying to his buddies.

Americans have the freedom to choose quality products. It's not that quality products aren't out there, it's that people sacrifice quality for price.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 01:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepkid03 View Post
cars without engine oil dipsticks or transmission dipsticks or serviceable drive train is definitely quality. Think about that for a second. A lifetime transmission fluid. No fluid lasts a lifetime, especially one under the heat and stress of a transmission.
.
The new volvo v70 dont have dipsticks for the engine, mercedes dont have it for their auto transmissions anymore.
This is something that more and more carmakers starts to do.

Take BMW as an example they have no service on some of their auto transmissions. But ZF who builds them for BMW has 60000km/once every year before its time to do a service in the exact same transmission.
The reason:
BMW wants to make money selling new transmissions and they will not do any waranty work on it because YOU did not follow the service schedule that does not exist according to BMW.
When it fails you are ******
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Unread 11-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #11
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Idk I have a 4L60e with over 200,000 miles on the original fluid. I handed it down to my cousin a few years ago and he is still driving it, probably hasn't done a fluid change on it either. Automatic transmissions, if it isn't broke done fix it is how I feel.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 02:30 PM   #12
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I disagree that quality as a whole has declined. Rather, manufacturers realized back in the 80's that there are enough consumers that are willing to buy the cheapest product available and simply replace it every few years than pay a premium for one that will last ten years or more. As such, they began building merchandise to a price point to meet that demand. There is still high quality merchandise out there, it just costs more. As a hobby I repair and recondition lawn equipment and come across B&S engines from the 80's still going strong, meanwhile the brand new $180 mower with the same configuration flathead horizontal Briggs engine from Home Depot will go for two to three seasons before it is almost worn out. Little two cycle engines are the worst, do you really think a $60 Homelite weed wacker is going to last as long as a $250 Echo or Stihl? No way, but the homeowner who takes it home and gets a couple dozen good cuts out of it won't care, and it's cheap enough to replace it next year. I love em, because people get tired of trying to start them up after a year or so and I find them in the trash twice a week, and with a minimal investment can get them running and sell them for 20-30 bucks. Buy cheap, get garbage. Now, I won't argue that the explosion of frivolous electronics and their inevitable failures are what has kept me out of the car market since 2001.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 02:32 PM   #13
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To be fair here, the OP is early 20's so a 90's car IS old I'm not that much older (honestly I'm not) but I was driving in the 90's. Nothing car wise, and I can't think of a single thing, was good in the 70's 80's or 90's and things have only started getting decent in the 2000+ range of vehicles. I like cars until 69 and older, 70 on the outside edge of certain muscle cars, and then have 0 use for any made until recently. Junk, crappy styling, and poor runners imo.

And so many trany's making up number here, with a 60k service span or any span at all really, still haven't had a service done in 30 years. People change their oil at 3k miles because the oil companies tell them to spend lots of money getting rid of still good oil, but won't change the transmission fluid ever. And how many mechanics will tell you NOT to change it if it has seen 100k miles?

No dipsticks for my wife to entirely ignore until she starts complaining that her car is acting weird, that is troubling.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 05:34 PM   #14
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There's n o such thing as a non serviceable transmission. Just because it says it's a lifetime fluid does not mean you cannot do a fluid flush. I've serviced many of them personally.
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Unread 11-04-2013, 07:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre_r View Post
The modern engines are good and will outlive the rest of the car, the problem is that it is the electronics that will kill it and make it useless.
In 10-15 years the scrapyards will be full of cars with rustfree bodypanels and perfect drivetrains but with dead electronics that noone wants to repair because it will cost to much.

I think that the only electric things thats good in a car is heated seats, ABS and sterio, the rest can go.
Heated seats? Why?
ABS? No. Limiting and borders on useless.
Stereo? Sure.

As far as "safety devices" (feature creep,) they're usually poorly implemented, and merely serve to allow the driver to abdicate responsibility.

- TPMS would impress me more of it told me which tyre was low - AND caught the low tyre before I did.
- ABS would have more potential use to me if I could switch it OFF at will (there are some things to do that ABS makes several times more difficult.)
- Front-wheel drive? I wish there were still some lower-cost RWD cars out there - they're easier to service, and drive better.

As far as "safety device feature creep" - the one thing I would like to see on vehicles would be a "rear lamp monitor" - a small outline on the IP that would show you when a rear lamp is out, and which one. I can think of at least 2-3 ways to do it that wouldn't cost a lot of money, and would monitor individual lamps. Probably cost $10-15 to do, which could be readily and easily absorbed into the cost of the vehicle (instead of "How much money can we make?" and upcharging for the "option.") People get so paranoid when I pull up next to them to tell them they've got a lamp out - but it's what I was taught to do...
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