This is probably the most ‘duh’ blog-title ever but I’ve had a few recent experiences that have lead me to see that people really don’t properly maintain their vehicles. While I’m the kind of person who does more than I should, most of the Americans I meet simply do what is required some of the time.
I’m the kind of car-lover who sees a V8 and thinks, “that’s an expensive spark-plug change”.
It costs me $38 every 5,000 miles to change my spark plugs. If I had a V8 Camaro or Mustang, that’s $76 every 3 months just to keep all of the pistons firing reliably. Most economy cars don’t need plugs until you’re at 50 or 75,000 miles but the tuning company that has my turbocharger pushing double the amount of boost as stock recommends very often intervals. When you pair this with the fact I put 20K miles a year on my car and 12K on my motorcycle, wear & tear are huge factors.
Which is why when I see a kid dreaming about owning a V12 Ferrari or V8 Shelby GT350, I want to grab them by the shoulders and say, “I hope you’re pulling in 300 grand a year one day”
This morning, I road past the local gas station. They sell unbranded econo-gas that’s low-tier w/o any added detergents with 10-15% ethanol. My local buddy who drives a 2-door Candy White Volkswagen Golf R (2012) was there filling up. I’m sure he uses 91 octane since that’s what VW recommends but I wanted to pull off and tell him to either stop 2 miles up the road and use the ethanol free gas or go into town and get Shell 93 w/ Nitrogen or he’s going to gum up his injectors and intake manifold with disgusting carbon. The TSI and TFSI Engines VAG uses are direct-injection in the states, not multi-port like the Europeans get so carbon buildup is a horrible issue. When you pair it with low-tier gasoline, he’s just asking for $800 walnut blasting every 50,000 miles or else he’s going to suffer mis-fires, false-starts, power-loss and MPG economy going out the window.
He’s not alone though.
I saw another Golf R, a 4-door Candy White at the local Co-Op the other day. I was on my bike and I noticed the guy was running P-Zero tires which are an enthusiast set of rubber and the owner came out and the only reason I struck up a conversation was because of the tires. Most Golf R owners up here (about 8 of them) are people who don’t know what they’re driving. I wave, they never wave back. The only person that does is my buddy who I see on my commute every morning as we go opposite directions. The two people (now three) that I’ve spoken to locally in person say they just wanted an All-Wheel-Drive hatchback. That’s it. They just think of it as a GTI with AWD. Sigh.
Anyway, I mentioned the tires and the guy, in short, said, “Oh, I just bought it. I didn’t know those were special tires. I guess the previous owner had them on there. I just got it because this is good in the winter and I won’t need winter tires with all wheel drive.”
Running high-performance summer tires on this car where our winter is 6 months long simply because all 4 of your wheels get power is incredibly stupid.
I should get back to the point of this post.
The point is, owning a machine that needs to last you 100,000 miles is important. Unfortunately, when the majority of people don’t do even basic maintenance and put altimax General tires on their car and run their brakes down to the calipers, the used-car market suffers to the point where only someone who is an enthusiast will pay me extra for the money I spent on doing extra. The used car market will set a Honda Accord that’s 5 years old at 12,000 USD with 60K miles (just guessing here). If the owner changed the oil every 3,000 miles with full synthetic, continually oiled and conditioned the leather seats, had a ceramic CQuartz or Opti-Coat applied, used ceramic brakes, had a full carbon cleanup at 50,000 miles only using top-tier gasoline and no pets, kids and used WeatherTech floor mats to keep the carpet looking great…oh and took off the stock wheels running aftermarkets and putting basically 0-mile stock wheels back on the car w/o any wear or dings before the sale with twice a year professional detailing, that car won’t make any more than the guy who literally never did anything to his car except change the oil once a year.
….and this to me is quite sad. We should be rewarded for loving and caring for our machines. I may find a Golf R buyer who appreciates that I’ve only hand-washed my car and that I spent $1800 getting a ceramic paint protection applied and that I clean my air filter monthly, oil changes every 5K and new spark plugs 3 times a year but the guy who doesn’t even know Pzero tires are good will simply see a good looking AWD hatchback and haggle me down to 15% less than the car is worth because there are surface scratches on the piano black interior trim.
I think everyone should buy the car they can afford to properly care for. If you can’t spend a thousand bucks a year in maintenance on the Civic, don’t buy a 3-Series and run it into the ground. Or if you do, lease it.
Leases are great for inconsiderate jerks who don’t care about their cars. You should still feel bad because when you turn that car in, it’ll be someone else’s problem and you’re making their life worse by never caring for the vehicle.