Thursday, April 02, 2009

The modular car

Obama has promised to cover the warranties of GM and Chrysler products. But where the hell are people going to get parts for these cars if these companies go out of business? It's a vicious circle: they're going out of business in part because nobody wants to buys their cars, and nobody wants to buy a car from somebody who is going out of business.

So here it is. Here is my big idea that could possibly save GM, Ford, and/or Chrysler. Car companies should take a cue from the computer industry and start incorporating standard, modular designs in their vehicles. My keyboard, monitor, and tower were all made by different companies but still work together. It would be really practical if a GM transmission, a Ford engine, and a Chrysler chassis could all work together.

I prefer cars that are easy to repair, maintain, and upgrade. Ever try to fix a car made in the past 20 years? Once I was changing the spark plugs on my sister's 1991 Pontiac Grand Am. A couple of the spark plug wires broke, which can happen anytime you deal with spark plugs. But the distributer cap was mounted underneath the engine. So I had to feel around under the engine to plug in the new wires.

Ever have that nagging feeling that someday an important part in your car is going to break down and you can't find a replacement? Modern cars have too short of a life expectancy. If I pay $20K for something, I expect it to last longer than a Hollywood marriage.


  1. Bob:
    Role #1 when it comes to "home" car repair (such as it is these days)...
    Never, I repeat NEVER attempt to work on ANYTHING that is FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE.
    Why do you think the carmakers allowed FWD to take root?
    They wanted the MONEY (from you).

    A necessary evil?
    I think not.

    Good post.


  2. I prefer FWD because it is easier to drive in the snow. Also, FWD cars tend to run cheaper. But I don't try to mess with the tranny. I had a Ford Aspire that was in an accident and problems staying in 5th gear after that. It finally gave out when my GF at the time was driving it in Anderson.

  3. Granted that FWD drives better in snow...on ice is another thing...nothing drives well on ice, period.

    And you're right with repair costs on FWD vehicles.
    Prices are traditionally 40-60 percent HIGHER than "normal" RWD vehicles/drivetrains.

    Here's a link to a good article:
    (and it's from 2003)

    Happy Motoring.