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Baz46
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Somewhere rural 'out in the sticks', UK
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11-03-2019, 10:39 AM
1

The cost of new technology in modern cars

Five yearsí ago, just before retiring, I bought a new Volkswagen Golf 1.6 BlueMotion TDi SE, a brilliant car by all accounts. Well-built, very economical (54-62 mpg) and reliable. New technology plays a big part in the car. Like a lot of cars today, a computer on wheels.

As I donít do that many miles these days itís covered in total just 17,000 miles and had two MoTs which were passed without any problems. Not even a new tyre as yet.

Driving through the country lanes of this rural area, I rounded a bend and a family of pheasants decided to cross the road. No chance of stopping or avoiding them but they managed to cross, except one straggler which went under the front of the car, banging on the bodywork as it did so. Sadly no chance of survival whatsoever.

I checked the car over on arriving home, no damage at all, not even feathers inside the front grille. Next morning started the car only to see warning icons displayed. One was the Adaptive Cruise Control, the other Assisted Front Braking. Both not working and very useful, but not essential to have. Checked with the Volkswagen garage as to what this meant and it was expensive, very, very expensive.

Both these functions are controlled by a sensor, actually a radar camera, mounted beneath the front number plate and behind the grille but within an opening in the grille. Basically very poor design.

Shock, horror at the cost! To recalibrate the sensor / camera (to plus 0.8ļ or minus 0.8ļ) Ė £400. To supply and calibrate a new sensor / camera if the existing one is broken Ė £1,400!

All this technology is very nice but beware the cost when damaged or something goes wrong. For the first time in 57 years I have had to claim on my insurance. Protected No Claims Discount fortunately but £150 Excess. No other vehicle involved, nobody to claim from so my insurance will increase by approximately £110 next renewal Ė an expensive pheasant, and there are thousands of them here Ďout in the sticksí!
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Julie1962
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11-03-2019, 10:42 AM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

None of our cars have ever had anything more than central locking, can't imagine it's all needed TBH. Had a lift home the other day from hospital and it looked like the driver had an airplane cockpit display in front of him !
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Baz46
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11-03-2019, 10:55 AM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

Originally Posted by Julie1962 ->
None of our cars have ever had anything more than central locking, can't imagine it's all needed TBH. Had a lift home the other day from hospital and it looked like the driver had an airplane cockpit display in front of him !
Quite agree with you about what's needed. My first cars were those that had a heater and radio, at additional cost and in those days just what was central locking? Even the car before the VW Golf only had electric windows and central locking as standard.

Nowadays there is competition between manufacturers as to who can offer the most new technology to secure sales. The VW Golf was not available without all the 'goodies' so no choice really if I wanted to buy the car. When this incident occurred I just thought I would not bother to have it repaired as it's not necessary, but of course that lowers the value of the car by the cost of repairs should I wish to trade it in.

I often wonder how a young person, a new driver, the novice manages with all this gadgetry while driving? But then of course, in the case of youngsters, their brains seem to be wired differently from ours!
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11-03-2019, 10:59 AM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

I have to say it worries me all those distractions can't make for a better driver.
When my husband taught the kids to drive he didn't even allow them to use a radio until they were competent drivers and passed their tests, can't stop them after that but while he could he made sure they concentrated.
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realspeed
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11-03-2019, 11:00 AM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

With modern cars you can't even change a battery as the electronics have to be reset on a diagnostic machine. My car has all the bells and whistles even down to which tyre has low air pressure in it. it really now is information overload
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Baz46
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11-03-2019, 11:54 AM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

Originally Posted by realspeed ->
With modern cars you can't even change a battery as the electronics have to be reset on a diagnostic machine. My car has all the bells and whistles even down to which tyre has low air pressure in it. it really now is information overload
Tell me about it, mine's the same. Even more annoying when I used to service and repair my cars. The VW Golf also has the 'stop / start' feature for fuel-saving. Very useful to be informed of low tyre pressure, even though I am an 'old-fashioned' driver who checks his car over once a week. Hitting a pothole for instance can knock some air out of the tyre and you may not realise. For a lot of this I have to refer to the vehicle's handbook which needs a degree to understand anyway. A lot more easily understandable information is to be found on You Tube. For instance, recently a warning came up on the dashboard screen that the key fob battery was low and needed replacing. I could find nothing in the handbook and no doubt it would be costly at the main dealers. The You Tube video showed exactly how to do it even down to the battery number. Cost: £2.40 for batteries (two so I have a spare for when the spare key fob requires a battery) labour costs: zero!
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marmaduke
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11-03-2019, 11:59 AM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

I have a range of cars , one new and that’s a mobile computer , others older with less technology ..
One point I was reading about the other day now you mention parts prices ... the latest Volkswagen polo headlight bulb costs ... whatever , but the faster GTi version headlamp ( you can’t replace a bulb on its own ) is £900 !!!
For years now manufacturers have made cars so reliable they rarely go wrong and soastomakemoney aftermarket they put all kinds on then knowing you will be back needing ‘spares’ and often they won’t work even if you fit them yourself as you need their laptop to tell your car the part has been replaced so no getting around it I’m afraid
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Baz46
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11-03-2019, 01:06 PM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

Originally Posted by marmaduke ->
I have a range of cars , one new and thatís a mobile computer , others older with less technology ..
One point I was reading about the other day now you mention parts prices ... the latest Volkswagen polo headlight bulb costs ... whatever , but the faster GTi version headlamp ( you canít replace a bulb on its own ) is £900 !!!
For years now manufacturers have made cars so reliable they rarely go wrong and soastomakemoney aftermarket they put all kinds on then knowing you will be back needing Ďsparesí and often they wonít work even if you fit them yourself as you need their laptop to tell your car the part has been replaced so no getting around it Iím afraid
While at the VW dealers about getting the ACC sensor re-calibrated / replaced I was speaking to the service manager about the cost of the sensor, he commented on the cost of headlamps as you mention. In a minor shunt it could be a plastic bumper replacement plus two new headlamps, just the headlamps alone £2,000 plus new bumper and on top of that the labour cost. That came as another surprise when I asked what that was Ė £90 an hour and that's just increased!

My other car is now 36 years' old, 'luxuries' are just electric windows and electronic ignition rather than the 'points' system. That car takes 5.5 hours for a full service so at today's rates almost impossible to have serviced. As cars have become more reliable service times have decreased so garages have just increased hourly rates and the cost of parts. One difference in all this though is that the local village garage charges £50 an hour while the main dealer is £90 an hour, both do the same job for mechanical requirements. However, the village garage cannot access VW's database so cannot do upgrades to the onboard computer.

As you rightly say 'no getting round it'! Unless of course taxis are used and that is becoming increasingly more of a viable option as depreciation on cars, the costs of servicing them and running costs become higher and higher, and eventually out of the price range for some.
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marmaduke
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11-03-2019, 01:41 PM
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Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

My land rover defender ( 300Tdi ) I do everything myself and always will ... everything else varies as I enjoy servicing myself and most things I can get around dealer ‘needs’ however the newer the car the more dependent you are on them , not because the job is any more complex but because cars go into limp mode today when broken and they have the reset codes so your stuffed !!!
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11-03-2019, 06:04 PM
10

Re: The cost of new technology in modern cars

All these. Safety items on cars are designed to meet the latest euro ncap safety standards, but when it goes wrong itís usually expensive, if out of warranty, more cars are being written off for relatively minor shunts, but if you consider replacing the front airbags, thatís a complete new dash, expensive and time consuming, a windscreen now has to be calibrated if itís replaced due to these radar cruise control systems , when you factor in the cost of some headlight systems, ( LED) insurance companies will, in most cases now , write off the vehicle, and itís can only get worse, the eu, are now proposing that within the next three years, all new cars will have black boxes fitted, and speed limiters linked to traffic sign recognition systems, so the car will keep to the limit, now, itís all fine if it can help to minimalise or prevent accidents, but once a car is out of the manufacture warranty, it will write off a lot more cars as the cost to repair will be prohibitive
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