The fuel delivery system in a new car costs more than the entire engine used to.
And still does – if you’re lucky enough to own a V8-powered American car or truck built before the mid-1990s. If you do, you can usually buy a brand-new/manufacturer-warranted crate engine for about $2,000.
Compare that with the cost of a modern car engine’s direct-injection fuel delivery system – resorted to as a way to eke out another 2-3 MPGs vs. port fuel injection.
You don’t want to know . . .
If you ever have to replace the transmission in a car built since about 2010, better have smelling salts nearby. The tab for an eight/nine-ten-speed or “dual clutch” automatic – which the car companies have resorted to in order to eke out another 2-3 MPG vs. a four or five-speed overdrive transmission – can run as high as $5,000 – not counting the labor to install the beast.
If the air bags go off, the car is usually a total loss. Even if the car itself could easily be repaired. Because just replacing the driver and front seat passenger air bags can cost several thousand dollars – before a cent is spent to fix bent fenders. It’s easy to reach the financial threshold beyond which the car is not worth fixing.
These are just a few of the Costs of Uncle – the costs to us of the regulatory burden imposed by the government.
But there are other Cost of Uncle not as obvious.
One of these is the cost of changing a modern car’s oil. Because for openers there’s more oil to change.
I began to notice this during the course of doing the background research I always do prior to writing a review of a new car. A trend became apparent: New car engines may be smaller – but their oil capacities are greater.
This is particularly apparent when it comes to modern four cylinder engines – most of them in the 2 liter-ish range and turbocharged, to make up for their small size and (absent the turbo) insufficient power. Ford’s 2.3 liter “EcoBoost” four, as an example, has a capacity just under six quarts – about the same amount of oil required by the 7.4 liter V8 in my ’76 Pontiac Trans Am.
It costs as much to change the EcoBoost four’s oil as it does to change the oil in my old muscle car, which has an engine nearly three times as large.