Automotive complexity

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gilesjuk
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Automotive complexity

Postby gilesjuk » 15 Mar 2010, 3:52pm

Why have we got to the stage where someone thought it would be a good idea to have software in the acceleration and deceleration (brakes) systems in a car?

Why are cars so complicated? why is it a selling point that a car has complex electronics?

You have to ask how much of this software is down to all the growing and varied emissions regulations in each country. Software is easier to change than components. I don't see that emissions regulations are producing smaller, lighter vehicles, just more trickery to reduce output.

The recent problems faced by Toyota (not all software problems though) with embedded software just shows how a bicycle is such a more efficient, reliable machine.

Of course there are those trying to complicate the humble bicycle, thankfully only in performance circles. The electronic gear shift technology by Shimano and SRAM.

glueman
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby glueman » 15 Mar 2010, 4:18pm

We had our last car ten years from new and I never bothered to learn how to programme the radio. Bike computers came and died without me familiarising myself with all the functions and my modest Canon compact camera is used in a fraction of the possible modes.
It's easier to console yourself with the fact it would be more expensive to make a consumer goods with less functions than one size-fits-all control systems. Press auto or default and grin and bear it is my advice.

kwackers
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby kwackers » 15 Mar 2010, 4:24pm

gilesjuk wrote:Why have we got to the stage where someone thought it would be a good idea to have software in the acceleration and deceleration (brakes) systems in a car?

A replacement for skill. Traction control, ABS and the various flavours of stability control do an outstanding job for your average car driver.
How else would people be able to drive at 40+ on sheets of ice?

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Mick F
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby Mick F » 15 Mar 2010, 4:40pm

We've had our Clio for eight years this April. We bought her brand new and have never regretted it one bit. Although there were some teething niggles in the first year or two, they were sorted under warranty straight away.

If you lift the ashtray out, there's a socket that our local garage plug their computer into to see how the systems are running. Last problem we had was a "crank sensor" that does all the timing and engine stuff. Common problem on Clios, we are told.

I cannot honestly remember when I last opened the bonnet. She has done just short of 70,000 miles and uses not a scrap of oil. I don't have to lift the bonnet to check the oil, as the dash board tells me it's ok! I think she's had only two oil changes in her life.

When I think of all the hours I've spent underneath cars - gearboxes, clutches, head gaskets, water pumps, dynamos and alternators - good grief the list is endless! - I thank the Lord for modern technology and reliability.
Mick F. Cornwall

mw3230
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby mw3230 » 15 Mar 2010, 5:20pm

Mick F wrote:We've had our Clio for eight years this April. We bought her brand new and have never regretted it one bit. Although there were some teething niggles in the first year or two, they were sorted under warranty straight away.

If you lift the ashtray out, there's a socket that our local garage plug their computer into to see how the systems are running. Last problem we had was a "crank sensor" that does all the timing and engine stuff. Common problem on Clios, we are told.

I cannot honestly remember when I last opened the bonnet. She has done just short of 70,000 miles and uses not a scrap of oil. I don't have to lift the bonnet to check the oil, as the dash board tells me it's ok! I think she's had only two oil changes in her life.

When I think of all the hours I've spent underneath cars - gearboxes, clutches, head gaskets, water pumps, dynamos and alternators - good grief the list is endless! - I thank the Lord for modern technology and reliability.


Honest John, the motor expert in the Daily Telegraph, insists that it is imperative that cars have the oil changed regularly. It's strange that you are so meticulous about servicing your two wheelers but less so with your four wheelers.
Retired and loving it

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Mick F
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby Mick F » 15 Mar 2010, 7:58pm

Hang on a sec, our Clio has been serviced as per the schedule. It was done by the main dealer for the warranty period (I know we don't have to) and since then at our local garage.

The synthetic oil in the engine is just left there until the mileage says so.

Looking at the original documents, it says oil changes at 36,000 miles and 72,000 miles.

It's due one soon, also MOT by 21st April 2010.
Mick F. Cornwall

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ferrit worrier
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby ferrit worrier » 15 Mar 2010, 8:23pm

I don't have problem with oil changes on the Land Rover, I work on the total loss system what dosen't drip out gets burnt on startup after that she's as sweet as a nut. In the early days I was puzzled as to where the oil from the gearbox was going. I commented on this while getting some spares one day. I was advised to check the transfer gearbox oil level, I did it was all in there, a common fault aparently. I change the filter every now and then. and the plugs when it gets a bit ropey. :D

Malc
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GrahamNR17
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby GrahamNR17 » 15 Mar 2010, 9:48pm

I miss my Land Rover. It was called "Shed" :cry: I loved that I could get to everything and fix everything, and when it got muddy inside I could pressure-wash the inside and do no damage 8) Like yours, the oil system was "total loss", like a leaky old bucket :lol:

mark a.
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby mark a. » 15 Mar 2010, 10:09pm

I can't seem to find the automatic "Bah Humbug" reply button that all you guys have. :D :twisted:

It's incredible to think what car technology can do nowadays. ABS and stability control, more fuel efficient engines, improved crash technology, less servicing, more reliable parts as well as great stereos.

Imagine what it would be like if we didn't have modern fly-by-wire systems in cars. We'd all still be faffing with chokes, have hideously inefficient engines and dying in crashes left right and centre.

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patricktaylor
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby patricktaylor » 15 Mar 2010, 10:28pm

gilesjuk wrote:... Why are cars so complicated? ...

So they work properly. Five years ago we bought a small hatchback: warranty and free servicing for 3 years. All we've spent on it since then is two services and new tyres. As it happens, new car today - warranty and free servicing for 3 years (first free service at 10,000 miles). Five years from now I expect to have paid out for just two services and new tyres. Simples!

thirdcrank
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby thirdcrank » 15 Mar 2010, 10:31pm

My Land Rover certainly got through some oil. It also suffered the only breakdown where I have been completely baffled although it was intermittent and I managed to get it home. I called out the AA and in those days they had a depot locally and the AA's own mechanic - the chap who did their servicing - turned out because he liked working on Landrovers. It turned out that I had (or rather it had) two intermittent faults - one electrical and the other in the fuel supply which was why I had been confused. He was quite a small chap, nearly able to climb inside the engine compartment. If there had been a bit more room I could have kidnapped him for future emergencies. :wink:

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Mick F
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby Mick F » 15 Mar 2010, 10:40pm

patricktaylor wrote:
gilesjuk wrote:... Why are cars so complicated? ...

So they work properly. Five years ago we bought a small hatchback: warranty and free servicing for 3 years. All we've spent on it since then is two services and new tyres. As it happens, new car today - warranty and free servicing for 3 years (first free service at 10,000 miles). Five years from now I expect to have paid out for just two services and new tyres. Simples!
Mick F wrote: oil changes at 36,000 miles and 72,000 miles.
Yes.
Simple.

We've had three services so far, and when Clio goes in for a check-up and MOT in the next week or two, she may need another. I must check.

Funny, but I lose track of what needs doing and when. I keep actual records, it's just about keeping track of the records, not looking at the engine under the bonnet!

Not like a Land Rover! :wink:
Mick F. Cornwall

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patricktaylor
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby patricktaylor » 15 Mar 2010, 10:42pm

Mick F wrote:... Funny, but I lose track of what needs doing and when ... :wink:

The car will know, and it should tell you! (ours do)

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CREPELLO
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby CREPELLO » 15 Mar 2010, 10:43pm

Maybe it's alright when these cars are new, but what happens to them when they get a bit older, say ten years? A little black box of electrickery goes kapput, then your landed with deciding whether to spend £500 on a new little black box (no exaggeration) for a car that's now worth not that much more. Or scrap it, which is what a lot of people end up doing. At least with the older cars, like the Landrover, you could maintain it indefinitely.

In fact, I'd like to see a car that is built in a 'modular' style, such as railway locomotives and coaches are. These vehicles are essentially just chassis and shells which can be re-jigged with new hardware and interiors. A truly sustainable car design would allow you do upgrade the engine for the latest most efficient, without having to replace the whole vehicle.

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CREPELLO
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Re: Automotive complexity

Postby CREPELLO » 15 Mar 2010, 10:45pm

CREPELLO wrote:In fact, I'd like to see a car that is built in a 'modular' style, such as railway locomotives and coaches are. These vehicles are essentially just chassis and shells which can be re-jigged with new hardware and interiors.

Or should I say, just like the classic steel framed bicycle?... :mrgreen: