Reader Question: Stockpiling Parts?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Tom asks: I have a 2007 Buick LaCrosse CX that I bought used two years ago. It’s a good-looking car with about 75,000 miles and runs great. I want to keep it for another 20 years (the rest of my life; and assuming cars will still be legal to own and drive) because of all the nonsense the government is engineering into new cars (see Eric’s past columns on this). My car has the advances that make it really good. What parts should I stockpile to keep it running that long? Headlights would be one, but I suspect there’s a long list of things good to have.

My reply: Rather than stockpile parts, I’d do all I could to make it last. With only 75,000 miles on the clock, your LaCrosse should have at least another 100,000 miles of reliable service left. To extend its life, I would adhere to the “severe/heavy duty” service schedule for things like fluid and filter changes and try to keep it in a garage when not in use. Obviously, drive it gently – especially at first. Give it a ten minutes after initial start-up in the morning before you give it more than half pedal. Try to avoid hard cornering and abrupt stopping.

Keep the exterior clean – and waxed – to maintain not just the appearance but also to retard the formation of rust. If you live in an area where road salt is used in winter, try to wash the car as soon as possible, including the underside. Car washes are great for this when it’s cold out.

And – most of all – maintain situational awareness. In order to avoid being hit by someone who doesn’t maintain it – and causes enough damage to your car such that the insurance company totals it and leaves you with a puny check that won’t cover the cost to get an equivalent replacement.

. . .

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  1. If I had a shed I’d buy one with a bad engine/transmission and good body and put it up on blocks. Lots of good parts if it was somehow abused mechanically.

    I recently read on a site of a transmission rebuilder and performance transmission that esp. on pickups to change the transmission oil every 10-12,000 miles since it has to put up with a lot of abuse, esp. on the heavier trucks with diesels. Makes sense to me. I changed fluid and filter on mind and failed to install a drain plug I’d bought for it. I won’t make that mistake again. Once i brought the wife’s car back from transmission grave with Amsoil that even stopped a leak(typical thing for a synthetic to do). Anyone else would have maybe changed oil and filer or just parked it and bought another. I’ve made a lot of vehicles quit leaking lubricant with Amsoil.

    When the 3.1 starting top end clicking I asked a mechanic friend about it. He said “they all do that”.

    Well, they all do that on conventional oil I’d guess. I used some Amsoil flush on it, stuck some cheap Mobil 1 from Wally in it for 4,000 miles and it was just as nasty as the flushed oil. I then started using Amsoil and the first round went nearly 6000 miles and the next went well into 5 digits. Did the same thing on the Z 71 and it was using a quart every 3,000 miles with Pennzoil Ext life crap. It completely quit using oil on the second round of Amsoil and hasn’t used any since.

    The hilarious part of this is I can tell that to someone who used synthetic once and their engine used oil. Typical thing to have happen……the first round. Then never use another quart…..ever. I’ve done it on several vehicles but most people my age just say “I’ll stick with XYZ(some conventional brand).

    Some people have offered Amsoil lies on its tests of other oils but they’ve been in court many times for idiotic suits. Mobil once advertised Mobil 1 was the best oil you could buy. I was watching a race at the time and wondered when that had changed. It hadn’t and Amsoil sued them and they had to stop saying it. A couple years ago Amsoil tested a new oil that outperformed theirs and they published it. I didn’t remember the name but am certain the information is on their website. I didn’t change though. See how that works? Just like those others that won’t try Amsoil. I have a good relationship with Amsoil and that helps a lot.

  2. I would suggest any trim pieces, or interior pieces that are particular to the car. Headlight lenses, taillight lenses, door mirrors, power window switches, a replacement factory radio, that type of stuff. The mechanicals typically go across lots of car platforms, especially with a “regular” car (like your GM vs an exotic import). You can basically run it till the body gives out. Rust is your enemy.


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