Reader Question: The Perfect Engine?

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

Samantha writes: Electric motors are the perfect engines and maintenance free. Even if there are some liquids to replace, you can do it without paying some chimpanzees to trash your car.

From your recent article:

“In addition to being fleeced, you’re forced to let someone you don’t know and likely have no interest in knowing paw your car with his greasy mitts, maybe not-quite-tighten your gas cap (triggering the “check engine” light to illuminate and requiring an OBD scan tool to un-illuminate) while also probably spilling gasoline on your paint.”

That’s better than having some chimpanzees replace your cam belt,paying for a service representative in a suit who fails to pass on your request that they do not wash your car and then they leave semi-circular scratches all the way down your bonnet. And when you get home you find the coolant level is low because the chimpanzees haven’t put the radiator back together properly. I’m still looking for where the leak is, wondering if one day, the engine will go bang or something comes loose.

The last time I had the cam belt changed I got it back with the engine sounding like a bag of nails. Both times were at the Dealer garage. These “highly trained engineers” are the otherwise long-term unemployable, with no experience, who have been on A SINGLE training course and who all graduated from the university of couldn’t give a rats ass. I bought a new set of tires and told the teenage dimwit there was only 5mm between the calipers and the wheel rim. It didn’t penetrate. Driving off, I heard the grind and had to take it back. The other teenager gave him a telling off. As soon as battery powered cars become viable or hydrogen infrastructure is useable, I’m switching to a car where the electric motor is maintenance free rather than paying for a bunch of chimpanzees to trash my car.

My reply: I understand your frustration; however, electric cars – as distinct from just the electric motors which propel them – are not maintenance-free. In the first place, you still have wear components such as brakes and suspension, neither fundamentally different than a non-EV’s and – unless you do the work yourself – still means having to pay a “monkey” to do it.

EVs also have different maintenance requirements, such as the systems which maintain the battery temperature (cooling and heating) and these systems aren’t simple and are often very difficult for the average person to service.

And there is no reason to believe the incompetence and indifference you describe will be absent from EV “service.”


There are other things to take into account, too – such as having your home’s wiring set up for the “fast” charger (and paying for it). The much higher risk of a fire resulting from a short circuit or the aging of the battery pack.

Add to this the cost of the EV itself – which is at least twice that of an otherwise similar A to B economy compact. And then the cost of your time, organizing your life around recharging sessions.

You’re still much better off with a non-electric car – and a competent mechanic.

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I”m wondering how you can change the distance between a caliper and wheel just by changing the wheel and a fifth of an inch is similar to the person who drank of fifth of white lightning to make that the distance between a wheel and caliper.

    ” Even if there are some liquids to replace, you can do it without paying some chimpanzees to trash your car.” No truer words have been spoken. If the coolant on your Tesla leaks, you’ll think you had a team of brain surgeons working on it when you get the bill.

    As far as having a timing belt replaced, that’s all on you. There would be no “timing belts” had they waited for me to buy a vehicle with such. I recall back in the 80’s when you first saw these things, I was as shocked somebody would buy a car with such as the fact that some half-ass company made a car with such.

    Even my parents worried they’d end up with a car with a timing belt. I just said “Don’t worry, you don’t buy those kind of cars”.

    • I missed that part because I got so tired of reading the bullshit.

      But who knew that electric cars don’t have wheels or calipers or any of that other dumb stuff that needs to be maintained ????

      BTW, even our stupid little four-banger FWD car has gear driven camshafts. I’ve cussed that car for years now, but in spite of all the crappy stuff the engine has only had one very small issue in 14 years and 120K miles. At this point, I expect to eventually pull the engine out of the worn out car and use it to run a sawmill or something …

  2. Sure someone read her comment and thought racist when reading the word “Chimp”

    Electric cars aren’t the future, not by a long shot

  3. You missed the most important part: an electric motor is NOT an “engine.”

    An electric motor is simply an “actuator” driven by some sort of transferred energy, much like a hydraulic cylinder or hydraulic motor, or an actuator driven by compressed air. An “engine” takes some sort of fuel and converts it to useful motive power, either directly through gears and shafts or through generating electricity or hydraulic pressure.

    Maybe a twisted rubber band is “the perfect engine” ????


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