Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Big Grey asks: What do you think about replacing the old thermostat device in engines with the new Coolant Control Valve technology? I can tell you these add hundreds of dollars in piece cost and about $5M in tooling to each program. Is it worth the cost and complexity? Thanks.
My reply: Absolutely not . . to the customer/car owner.
But it is worth a great deal to the car companies, in terms of “compliance” with the various federal ukase. The thermal management fine-tuning made possible by using Coolant Control Valve tech aids in terms of managing emissions – achieving minuscule/fractional gains – as well as with regard to slightly/fractionally increasing the fuel efficiency of the engine.
The “gains” are material only in terms of complying with the government’s ukase.
But these come – as you note – at great cost to the customer/car buyer. Not merely in terms of the higher cost of the car, either. Eventually, service/maintenance work will need to be performed and when it becomes necessary, the cost will entail a great deal more cost than the possible need to replace a $12 old-style mechanical thermostat and gasket.
The take-home point here is the same as regards such things as direct injection, transmissions with 2-3 overdrive gears and automatic stop/start technology. They are of little real value to the customer/car buyer but foisted upon him by car companies for the sake of regulatory compliance.
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