How the Government “Saves” You Money

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Brakes jobs tend to cost more nowadays because certain critical brake parts – the rotors – are becoming throwaway parts. The why is interesting.

Car companies are forced by the government to “save” you money – as the government styles it – by issuing regulatory fatwas requiring that all new cars achieve ever-higher fuel economy numbers. But there is a hidden cost to this – and guess who pays for that?

It isn’t the government.

You – the owner of the government-mandated “fuel efficient” car – get to pay for things like light-weight but disposable brake rotors that are too thin to be turned, or machined to true – necessary for proper operation of the brakes.

Turning entails the use of a special lathe to  shave off a little of the metal surface of the rotor to bring it back to flat and good as new. This was common practice before the government got into the business of “saving” car buyers money by ordering new cars to be made ever-more-efficient. Which prompted the car companies to shave weight off the car by using thinner/lighter rotors.

The old steel rotors were heavier – because they were thicker and thus, sturdier. For this reason, they could often be turned several times, thus increasing their useful service life and costing you less each time your car needed brake work.

Machining being generally less expensive than the $60-plus it costs for each of the four new replacement rotors your car may need the next time it needs brake work.

Thicker rotors were also less vulnerable to warping, either from heat or from over-tightening – as via an air gun during a government-mandated “safety” inspection. Most shops are in a hurry and don’t take the time to remove or install lug nuts – which hold the wheel to the hub via studs that are pressed into the rotors – by hand, using a torque wrench to reinstall them without risking over-tightening them. This often results in too much clamping force applied to the rotors, which become out-of-round as a result and have to be turned to get them back to true – if you don’t like the feeling of your brake pedal pulsating under your foot or the car pulling left or right when you apply the brakes.

But if the damaged rotor(s) can’t be turned, they have to be tossed. Guess whop gets to pay for that?

If it were only throwaway rotors, it might not be so bad – or rather, so expensive – to “save” on gas.

Unfortunately, the “savings” are riddled throughout all new cars – and the newer, the worser.

Reach under the dash and pop the hood latch of any new car – of any new truck – and then walk around to the front of the car and raise the hood. You’ll be able to do it with one hand. You could probably bend it, with both hands. The hood is so thin it practically waves in the wind, like the flag on the Moon – so as to make it so light – that it can be supported by a flimsy little prop rod. This shaves 30 or 40 pounds off the curb weight of the car, in order to “save” you on gas. But it will cost you dearly if you happen to hit a deer.

Or get hit by another car.

Tinfoil is hard to uncrumple. Plastic that cracks usually has to be tossed. What would have been a fender-bender 30 years ago is now a front-end replacer. The hood and fenders serve a cosmetic purpose, primarily. That and keeping the rain off the car’s engine and other such. But they are almost no better than Reynolds Wrap as far as serving any structural purpose.

Speaking of which. . .

Another method by which the car companies have sought to shave weight off new vehicles is by using aluminum rather than steel  for wheels, which are much more easily damaged and cost much more to replace – but they “save” weight and you get to pay for it.

Aluminum is even being used for truck bodies, as in the case of the current Ford F-150. Which is substantially lighter – by several hundred pounds – than the steel-bodied version of the same thing. Just as cast aluminum engines are also much lighter than engine blocks made of cast iron.

But you’ll pay a hidden cost for such “savings.”

Aluminum is light – and strong. But it is also more easily dented than steel. This is a particular issue for truck buyers, who often throw or load heavy things in the bed of a truck or inadvertently back into something, denting the tailgate. Steel can be unbent (and welded) much more readily than bent or torn aluminum, which takes special equipment, facilities and expertise.

Government doesn’t pay for that.

You do.

Even if you don’t bend or tear your aluminum-bodied vehicle, the fact of the potential expense of repairing it will be reflected in what you pay to insure it. And these costs are also spread across the pool of insured, generally – who all get to pay extra for the cost of fixing more easily damaged and harder to repair aluminum-bodied vehicles. You may pay directly, too – to get fixed what you used to be able to fix, yourself – perhaps with a come-along and a sturdy oak tree.

For free.

Aluminum engines, meanwhile, have to be re-sleeved in order to be re-used. If you can re-sleeve them. The old cast iron blocks weighed twice as much, but they could be easily re-bored and re-used, often several times.

The drywall paste icing on top of the sawdust cake is that the “savings” on gas aren’t even much, if they are they are there at all. The aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 with its aluminum (and twice-turbocharged) 2.7 liter V6 engine, paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission that has three overdrive ratios (8th, 9th and 10th gear) to cut engine revs to the bare sustainable minimum, in order to “save” gas – carries an EPA rating of 20 MPG in city driving and 26 MPG on the highway.

A steel-bodied, V8-powered 2000 F-150 with a four speed automatic and one overdrive gear rated 13 city, 17 highway, costing you about 7 MPG all around vs. what you “save” when you buy the new, government-mandated version, which also costs almost $35k to buy so equipped vs. closer to $25k as equipped, back then.

You decide whether that’s a bargain.

. . .

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  1. A question about governments screwing up things – gas is more in the US today, and many are talking about it being due to the Senile president you have. But what has he done – I understand the last tax increase was thanks to the Orange one who added a 25p tax per gallon or something… am I missing something? (or is it just the media sentiment thats being created where everything is being blamed on biden so people dont mind much when hes 25th / suicided / mysteriously dies in his sleep)

    • Hi Nasir,

      The Orange Fail didn’t increase federal gas taxes; the price of gas is up due to factors such as inflation and the closure of pipelines and the cancellation of leases by the government on areas that oil is extracted from. Under the Orange Fail, America had become largely energy independent an pump prices were at their lowest inflation-adjusted level in decades.

      • Oh – interesting. I mean you never hear of this cancellation of leases on oil exploration areas (at least out here). Yes i guess if theres an expected reduction in supply it would put an upward pressure on fuel prices….

  2. Interesting you should say that, Douglas.
    Evidently there is a “cult” of old VW transporter enthusiasts. I saw some pics online awhile back of a *big* meetup in Long Beach. Some sweet looking old German iron, stock & custom.

    For anyone interested, there is a company right here in Corona CA which specializes in old VW parts.

    Corona is also home to Saleen,
    and Tom Day’s car collection.
    Riverside Raceway, and Ontario Motor Speedway, are gone, but the SoCal car culture lives on.

    Steve McQueen Car Show:
    is just up the road, in Chino, first weekend in October.
    I’ve been told there will be two Ford GT40s on display this year.

    Never been, but planning to go.

    And, of course, NHRA Winternationals are at the LA County Fairgrounds, just across the valley innnnn Pomonaaaaaa!

  3. I was also told by a Safelite Auto Glass Repair Service Tech that the windshields are also a lot thinner to help save on weight.

    When I complained how I was getting more rock chips than before he then let me in on the little industry wide secret. Great for the Auto Glass Repair industry. Not so much for the Auto Insurance Industry. Since in my state auto glass replacement has to be fully covered by comprehensive insurance. To encourage people to get their auto glass replaced when cracked. But, obviously only if they have comp/collision.

    I heard the insurance cabal was lobbying the legislature to add a deductible for the auto glass replacement but have yet to see it show up in my insurance policy.

    Just one more way to squeeze the little guy.

    • Hi Corn Pop,

      Yup – and it’s actually worse than that. Almost all new car windshields have embedded/integrated electronic tech that has massively increased the cost of replacement. What was once a $75 or $150 deal can now cost south of $500.

      • Hmm…imbedded electronic tech…in a piece of LAMINATED GLASS. What’s that the result of, Preston Tucker on a “bender”?

        W/O doubt, you’ve heard the story of how NASA spent quite a few dollars to develop an ink pen that’d work in zero-gee…the Soviet answer? PENCIL. Now, it’s not as if the NASA boys weren’t aware of that “solution”, but they deemed it infeasible for space flight, due to working in a PURE Oxygen atmosphere. Now, anyone that’s ever welded can tell you what happens when you introduce enriched O2 into a combustible environment (doesn’t actually affect flammability all that much, and we’d hoe the interior of a spacecraft has the VOCs under control)…and on January 27th, 1967, astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Roger Chafee, and Edgar White found that out…TOO LATE. The whole “pen v. pencil” thing had been driven by a dumb-assed decision to pressurize the space craft with pure O2, and how in the hell these sorts of disasters hadn’t already occurred in the Mercury and Gemini series of flights is a thankful mystery.

        Eric, although the “boy” (he’s 37, kinda hard to keep acting as if he were a kid) and I have a decent aftermarket electronic ignition kit for the Plymouth Fury, AND the stock Mopar electronic gear robbed from a ’74 Newport with a 360 LA engine, I’ve still insisted on keeping the original Poly engine’s distributor (it’s fine, about the ONLY thing usable from that ‘boat anchor’) and three sets of…IGNITION POINTS (along with matching condensers). Still have my point file, and that Sears dwell-tach I got as a birthday present while he was in utereo, STILL working, to tune that thing if need ever be.

  4. Son hit a small deer in his 07 Galant.

    Cost to fix was the price of the car, mostly due to their special emissions radiator ($1500)

    But due to the body shop not knowing this, the whole thing was covered by insurance.
    Got lucky, but there’s no way a small deer should total a mid size car.

    Everything in the front end was so thin, which I already knew, but to see how weak was an eye opener.

    • Hi Dan,

      Yup. I’ve told this story before, but it’s worth regular re-telling:

      I currently own a 2002 Nissan Frontier. I used to own a ’98, which was essentially the same truck except the ’98 had an exposed steel/chrome-plated bumper and old-school glass sealed beam headlights. The ’02 has a plastic front “fascia” and plastic headlight assemblies.

      I hit a deer with both trucks, head on.

      The damage done to the ’98 was far less. The exposed bumper was pushed in a bit but easily pulled back into place with a come-along. I had to replace one of the two headlights, which cost about $25.

      When I hit a deer with the ’02, it sheared off the front clip, which had to be replaced in toto, along with a $125 “headlight assembly” from Nissan. The new cover of course had to be painted and could not be installed with a come-along. I was out of pocket about $2,200 (my policy as regards the insurance mafia is the same as it is with regard to cops – never call them as there is no situation that doing so won’t make worse).

      • Likely, though, about four years of SAVED premiums by not including anything above what the State of VA (mine, being CA, is of “confusion”) requires, paid back that $2,200 you had to spend to get the 2002 Frontier back to where it was before you hit that deer. Damned animal, anyway, didn’t he “learn” the FIRST time? Serve him right to make deer steak and venison jerky out of him!

        Seriously, it’s well to (1) be in a position to self-insure your rides, as loss from collision, while with driving habits we do our best to AVOID them in the first place, is a RISK one runs from “happy motoring”. The occasional deer, or even a befuddled old lady or pant-wetting teenaged, is far less of a RISK than an AGW…who has the ability to IMPOUND your ride, intact as it otherwise may be. Hint: if you drive into Mega City, just pray you don’t get Judge Joseph Dredd…or your ride may be rendered a heap of flaming wreckage, as he bids you “happy motoring”, LoL…

  5. Enjoyed the article, Eric, as usual. Didn’t expect the LOL moment. Much appreciated. “The hood is so thin it practically waves in the wind, like the flag on the Moon”. For me, the clincher was that there are no craters, no disturbance of the “Moon dust” at all, under the rocket nozzles of the Lunar Landers in NASA’s own pictures.

    Same (((group))) who lied about that is lying about the “virus” and is deliberately mismanaging government in every way against us.

    I appreciate your combo of cars and truth.

  6. Well, as evidenced by mandatory vaccines, corporations can do whatever they want, right? No need to worry about these silly regulations, then. Just build and sell whatever cars your heart might desire. Seat belts? Air bags? Optional. Miles per gallon? Doesn’t matter. Onboard weapons systems? Absolutely! Sounds grand.

  7. Have driven my truck 150,000 plus a few hundred miles more, listen for the wear guard now and then, can’t hear it yet.

    You don’t have to use your brakes going down a hill at 40 mph, just coast, then brake if needed.

    Lots of road miles, the rotors are still shiny. You have to get on the ground and look at the inside of the rotor just to be sure.

    Always have experienced guidance when replacing rotors and pads, buy the more costly parts, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

    Don’t do it on your own unless you know how and have a torque wrench. The calipers need to be set to the original position.

    I have done it in the past, but these days, the job can be done by qualified mechanics at a certified tech shop.

    Your friend the mechanic, in other words. Up on a lift at work height, all the tools there for you, done deal.

    Saves time and a lot of frustration, cussing all expletives and ending up with bloody knuckles can be avoided.

    • If I have to get on my brakes while driving two lane blacktop, and I’m not turning off or stopping at an intersection, I consider it a driving error. Either mine or someone else’s. Look as far ahead as you can. If your approaching a slower vehicle, let off the throttle. Brakes are NOT a speed adjusting instrument. I realize that late model cars have little engine breaking since they are geared so high, which is a major reason I don’t own one. I traded of an 06 Mazda Miata with 90k plus miles on it. Still had over half the original brakes.

  8. Went to a car show Saturday afternoon. It was filled with classic American made gas guzzlin’, shade tree mechanic fixin’, tons of steel carefully crafted into unique & practical works of art. My BIL is fixated on old square body GM trucks & he had plenty to salivate over. Then we got into my 2021 Kia Sportage which looks exactly like every other crossover on the road & went home. Sigh.

    • I’m very sad that unique cars are no longer possible. Right now, we have a regulatory “envelope” which constrains the shape of cars, and designers must design within this envelope, so that’s why car doors are all so tall, windows so small, trunks so high, hoods so blunt. Cars must roll over a lot, because all the pillars are super thick. Visibility now sucks, so cameras are mandated. Body colored, expensive bumpers hide very fragile crash structures, and dashes and seats are massive and bulky due to tons of mandated airbags.

      Think of some really iconic cars; VW Beetles, Pontiac GTO’s, Chevy Bel Airs, or some newer, fun cars – Mazda RX7, Honda S200, Lotus Elise – none of these can ever be built again. A car that a person can afford working a summer job no longer exists either.

      It’s invisible how regulation, in tandem with inflation, makes us poorer, but this is the result of 40 years of monetary and regulatory bullshit. The press blames the greedy car companies, and the greedy oil companies, but the culprit is clear to me.

      • ‘None of these can ever be built again. A car that a person can afford working a summer job no longer exists either.’ — OppositeLock

        This is pure poetry: a Remembrance of Things Past for our own time.

        Thank you.

      • If you have a ’66 GTO, you can do whatever the eff you want with it in California. No smog check for anything older than 1975.
        Built engine? Dual quads? Headers? Different gear ratios?
        Knock yourself out. There is nothing CARB, or AQMD, can do about it.

    • The govt has basically taken the nascar model to the road without the speed, handling or noise. They practicality hand out the templates each manufacturer has to follow along with all the other restrictions. Occassionally you get someone like vw trying to flout the rules but for the most part all cars are becoming identical. At the rate its going why have different names and emblems on esentially the same car? Lets just call it a zil and get it over with.

  9. Forgot about the “Teflon” coating on the inside of cylinder walls, vs steel sleeves. No reboring of that. That is quite a bummer.

    • They’ve been doing coatings/platings on motorcycle cylinders for a long time. It’s called nikasil coating/plating. Except you don’t ‘bore’ it anymore when worn, you just re-nikasil it back to spec. Not sure if car engines are doing the same now, but I wouldn’t be surprised per your comment.

      • The steel cylinder sleeves on the Ford four-banger engines (used in the Ford Focus and Fusion, for example) are pressed in with a special process, being that they’re wafer-thin, that there’s no rebuild shop that can do anything more than hone away light scratches in a rebuild. As a practical matter, the engine is a “throwaway”, which, usually by the time the engine would need a rebuild, the rest of the vehicle is anyway.

        This isn’t necessarily bad, though. You could likely get 150K miles, easily, out of that Ford Focus or Fusion, which means 8 to 10 years. Compare it, with say, a 1949 Ford Custom, which my Dad bought as his first car (he’d been given a 1938 Packard by his grandmother, and he sold it to a college classmate, if only he’d known…) as a two year old. It had the Flathead V8, the 239 cube size, I think, which was fairly common (there was also a flathead six available, which was typically for pickups or fleet versions of the Ford coupe, the “salesman’s car”). After owning it a few years, it had about 45K miles on it, and began to smoke a tad, so to a local garage owned by the father of another classmate the car went for an “overhaul”, which took a day, and cost the whopping sum of…135 dollars. Not an insignificant sum in 1953, though! This bought a few more years of reliable driving, but by 1955, when Dad had graduated from Fresno State, and, having completed AFROTC, was going into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant, and was engaged to my mother, so he sold the ’49 and used the proceeds for a down payment on a brand-spanking new ’55 Ford (IDK which model, the pictures I’ve seen of it show a two-door, two-toned car, like zillions of other American iron coming out of Detroit in those days). As Dad relates it, they’d owned the Ford for a few years, by which time he was a 1st Lt, my older Sis was a toddler, and I was “in the oven”, and they took it to a local garage in Lake Charles, LA, where he’d just be transferred to. He expected, since the car had about 35,000 miles, to at least have a “valve job” done, and the mechanic performed a compression test and said the engine was fine. The mechanic explained that “overhauls” would soon be a thing of the past, as the newer engines, in order to hold up and deliver the power that motorists expected, had to be made better anyway. Sure enough, they had that Ford until Dad got his orders to go to Japan in ’63, at which point they gave it to my mother’s younger brother, who was 19 at the time and looking to go into the Army himself.

        • IIRC, the engine case on the old VW beetles & transporters was magnesium (anyone here confirm?). The finned cylinder “jugs” were throwaways. The “hot setup,” of course, involved getting the case halves machined to accept larger (aftermarket) jugs, with corresponding oversize pistons. It was thus possible to increase engine displacement significantly, from say, 1200-1300 cc to 2200 cc or more, even using stock crankshaft and main bearings. IIRC, 88mm (3.5″) pistons were among he most common oversizes. I do not remember the stock compression ratio, but the engines ran on regular gasoline. Among the most common uses for “built” VW engines were Baja bugs (may still be), which meant they had to be reliable, easy to repair, and operable on possibly low quality fuel. Air cooling was desirable, because less to go wrong. Biggest problem was the stock oil cooler, which resided inside the engine shroud, and directed heated air onto the valves for #3 & #4 cylinders. Burnt valves on these cylinders were a given, until the stock oil cooler was replaced by an aftermarket unit located outside the shroud, which solved the valve overheating problem.

          Overall, the 1950s-1960s VW engines were cheap to buy, uncomplicated, thus easy to understand, service and repair, and cheap to hot rod. Lots of fun for little money. Truly the peoples’ car, IMO. Of course, they did have their shortcomings, but nothing is ever perfect. 🙂

          • You COULD have the “jugs” bored out if they were too badly worn (more than .005″ taper, out-of-round, or beyond allowable spec for re-ring kit) and use oversized pistons, but often, especially if the pistons were in good shape, the best solution was to trade in the jugs as a core, where the engine rebuilder would just bore and hone them to the next oversize, and you’d start with a fresh set.

            The trick to avoiding burnt valves on #3 and #4 cylinder was to adjust them about .004″ loose, the engine would clatter a bit, but, hell, it was a BEETLE.

            The key to keeping your Vee-Dub alive was to watch that fan belt, and many shade tree mechanics kept a spare on hand at all times. Also change that oil frequently, as it was likewise vital to keep the engine cool.

            Ferdy Porsche designed the VW engine to be simple to remove and service. The intent was, it being the “Strength Through Joy” car, was to train boys to wrench the thing, so most maintenance tasks didn’t require too extensive mechanical skills. This ran counter to the way the “Goimans” typically built things, often over-engineered, expensive, and requiring a great deal of education and training to maintain. The US Army Proving Grounds at Aberdeen, MD, evaluated captured VW sedans and “Kubelwagens”, and compared them to the common US Army Jeep. Although the Jeep’s engine was almost twice as powerful and it could tow more than the German vehicle, the Kubelwagen had far less tendency to overturn, handled easier, was less prone to getting stuck in mud and snow, and went further on gasoline. Post-war, serious consideration was given to producing these vehicles in the USA, the design being considered a “war prize”, but given how many Jeeps were now surplus, plus the challenges in conversion to SAE fasteners and sizes, the project was quickly shelved.

            • The Kubelwagen, or its linear descendent, was eventually sold in U.S. by VW, named “The Thing,” as I am sure you know.

              >over-engineered, expensive, and requiring a great deal of education and training to maintain.
              See, especially, German armor.
              Also, heavy.

              >burnt valves on #3 and #4
              I owned a 1960 transporter, single cab pickup (fold down bed sides) which had a 1300cc (1966) engine when I bought it. Seriously underpowered, it had been christened “the Worm” by its previous owner.

              I could have the engine out of the chassis in 15-20 minutes, which needed to happen all too often until I solved the valve overheating problem with a Hayden external (outside the shroud) oil cooler and side air scoops.

              Memories. 🙂
              Always park @ top of hill – push start is easy, in that case. I never changed over from 6 volt to 12 volt. The “German 88s,” so to speak, did very well with the stock Solex, even with a higher lift, longer duration cam. No fancy Webers for me, thank you.

              I only junked it when most of the soft plugs in the engine case failed, all at once. Managed to drive it to to the salvage yard, even got a few bucks for it.
              Lotsa fun while it lasted, but time to move on.

              • If only you’d stuck a rebuilt engine in that bus…but we all have our versions of “woulda, coulda, shoulda”…

      • My 2007 Lotus Elise has a Toyota Celica GT-S engine with Nikasil coating. That stuff is durable and lasts several sets of pistons. I track my car a lot, over 15,000 miles on track, and two full engine rebuilds. The cylinder walls have been perfect, all I had to do was replace piston rings, since they wear down, not the cylinder walls. It works pretty dang well. What it won’t save you from is a failure of some kind, blown head gasket that ruins a cylinder wall, for instance, in that case, it’s cheaper to get a new block.

        • Same experience for me with dirtbikes, 2-stroke. Our service window is low though. manuf. say about 50-100hrs for new piston and rings, and they are usually right. It’s all about dirt/water getting in or not. If I’m good and do good air filter changes with the best oil, never submerge it, etc… I have taken my top end apart at 100hrs and it still looks practically new.
          I’ve had some very good 4-stroke engines go 200hr+ and inspect piston and it looks very good.
          ps: don’t ever try to start a submerged bike, it will be toast. water has dirt in it. dirt is like tiny little rocks.
          Our re-nikasil costs are about $200-300 depending on damage done.
          I’ve seen owners go 3-4 pistons, then the nikasil gets thin and can crack/chip with catastrophic failure.

  10. Really amazing how thin the metal is these days. One day I was loading up the roof carrier. To make it a little easier I leaned the step ladder against the door. After I was done I discovered two small dents where I placed the ladder on the door. My guess is the engineer is assuming there will be 2X6 sized side impact bars and airbags in the door, so no need to make the rest of the door strong. Fine if you are in an accident, but not so much if you actually use the vehicle as intended.

    • Highschool buddy of mine had some old (’30s-’40s) abandoned vehicles in a ravine in the ‘back 24’. We were shooting clay birds & goofing off and I had the bright idea to shoot some #4s at one of those old cars. Zero penetration lol.
      Haven’t tried it again on anything ‘late model’…

  11. If the general population ever became aware of what the government actually costs them, the total bill, the US congress would get a working demonstration of what an “insurrection” really looks like, as would several State capitols. We could do twice as well for half the cost, and no infliction of tyranny required. The National Debt is a good place to start, since that’s money they don’t even have. Now pushing 30 trillion. About $100,000 each, plus interest. Any time the government proposes to save you money, what it really means is give it to them.

    • Amen, John –

      I’ve been saying it for years: A man could live a very comfortable life on $30k annually – were it not for the endless taxes and add-on costs “mandated” by government. Most people would be able to retire from having to work at 40-45, if they didn’t have to spend their working lives making up for all the money stolen from them and then having to continue making money just to be able to keep what they have (such as a paid-for house).

      It is both sad and outrageous. More so because most people have no idea how badly they’re being screwed.

      • I think they know. They just have an “it is what it is” attitude and resign themselves to muddle through an obviously rigged game. Each individuals compliance compounds the problem making it harder to escape the vortex of evil.

        • They may know, to a certain extent, but I don’t think they are AWARE. There are many to blame, but public education, along with the withholding tax are two major culprits. If people had to come up with 5-10+ grand at the end of the year they would start becoming quite aware, and probably start looking harder as well. Well, at least those paying income tax might.

          • Most people are so brainwashed that they give Uncle interest free loans via too much withholding, and then act as though it’s a gift from Santa Claus when they get a big refund. “Whoopi I got (some of my own) money back! Can’t fix stupid

      • It’s like a form of SLAVERY…but for “Massa”, even BETTER.

        In the antebellum days, slaves had to be FED, HOUSED, and SUPERVISED. A “massa” that neglected his slaves or failed to properly supervise them could have them seized and sold off to someone else. “Massa” was legally liable for torts committed by his slaves.

        Nowadays, “Massa”, or “Uncle”, by forgoing the notion of formal slavery, even respecting the so-called 13th Amendment, has instituted it in a more subtle and insidious form, via regulation and the tax code. Works out well for “Massa”, b/c he gets even more PROFIT out of it than the former arrangement, with NONE of the drawbacks. Indeed, we don’t simply wear the chain-and-ball, we make it and put in on OURSELVES!

        • They ran right over the top of 13A when conscription was adopted, and then the Civil Rights Act. If forcing one to serve another, regardless of the reason they object, isn’t involuntary servitude, what is?

      • But Eric, without big government, I’ll have too much money and freedom to know what to do with. Could you live with yourself knowing that I’d be living overwhelmed like that?

        I’m glad they take half my money in exchange for the privilege of them telling me what to do.

        • Exactly, Big Daddy!

          Dependence is the prerequisite to servility, which is what the government wants. It is why the government taxes you; the taking of you money is not primarily about enriching the government. It is about impoverishing you!

          • Since the Sociopaths In Charge have clearly indicated they will borrow, as in print, whatever funds they need to do whatever they want, they cannot justify collecting taxes at all. Leaving the purpose of taxation as nothing more nor less than a social engineering tool.

  12. All tradeoffs for sure Eric. But I wouldn’t trade my 20 ram v8 crew for any vehicle I’ve ever owned in 30 years due to the fact it is a swiss army knife for me. Does everything very well that I need and want it to do, unlike any prior vehicle. Even if I have to replace rotors vs cut them, 😉
    In my biz, any equipment under 10hp is now a throwaway. 5-10 years ago it used to be 3-5HP, prior to that only 2hp. What changed? Unfortunately, it’s global (chinna) manufacturing. Costs, relative, for this small equip. has stayed about the same for over 10 years. But USA labor costs have not. Can’t even take apart a 10hp to see what’s wrong before it starts getting close to a new one.
    I’m all for investing in USA manufacturing, and I’ve tried to influence it with global manufacturers, but no one will do it anymore. Even giving the real estate away. We are in trouble over time.
    Biden may be upsetting the apple cart soon with a new buy-US thing that could make things very ugly. I am OK with it, relative, but it could end up ‘costing’ all of us triple for industrial equipment. Why? because we don’t have many foundries left? Why? EPA, etc….

    • That’s not how these people think.

      Why? Because they don’t get enough subsidies. We can’t subsidize that, it’s icky. Let’s jumpstart the modern, “green” version. Who cares that it’s more expensive, less efficient, and unproven? We’ll just throw more money at it, until it becomes the best option. We’re leadin the world! You’ll see in good time. History will vindicate us! You’ll all see! And if that doesn’t work, we’ll subsidize the next big thing! We’re investing in American jobs and America’s future!

    • The trade-off to having to replace rotors as a standard part of a brake job is that they’ve also become cheap enough that it’s no worse than going to the trouble to turn the old rotors, if indeed you can find a machine shop that does that anymore. I’ve seen Bosch, Bendix, and Raybestos kits, with rotors, pad, and new hardware, for cheap enough that it actually makes the brake job practical, as I can knock it out in a couple of hours once I get the kit from Rock Auto.

      • last time I compared price of turning vs. replacement it was $8 more to replace (fronts). IIRC it was a 2010 taurus…

      • Unless you have inboard brakes (e.g. E type Jag) rotors are generally unsprung mass, the saving of which is generally considered to be a good thing, particularly among performance enthusiasts.

        My 1978 FIAT 131 had throwaway rotors, which, along with the rest of the (unibody chassis) car, were quite light, and IIRC, not very expensive. Absent a parts chaser car, schlepping a pair of steel rotors down to the local automotive machine shop to see if there is enough metal left to turn them one more time can be decidedly NF. Even less fun when the machine shop guy tell you the rotors are too worn, and cannot legally be turned. 🙁

        Everything in life is a tradeoff, is all I am saying…TANSTAAFL.

      • Once upon a time, many mechanic’s shops had a rotor turning service in house. Cheaper to buy the machine than pay a mechanic to drive them across town, and then go back to get them. Once the machine pays for itself, rotor turning is nearly free money.

  13. So the first question i would have is can you replace those thin aluminum rotors with thicker heavier steel rotors in the aftermarket world or have all the suppliers jumped head first i to the scam as well? I realize there is nothing that can be done about those aluminum bodies except bend over and take it or in the F-150 world buy a pre 2014 truck because those all still had the steel bodies.

    • All mainstream brand disc brake rotors are and have always been machined cast iron. They’re just designed with less material now for lower weight and cheaper cost.

      So there’s no real aftermarket solution aside from an entirely different larger aftermarket caliper/rotor setup that could still fit inside your wheels.

      FWIW around here in the salt belt, and now with that liquid saline death they spray everywhere, my rotors have always rusted out before wearing out so machining was never really a thing here.

    • Don’t give the “bass-tuhds” any “Ideers!” Likely it’d not be the lathe they’d get you on, but the “hazardous” waste posed by casual cleaning (giving it the once-over with the air hose) and spewing those “carcinogens” into the environment, sans LICENSE. Many municipalities are doing their utmost to do away with the shade tree mechanic, due to “code enforcement”, citing “hazardous materials” as the cause.

      • Speaking of which, how do you get rid of antifreeze? I found some ancient jugs when cleaning out my Dad’s farm sheds, and unlike used crankcase oil, nobody will take it. I’ve been feeding some to the groundhogs that want to make their home under my shop.

        • Re: antifreeze
          I leave the used stuff in a carriage or next to the bin where I bought the fresh fluid. All these corps have protocols for hazmat disposal. They need to for spills and damages. It won’t get dumped in the drain. Fuckem.


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