Saturday, October 22, 2022

Families Shocked When Engine Replacement For Car Tops $10,000

Cars can be expensive to repair!
ONTARIO, CANADA - Some automobile owners, especially those with older models, have been shocked to find out how much it costs to replace their engines.

“I don't understand why they make the engine so expensive when you have to change it," Scarborough resident Karen Dolt said, who owns a 2018 KIA Soul.

Dolt’s SUV came with a warranty for the engine that covers 160,000 km, or eight years, whichever comes first.

Dolt said this year their vehicle clocked in more than 170,000 kilometres, which put them outside the warranty period when the engine failed.

When the engine wouldn't start, Dolt took it to her local dealership and was told it needed an engine replacement. With the new engine, labour and taxes, she said it would cost about $13,000.

Even though the vehicle was outside the warranty period, KIA agreed to pay for half the cost of a replacement engine.

“They won't fully cover the cost. They say the best they can do is half and half – I pay 50 per cent and they pay 50 per cent," said Dolt.

Kevin Klewlus of St. Catharines, Ont. bought a used 2011 Lincoln MKZ hybrid four years ago, and when the engine seized he was shocked to be told to replace it; with labour and taxes, it would cost about $10,000.

“At the dealership, he looked it up online and said you’re not going to like this. It was about $10,000 for the engine, plus labour and taxes,” he said.

Klewlus felt it’s not worth it to invest $10,000 in a car that is now over ten years old.

“I just wasn't expecting that kind of price to replace the engine,” he said.

At the University of Toronto Vehicle Research Centre, Director Olivier Obvious said complete engine failure is rare, and should not deter anyone from buying an automobile, as it is normal to have some engines fail when a product is mass produced.

Obvious adds the automotive engines being manufactured now are far superior to engines that were made a decade ago.

However, Obvious does say anyone considering a used car. or has an aging one, has to take into consideration the age of the engine and whether or not it is still under warranty.

“Those very unfortunate owners of cars that have to have their engines replaced, yes it will be very expensive. It all comes down to whether the degradation of the engine is within the warranty clause or not."

In Dolt’s case, she decided not to go ahead with the engine replacement and returned the car to her finance company. Dolt said she had been told by the company that it will be auctioned off, and she may be responsible for any difference owing.

CTV News Toronto reached out to KIA Canada regarding Dolt’s case, and a spokesperson said: “Kia Canada’s files indicate that on July 7, 2022, a Kia Canada Support Technician formally requested from the dealership, a copy of the results of its inspection and resulting diagnosis from the inspection of Ms. Dolt’s vehicle. Unfortunately, a response was not received from the dealership, indicating that the issue of disrepair had been resolved by the dealership, without the need [for] intervention by Kia Canada.”

“It is now apparent that Ms. Dolt's vehicle was not repaired. Further, we are advised that Ms. Dolt has relinquished the vehicle. Unfortunately, without access to the vehicle, Kia Canada is unable to comment on the diagnosis of the vehicle or status of the engine at the time of alleged failure.”

(c) 2022 Fun with Cut-n-Paste, Inc.
OK, so that was over the top.  But it illustrates how stupid this article from Canada is.  People think that replacing "the battery" in an electric vehicle is like replacing the batteries in their flashlight or the 12V battery in a conventional car.  wHy shOulD iT CoSt sO MuCh?

Well, here's the deal:  In an electric car, the battery is pretty much the whole car, just as an internal combustion engine is pretty much the whole car in a conventional vehicle.  You seize your engine after 150,000 miles, you have to think long and hard about whether to replace it or just junk the car and start over.

Sure, batteries are expensive.  So are engines and transmissions - and if either breaks, it pretty much junks any high-mileage cars.  Auction wholesale sites are full of "luxury" SUVs from Volvo, BMW, and Mercedes, with about 100K on the clock, but with the notation, "bad engine" or "bad transmission" - and they are sold for only a few thousand, if that.  When these things break, it costs more than the car is worth to fix.   This is not some unique problem to EVs - conventional cars have had it since the beginning.

Like with batteries, how long an IC engine lasts depends on how you treat it.  If you don't change the oil regularly, it won't last as long.  If you let it overheat, the heads will warp or the engine will seize.   If you beat the crap out of it doing donuts all day long, you can crap it out in a day.  Lithium-Ion batteries have similar issues.  If you run them down to zero many times, you may shorten their lifespan.  And even though they last a good long time, every battery has a lifespan.  Five years for the KIA Soul EV (which had a paltry 80-mile range) is inexcusable.  But 170K Km is a pretty good mileage to get out of an EV.  Ten years for a Lincoln Hybrid is more in line with the expected life expectancy of any vehicle.

Yes, cars are designed to run about 10 years and 150K miles or so.  Some go longer, some go less.  It depends on the laws of probability as well as how they are treated.  If you get mileage beyond that, consider yourself living on borrowed time.
Today's engines are pretty expensive to replace. The "Ecoboost" engine in my F150, with twin turbochargers, variable valve timing, direct injection, and a host of other goodies to squeeze every mile out of the last drop of fuel, can run as much as $10,000 to replace.

Yes, that is a lot less than $20,000 for an EV battery, but then again, the F150 is the most popular vehicle in America - they made millions of them.  And quite frankly, if I had 150,000 miles on my F150, and the engine seized, I would look to a junkyard for a replacement.   Plenty made, so plenty get wrecked and plenty of used engines available.

And yes, they pull batteries out of wrecked EVs as well - and sell them for a lot cheaper than the brand-new dealer price for one.  But the article doesn't touch on that.  And apparently neither of the whopping two people profiled bothered to check indepedent mechanics or junkyard replacements.

Dumber still, the lady profiled in the article doesn't bother to contact KIA Canada to appeal the decision by the zone office (offering only 50% of the replacement costs).  Instead, she hands over the keys to the finance company, who will bend her over for the difference.  How many years was that car loan, anyway?  Or did she buy it used?   Odds are, KIA Canada might have covered the whole cost (or at least more of it) if it was out of warranty by only 10K kilometers.  By the way 170K Km is a lot for a five-year-old hybrid!

One wonders if the problem wasn't apparent 10,000 Km ago - these sort of failures are not sudden, usually.

What irks me about this article is that it is just EV FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.  I see this all the time online from trolls paid by the oil industry.  Since the Russian trolls are being scrubbed from most sites, they are more noticeable now.  One troll confidently predicts that EV batteries "only last a few years!" while some EVs and hybrids have been on the road now for hundreds of thousands of miles and over a decade with their original batteries.

It is like the latest episode of "Hoovies Garage" (which DOES NOT have a clickbait title at all!) about the Ford "Lightning" EV truck.  Hoovie is some rich kid whose Dad bought him a chain of taco stands, and now he hangs out in his mini-mansion-in-a-cornfield in some godforsaken flyover state and talks about his collection of fright pigs.  He intentionally sets out to buy, for example, the cheapest Ferrari on the market, with predictable results.  All his cars are high-mileage "drivers" that have a plethora of problems, but look cool in his garage.  And the guy can't turn a wrench or even replace a light bulb.

Worse yet, he is a car abuser.

So in his latest episode, he buys a brand-new "Lightning" and orders it with the smallest battery pack possible, which yields a pretty pathetic range to begin with (250 miles).  And of course, he drives it (and all his other cars) like a jerk - he seems to think that at every stoplight you have to burn rubber.  Watching him torture a vintage Jaguar XKE this way made me cringe - and vow to never watch his channel again.  They guy's an entitled know-nothing jerk.

He buys this low-range truck, charges it not all the way up and then puts a trailer behind it - punches the accelerator and then complains that the range isn't high enough.  It's just more EV FUD.

Like I said, I met a guy with a Tesla Model X towing a travel trailer and he was easily getting 150 miles per charge out of it - with a lot heavier trailer that was shaped like a box.   And since most campgrounds have 50A 220V service, it wasn't hard to recharge it in a matter of hours, when he stopped for the night.  But then again, he bought the extended-range battery pack.  He also adjusted his driving habits to suit that of the EV.

It reminds me of that case, a few years ago, where some lady bought a Honda hybrid and complained it would not get 50 MPG and went to small claims court to contest this.  Mileage depends on how you drive, and with hybrid cars, the whole point is to slow down before you hit that red light, so regenerative charging can recapture that kinetic energy and use it to recharge the batteries.  If you wait until you hit the crosswalk and use the service brakes to stop (converting that kinetic energy to heat and brake dust) your mileage will suck.

And if you did not understand that last paragraph, you have no business owning a hybrid or an EV and quite frankly, should not be driving any car at all.  Just sit at home and wait for Mr. Musk to send you a robotic Uber to take you into town.  We have too many shitty drivers on the road already!

But this illustrates the pitfalls of technology, particularly new technology.  We've seen with "social media" how people can be driven insane by conspiracy theories or have their bank accounts looted through phishing and other "social engineering" techniques.   People were just not ready for this and just not expecting it.  Today, we are more aware of these problems, but still, every day, stupid, ignorant, and uninformed people (as well as the elderly with dementia) are suckered in.

The same is true for hardware - particularly cars.  You've seen it on the road - people changing lanes without signaling - or looking!  People with five-year-old cars covered with dents, filthy with debris, and burning oil because they "forgot" (tee-hee!) to change it.   You can lead a horse to water, but with technology, there is little in the way of forgiveness.

Not mentioned in the article is the utter lack of required maintenance in an EV, other than brakes and tires.  No oil changes, no transmission fluid changes, no radiator fluid changes, no starter motors to replace - and so on and so forth.   So while batteries are expensive today - because few EVs are made, and none have a common battery design - there is an offset in reduced regular maintenance expenses, compared to a conventional car.

By the way, the punchline in the article, which is buried in the later paragraphs is this:
Ford of Canada directed Edwardson to work with his dealership on his engine issue, but Edwardson decided not to proceed with paying $20,000 to replace the battery. Edwardson is still able to drive his hybrid vehicle using just gasoline power
In other words, the car still runs and may run for many years more.  It is just that the hybrid feature is degraded.

And who in their right mind drives a Lincoln these days?