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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Oversight or purposeful design flaw?
Ann R. Thryft   11/23/2011 11:55:17 AM

The writer mentions a 2008 Malibu, but the models from the 60s and 70s were the real beauties. I remember them fondly. They were made in an era when it was still possible to fix a lot of things in one's car, before so much of the controls became electronic.

I've also have trouble fixing things under the hood in my 1996 Sentra, and outside it, including headlamps. Under the hood, the main problem seems to be that starting in the 80s, everything has gotten jammed together to make the entire envelope smaller. That gives the mechanic less room to move and makes it a lot harder to find things. I routinely have to tell my shop mechanic where the tranny dip stick is located, since its knob is buried half way down into the engine compartment and "helpfully" colored black.

DFERAM (design for easy repairability and maintenance)? I'll vote for that.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Oversight or purposeful design flaw?
Alexander Wolfe   11/23/2011 7:47:32 AM
This is completely unacceptable, especially in an era when design for recyclability (see our July cover story, "Design for Recyclability") and design for safety are engineering imperatives. Similarly, design for easy repairability and maintenance should be on the list. I realize this is not always easy -- even on my 2004 Sentra, when I had to change the driver's side headlamp recently, I had to loosen the battery straps and move it back so that I had clearance to get the headlamp out. But that's a very minor deal, compared to taken the whole darn bumper off.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Re: Oversight or purposeful design flaw?
Beth Stackpole   11/23/2011 7:24:37 AM
It's actually an unfriendly shop design as well given the amount of labor involved for such a simple task. it likely limits what they could charge, which would make the repair less profitable.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Re: Oversight or purposeful design flaw?
Rob Spiegel   11/23/2011 7:17:11 AM
It certainly does seem odd, and it also seems deliberate. This is certainly a maintenance task that is expected to occur many times over the life of the car. Whether the owner changes the bulb itself -- quite unlikely -- or pays stiff labor prices to have a shop change the bulb, this ends up a very owner-unfriendly design. 

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Oversight or purposeful design flaw?
Beth Stackpole   11/23/2011 6:38:10 AM
That's a crazy amount of work for a seemingly straightforward maintenance task. You have to wonder if that was a design oversight (albeit, a biggie) or something done on purpose so Chevrolet could make money on regular maintenance jobs. Either way, big monkey design move. Thanks for sharing.

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