I too have experienced the same problem with a radiator cap. I was a student, so I didn't have much money. I had to start replacing the cheapest parts. A new thermostat didn't cure the problem, but the replacement radiator cap did. This is not the normal way I troubleshoot problems, but it worked in this case.
In my experience along many years (at least 32 or 33), one of the worst options to maintain and fix my vehicles, is the "dealer" shop. But many other shops are mediocre ones. That's why I prefer to make 99% of my repair and 99%+ of the maintenance of my cars at home.
(the only service I remember that I HAD to order in the last years, was a brake system hydraulic fluid purge ("bleeding'), and that is only because present day automotive "engineers" are terrible designers, and had made pedal purging impossible, having placed hydraulic brake lines full of up and down curves and empty ABS valve housings where air accumulates when one changes de brake fluid... and the brake cylinder hasn't enough volume to displace those air bubbles completely, REQUIRING a power flushing device to achieve a COMPLETE air purging).
The reason Dealer's shops are so bad, is that Dealerships have high operating costs because the locations need to be large enough to accomodate large and spacious new car showrooms, plus spare parts space, but because they sell fewer parts at those overpriced amounts, they end up selling much less and then they go the easy route to overcharge in all services. Because they pay low salaries to their mechanics, the average mechanic prefers to work for other shops, as Dealerships press on them too hard, assigning impossibly short repair times, which causes many mechanics to leave soon, lowering the expertise of the personnel. All this ends up producing a stong tendency to make sloppy repairs by changing parts instead of carefully analyzing the real problem. It is faster for a mechanic to just change the part than to try harder to analyze the root problem. And the poor client has to pay for all those inefficiencies! The Dealership looses money because the parts department ends up supplying too much parts that didn't need to be changed at all... and many customers return to demand more repair time because the Dealer shop did not fixed the problem. A perfect vicious circle!
On the other side, the absurdly stupid (ab)use of electronics on recent cars, make them difficult to fix, to start with. Even when recent models have improved reliability over the first three or four years, they are much more difficult to service because so called automotive "designers" have produced the worst designs of all time in respect to component placement, free space under the hood, and a complete lack of actual experince with the repair ability aspects! They could be expert AutoCad manipulators, but the worst "designers" of all time, no doubt. Heck, I could write a whole book full of real life examples just describing how failed are today´s underhood designs! Amclaussen.
Amclaussen wrote "the only service I remember that I HAD to order in the last years, was a brake system hydraulic fluid purge ("bleeding'), and that is only because present day automotive "engineers" are terrible designers, and had made pedal purging impossible, having placed hydraulic brake lines full of up and down curves and empty ABS valve housings where air accumulates when one changes de brake fluid... and the brake cylinder hasn't enough volume to displace those air bubbles completely, REQUIRING a power flushing device to achieve a COMPLETE air purging)."
You might have been able to purge the brake system using a handheld vacuum pump with a fluid-catching jar. This combination costs about $25 at discount auto parts stores and has many other uses.
@Charles, I think you could have done better in addressing the multiple design flaws in the new car. Maybe they were due to the fact that you were buying a used car and some malfunction was to be expected but, as in the case with the radiator cap, it was a genuine manufacturing flaw that should have been brought to the attention of the manufacturers; if only for the sake of other drivers who may have similar issues.
Now this perfectly fits into the description of monkey-designed products. I blame it squarely on automation on steroids, a very common practice in some countries. Automation should be closely overseen and supervised so that any malfunctions can be identified and corrected in good time before they let any faulty products slip through, as seems to have been the case with your radiator cap.
While I have the best Mityvac vacuum hand pump available (the metal body one), and use it for my 1991 and other cars succesfully, it is useless for my 2002. This model has such a large cavity in the empty volume inside the ABS valve body, that the air bubble that accumulates there when I perform a complete brake fluid change, that the mighty "Mityvac" is not powerful enough to completely remove the resulting air pocket. That is why better brake repair shops here where I live, have resorted to buy an expensive but excellent machine: the ATE FB30s is a bleeding unit that has a pressure cap that installs over the brake fluid reservoir atop the master cylinder, that feeds fresh fluid maintaining the proper reservoir level while the technician goes around the car opening and closing every wheel cylinder to purge any air bubbles in every line. The pressure is adjusted about two bar (30 PSIG approx).
First the technician uses a vacuum hose to remove almos all the old fluid from the reservoir, and then attaches de cap adaptor, pressurizes the system and manually opens one by one the bleeder crews at the wheels.
The pressure, and specially the VOLUME of fluid that this machine can flow through the lines is more then enough to be able to pull along the large bubbles that my 2002 accumulates.
The owner of tha shop told me that he decided to buy that equipment because they have foung that many recent cars are problematic to service because of complicated ABS, EBS and all sorts of acronims, plus the fact that hydraulic line placement and paths are no longer properly made. (Guess what: the factory uses pressure fluid fillers too!).
Believe me, I've been maintaining my vehicles for decades, by later models are becoming a nighmare to work on them. I'm facing the decision about tackling the timing belt change in my 2002 with 53,000 miles, or to take it to a shhop, because the belt change implies a lot of disassembly in overly tight spaces. And the belt change requires changing the coolant pump, belt tensioner and idler, all are inside the engine, which obligues to remove ALL the accesory belts, pulles, many covers etc. So much for progress and "advanced design".
To make matters worse, the steering rack has started to exhibit some play, so that is makes a metallic noise when the car goes over bumps, and is leaking a little steering fluid too. Now, to remove the steering rack from the car is not easy at all, requirin to remove the whole front subframe... In comparison, my older 1991 has twice the years and over twice the mileage and has no problems like these.
My HiLux 4X4 Pick-up I bought new '84. I've gone through at least two dozen headlights. Had to change out the fuel filter which the manual does not locate. Put in two clutches because of the big boat I towed. The water pumps kept failing probably from over tight belts. But when I put in a factory water pump have had no problems. The engine cracked a sleeve around 175K. Had a used Japanese engine put in w new clutch and now I have about a quarter million miles on the frame. Had to replace one emissions part a vacuum actuated electrically held valve. The emissions equipment is shot now but it does not matter as it is older that 24 years and does not need to be tested any more. The only down side is people will pull in front of me and slam on their breaks. No ABS in and ABS world is exciting.
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