Today’s car guys vs yesterdays car guys?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Topics (non 6th Gen Mustang)' started by kent0464, Sep 13, 2019 at 7:23 AM.

  1. kent0464

    kent0464 Well-Known Member

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    No bashing anyone, just want to know!
    I’m 55 and have gone fast pretty much all my life in several different cars, from different makers, starting with Ford, going through imports, chevys and for the last several years back to ford, where I’ll stay.
    I’m struggling a little with how to put this out there without offending anyone.......so I’ll just jump in. Does anyone work on their own cars anymore? Don’t get me wrong I do know that a few do, having read some good stuff on this site.
    Growing up, if you wanted a fast car, you turned wrenches.....I see people buying bolt-on kits for S550’s and then talking about labor prices....it’s bolt-on... at the same time I do understand that some require they be installed at a dealership to retain warranties.
    Even here in Va where I live, I’ll go to get-to-gethers, shows, drag track, etc and listen to guys spout all the tech, and how their cars hook, make power, etc and in the same breath state it was built/modified by mr xyz......out of the couple hundred enthusiast here with newer Chevy and Ford cars only a handful have done any of the work themselves. I’ve done stuff to my different cars over the years that I didn’t know how to do, but I learned, through trial and error, blood and sweat, tears and a lot of cursing.
    Maybe it’s just me....I can’t be proud of my car if I’ve paid someone else to make it what it is.
     
  2. Zinc03svt

    Zinc03svt Well-Known Member

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    I change oil & filter myself. Put on my axle back and throttle body. Pretty easy to work on w/ right tools. My therapy...
     
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  3. Chef jpd

    Chef jpd Well-Known Member

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    I have never taken my car to a mechanic for anything other than inspections and alignments. I've done all the work on my cars for the last 35 years myself.

    As Zinc said, therapy and satisfaction.
     
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  4. TnWHTMARE

    TnWHTMARE Well-Known Member

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    Yah, I'm with you. Admittedly there are some things that I dont really care to do and would farm it out (basically suspension stuff). But other than that, I like to do it myself. My last car was a 2010 SS Camaro. I did heads/cam/ headers etc...myself and your right, its a feeling of accomplishment and pride. And as you said, nothing like jumping in and getting your hands dirty to learn.

    However, things are changing significantly, not only in technology but in complexity. Taking a coyote apart is far more complex than an LT1 or LS3 apart. With that, many times comes the need for special tools that are fairly expensive. Couple that with the fact that there is less to be gained overall now because these things are coming out so much more efficient. There just isn't as much to be lost, gained and learned because they are so much more efficient from the factory. But, I'm 43 and I still like to get my hands dirty. :) Probably more than you were looking for there.
     
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  5. Rock&Roll

    Rock&Roll Well-Known Member

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    #5 Rock&Roll, Sep 13, 2019 at 8:20 AM
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 10:09 AM
    At 59 I change the oil in my vehicles. Do the brakes and tune ups. Changed the struts and rear shocks on my truck last year. I'll do most stuff if possible.


    Swapped out the exhaust on my Mustang. It took me just one hour btw. I don't understand younger guys that bring there Mustang to a shop to do that but okay. Maybe they don't have tools, ramps or the now how I'm guessing ?

    IMO, buy the the tools, a ramp and google it. Youtube has a video to do pretty much anything. Or maybe theyre just to lazy to learn or do it or can't be bothered ? I quess if I lived in a city or apartment and didn’t have the space to do it all I’d just bring it to the shop and pray they do it right.

    We all roll differently so roll the way you want.
     
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  6. Ebm

    Ebm Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya... built not bought comes into play here as well for me

    I do most of my own work. If I can't figure something out, I'll seek a second opinion(help or advice from forums, YouTube, or a friend or mechanic buddy). It took me awhile to accrue specialized tools like ball joint presses because they are expensive. But even with the cost of tools, you're saving money doing your own work and you have the tool for next time. Wrenching is something I enjoy(most of the time) to do. It helps relieve stress and get my mind from wandering too much. I believe the joy from wrenching comes from my grandfather who liked to tinker with cars and tools. If he didn't have something he wouldn't go buy it, he would try to make it. Man I miss him! We had good times together. The joy also comes from me liking to tinker as well. Maybe that's why I work in IT. Or maybe IT is the reason I like to work on cars. My IT job is a lot of sitting working on infrastructure. Working on cars allows me to do something physical with my body instead of mental.

    This past year some rust started to develop on my Jeep and now instead of calling around to see how much rust repair would be(I'm guessing a minimum of a bill($1000), I started looking at welding equipment online and how to weld.

    My point in everything I said is... some people have it and some people either don't have it or don't care to have it. Let's be honest, some people just shouldn't work on cars. They would either f something up or injure themselves. Neither scenario is good for their health or their wallet. Maybe that person loves cars, the car experience, the sounds, and looks that they get. Nothing wrong with that.

    Another scenario... maybe a person has more money than time. There is a physician that drives a Viper or his Lambo to the local Cars N Coffee event around me. He's a super nice guy but stays busy inside and outside of work. He doesn't have any financial stress in his life but also doesn't have time to do much either. He can send his car to the dealership to get worked on while he does other things.

    We can all be car guys together, but different types of car guys. Car guys that like to work on their cars. Car guys that can appreciate an exhaust note that is music to their ears. Car guys that share an interest in a common make and model car. Car guys that love unique car builds. The joy of the world is the uniqueness of the world. No two people are the same.

    Just my .02.
     
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  7. 2017GBGTPP

    2017GBGTPP Well-Known Member

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    Cars are much more complicated now, many people are intimidated by the complex electrical systems that control every aspect of the car. I know that I was until recently.

    I knew almost nothing about cars, and the only thing that got me wrenching on my own car is the fact that the dealers somehow knew even less than me.
     
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  8. HoosierDaddy

    HoosierDaddy Well-Known Member

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    One difference is today's car guys may virtue signal less. :wink:

    But I scratch my head sometimes too. For example when someone pays to have jacking rails removed (and then finds out later they didn't even do it right - yes, it IS possible).

    I feel the same about people who wear store bought clothes when you can buy material and make your own. And even some of those that properly make their own clothes cheat and buy patterns.
     
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  9. Ecoboosted

    Ecoboosted Well-Known Member

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    I do my own work, installation, modifications, add on’s except alignments and warranty work.

    Basic oil changes, tire rotations etc. I do my self knowing it’s done right and damage free. Even if I got lifetime oil changes/tire rotations I would still do it myself.

    I’ve had mechanics at dealerships scratch my car up pretty bad doing basic oil changes and say nothing about the damage.
     
  10. FruityJudy

    FruityJudy Well-Known Member

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    I do everything myself also but in todays fast paced world I can understand guys taking it to a shop. Sometimes its easier to make your money doing what you know how to do (day job)and letting someone else make their money doing what they know how to do (shop)
     
  11. NoVaGT

    NoVaGT Well-Known Member

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    1. Cars don't need much anymore. They're pretty ready to go right off the lot.
    2. People in big cities don't have garages/tools/space/etc. to be able to work on cars, so they let someone else turn the wrenches. I used to do my own stuff, but can't anymore for these reasons.
    3. There are still plenty of people that turn their own wrenches.
     
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  12. brucelinc

    brucelinc Well-Known Member

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    Up until now, all I have used a dealer for is warranty work. I will likely buy a Supercharger kit in the next few months and I have already spoken to the dealer tech about an installation. I could probably do it but since the tech has done several others and is extremely knowledgeable, I am going to have him do it. I have always done my own maintenance. I have also replaced my driver's side axle and installed the BMR cradle lockout kit and vertical links.
     
  13. CodyO32689

    CodyO32689 Active Member

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    I'm 30 years old and my dad and I have done all of the work on my cars (other than alignments and tire mounting/balancing since we don't have that equipment available). Most of the time for me it came down to not trusting other people to do the work to my standards (I'm admittedly too picky most of the time). That being said, I'm no mechanic but the information out there on the web nowadays makes it much easier to tackle something you aren't totally comfortable with. Not to mention there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with completing the task on your own. I would imagine some folks aren't into doing it on their own, and I guess that's fine too. To each their own.
     
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  14. BlackandBlue

    BlackandBlue Well-Known Member

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    What you are talking about is time spent in youth. Most of the guys that talk about working on cars did so when they were young with a father/grandfather.

    In the last 15 years the number of “other” things to do has grown substantially. Games, phones, and general couchness have replaced Saturday morning wrenching with dad.

    I work on everything I own. My father dad the same. His father did the same.

    I think it all boils down to how we grew up and what we learned.
     
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  15. Cobra Jet

    Cobra Jet Well-Known Member

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    I’ve owned (20) Mustangs to date, including my 94 Cobra and current 18 S550...

    I’ve done everything from stripping a car down to a bare shell and building it back up with aftermarket “XYZ”. That includes but is not limited to exhaust from engine back, suspension (every part associated), trans swaps from auto to manual and visa versus, engine swaps, brake system upgrades, complete interior swaps (like NOTHING left on inside), etc...

    Hell, my prior 1986 GT T-top - this one guy in our group totaled his brand new 91 GT. I bought the complete interior, rear 1/4 glass and Pony’s from it and did my own Fox conversion before anyone was doing it as the majority “norm”. I had the electric seats powered, lighted sun visors, etc all totally functional as if the 86 was built that way. I trimmed the 91 rear 1/4 interior panels to work in the 86 - after all, there was no T-top after 88....

    Of course the above means absolutely nothing to you young Mustang folks - BUT in 1991, an 86 GT was only 5 years old AND no one was doing “mash ups” yet with the old vs new Fox bodies... everything at that time period was “new” between the 79-86 vs 87-91’s and internet sucked...

    Hell we were on “bulletin boards”... in fact, I’ve been a member over on Corral.net since it was a bulletin board system and Chris Ihara converted it to what everyone now calls “forums”. I’m still a member there - and have offered thousands of posts with tech... my 94 Cobra was featured in a NITTO Tire ad that was from a Corral contest. That ad ran in multiple Mustang magazines for years and NITTO was kind enough to send all participants a nice 24x30 poster of the exact ad.


    I’ve had:

    (2) Full size Broncos (87 and 94) - did work on those as well (they’re nothing more than a grown up Mustang)... LOL. The 94, the damn engine blew #4 and #8 rods through the block and oil pan on the highway when I was cruising @65 mph - this happened immediately after buying it from a local mom-n-pop dealer (test drive went fine, no apparent issues)... Dealer gave me $ to fix, ending up doing a complete GT40 5.0 setup in it.

    (2) BMW’s - 95 M3 and 91 318is convertible. Great cars, easy to work on, no real issues. BMW has just as large an aftermarket for these cars as the Mustang.

    (1) Jeep Wrangler - 1992 “Sport” straight 6 - manual. Blew the ujoints out shifting it like a Mustang... hahaha. It was fun taking it off road and shit, but just not a “Jeep” person after having one.

    (1) 1970 Cadillac Coupe DeVille - black over red leather. This was my first “tinker” car. This monster had the 7.7 472cu V8 in it. This was a BIG car at nearly 18ft long for a coupe! My grandfather had a 1979 4-door Lincoln Town Car - with the Caddy beside it, the Caddy was nearly as long!

    (1) 79 Town Car mentioned above (inherited).

    (1) 2007 Mercury Milan - eh, it was good car. Never really did anything with it, just a driver.

    (1) 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe (2.0T) - great car, never had a single issue since new car ownership at all. It had a lot of power for what it was and the suspension on it handled excellent in stock form. Easy car to work on. Only had to do regular oil changes and 1 new set of tires in almost 90k of ownership. I traded this for my prior 2016 S550 which turned into a Lemon. It’s a shame Hyundai stopped production on them, they really had something going...


    ———
    I’ve been around the block many times... So consider me “old school” where I’ve done the basics from oil changes to brakes, to going full out tear downs and build ups. If I can do it, I’ll do it, if I can’t or don’t have the necessary down time - it goes to the Service Center.

    With a car under warranty - you bet I’m going to utilize the warranty up until it’s expired....regardless if I can do the repair.
     
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  16. shogun32

    shogun32 Well-Known Member

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    One of the key differentiation points is if you even have the space, or the black shadow of the HOA making life difficult, but also a lift. Sure, sure jack stands can work too but these days (especially us young'ins) don't have the time (or drive) to futz around skinning our knuckles or breaking random sh*t thru inexperience and the job taking that much longer. When you can't just leave the car up on jacks for a week, it's just less risk to hand the car to a supposed professional who has all the proper tools and the knowledge to do it right.

    You forget shop class and auto class has been ripped out of the high school curricula going back 30 years. Young people by in large have never held a greasy rag, a breaker bar, or even a ratchet.

    My talent is in computers. Why not let the mechanic earn his living at something he's good at? Could I rotate out my own wheels? Of course. But my mechanic is just down the street, and did the work for a song. The opportunity cost of me doing the swap is several times his rate and that doesn't account for me not being able to get a blasted nut off for some reason or another.

    There is also the economic argument. If you can't afford to pay shop rates, you are forced to do it yourself. But if you have the money, it's an easy choice to delegate. I do shade-tree work on my motorcycles but don't rip into engines. For the upcoming install of suspension and IRS parts on the Mustang I'm probably going to enlist my friend who likes working on cars and we'll do the job together.

    I rent a commercial space 20x60 in Manassas and toying with the notion of a 2-post install. Previous tenant had 2 of them in there and I was a fool not to immediately do the same.
     
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  17. Fetlock

    Fetlock Well-Known Member

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    I've done most of the work on my cars for the past 35 years or so. I've changed clutches, replaced head gaskets and such. I used to do a lot of the work with my Dad, now that he has died it's not as much fun. I think it's great that folks still do their own work, but I certainly don't look down on anyone who takes it to a mechanic that has all the tools and expertise. Sometimes you just need your car up and running right away. I'm not sure what I will do when parts go south on this car; it might be fun to work on but some pieces look considerably heavier that the four banger versions I've worked with. I kind of like the idea of the car being a Dorian Gray, as things go wrong I'll likely replace them with performance parts so it gets better as it ages.
     
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  18. bnightstar

    bnightstar Well-Known Member

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    I'm 32 years old but I'm on the opposite end of the spectre. I'm very clumsy so I'm not good with wrenches. For my first car we used to fix it with a friend of mine and was fun however I was doing all the internet research on how to fix something and he was doing all the wrenching. For the Mustang however I just leave it to the dealer to do all the wrenching. I do have a garage and I hope to one day learn how to do the fixing myself but overall so far my cars are maintained by Ford.
     
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  19. Strokerswild

    Strokerswild Shallow and Pedantic

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    At the ripe old age of 50, I do all my own work outside of what would fall under warranty. It's therapy to a degree, but primarily I know the job was done right if I did it myself. I've got a shop with a giant rolling tool chest full of tools for something. The only time I'll farm something out is if it will require a lift, wish I had one.

    What I hate about newer vehicles is the complexity and overuse of electronics, which make them harder to work on. I love working on my old cars, which require nothing but the most basic tools to complete a job. Not to mention parts are dirt cheap.

    Also, I've worked on cars since I was a kid helping my Dad, which has a lot to do with my hands-on preference.
     
  20. samd1351

    samd1351 Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day, I'm 50, I did almost all of my own work. 53 Chevy pickup, 71 Chevelle, 67 Fairlane, 76 Chevy stepside. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes a PITA. But I didn't have extra money for labor. Hell, I barley had money parts. There were a few half-assed fixes just to keep things running.

    I bought a 71 Chevelle about 15 yrs ago. I thought it would be fun. I had a 72 in high school. Turns out, it wasn't as much as I remembered. I was chasing an electrical bug that I just couldn't seem to find. I spent every chance I got working on the car, and no time driving it. I finally sold it and bought the 'stang. I wanted something I didn't have to work on, I wanted something to DRIVE! I don't mind getting dirty and doing some things, but finding the time anymore is difficult. Between taking care of two sets of aging parents, son going through a divorce and grandson, plus all of the other day to day bullshit, there isn't much time left for wrenching.

    I took the car to a local shop and had the cat-back installed. I just didn't have the time or enough jacks and jack stands, to do it myself. I don't think it makes me less of car guy because I didn't do it myself. I researched the parts I wanted, researched the shops, and was there for install (had it done on my way to work - much easier for me to roll in an hour late at work than pull a couple of hours free time at home). And I don't think it makes someone more of a car guy if they did do it themselves.

    There'll be some things I do, and somethings I have done. If you have the time to do it all yourself, great. I wish I did, but I don't. I'm proud of my car, the things I've done, and the things I've had done. One way isn't necessarily better than the other. To each their own. I would certainly hope that one wouldn't look down on a another enthusiast just because they didn't do everything themselves, but those that say built not bought, well, words best left unsaid.
     
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