The End of DIY Car Repair, Why New Cars are So Hard to Work On

The End of DIY Car Repair, Why New Cars are So Hard to Work On


Rev up your engines,
hey with modern cars getting more and more
complex, is it the end of diy car repair for
us guys,
well I have to admit cars are getting more
and more complex, take this lexus, look under
the hood it’s all covered with plastic you
can’t even see anything, but that is just
a cover, there’s still an engine, of course
it’s got a cover on it too, with spark plugs,
water pump, still got a lot of common things
in it, and time goes on things do get more
complex, in my old Celica,
it’s got a distributor, but the distributor
uses a magnetic field to fire the spark plugs,
before this on my old ford it had a set of
points inside the distributor that would open
and close to fire the spark plugs,
and this lexus is doesn’t even have a distributor,
it uses ignition coils that are computer run,
each cylinder has it own ignition coil and
it’s run by computer, now granted these are
pretty reliable systems that rarely break
down on the lexus or toyotas,
but scan tools can figure out what’s wrong
with them rather easily, these things can
show you which cylinder is misfiring, how
many times it’s misfiring and you can get
scan tools, really basic ones, for $25 to
something like this, it’s $199 one but hey,
it does a whole bunch of stuff that anyone
can learn how to use,
and when you consider that many places these
days charge $120 per hour of labor to work
on your car, hey that’s not that much money,
and realize that cars still have brake pads,
they got water pumps that will wear out over
time, they get radiators that get holes in
them and you have to replace them, you can
still do all this kind of work yourself,
but of course unlike the cars when I was young,
like my 1970 ford, there are things that you’re
not going to be able to work on, hey it’s
stuff that even I hate working on, and that
has to do with the increased use of computers
in modern cars, cars have what’s called a
can bus system today, it stands for controller
area network, this can bus system allows all
the sensors and all the processors inside
your car to talk to each other without having
to use the main computer to help them, the
main reason they use it is because it cuts
way down on the wiring needed for a car,
instead of having to have each wire come from
the computer to a sensor and back and then
another computer and a sensor and back, they
can talk to each other without having all
that wiring, they use a can bus line for all
that information, an example would be this
fiber optic cable, that used to send information
to my house until a squirrel chewed through
it, here’s the broken end here, just think
about this fiber optic cable,
it comes into my house, I can be watching
an hd program on my tv and also recording
5 other programs on the same tv using this
same line, while my wife uses the computer
on the same line and my phone line goes through
the same line and there’s still plenty of
place left for more data,
and even though most cars aren’t fiber optic
cable yet, their bus lines use various speeds,
theirs high speed bus, low speed bus, so all
kinds of information can go on the same wire
instead of having to have 500 wires in a car
the can use just a few that all this information
goes back and forth on,
and this has allowed some insanity occur in
our cars, many modern cars have 70 or more
small computers, small processors on them,
so if something goes wrong in that system,
good luck fixing that,
and that’s a good reason why never to buy
a late model car that’s been in a big wreck,
to many things can go wrong and nobody can
ever figure out what’s wrong, or if you get
in a wreck with yours, you might decide hey
have it totaled and get another car, don’t
try to fix a modern car that’s been really
wrecked because there’s just too much computer
stuff going on and figuring out what’s wrong
with it can be almost impossible, now I’ve
got a lot of fancy electronic equipment of
course, but I’ve had cars that pretty much
stumped me,
they would give me a code for a low speed
can bus error and really it was a high speed
can bus error, but the way that the software
was set up it confused the computer so it
tripped codes for a completely different system
than what was wrong with it,
and realize that most computer systems on
car these days are working on a 5 volt reference
signal, they don’t have that much power, 5
volts isn’t that much power, and to top that
off, the only use milliamps of power inside
that, so there’s very little amps, that tiny
amount of power, if there’s a problem in one
of those systems, it can be near impossible
to find where the fault is coming from,
because if you think it was bad working on
the old systems that were 12 volts and had
a really hard time finding the source of the
electrical shorts in a 12 volt system that’s
running maybe 400 amps, imagine what it’s
like to find a fault in a 5 volt system that’s
running 20 milliamps, it’s very hard to do,
so in this respect, some of the stuff on modern
cars, it is not made for DIY guys,
but look on the bright side, DIY stuff, there
was always a lot of stuff you couldn’t do
yourself, hey you didn’t have a tire machine,
you couldn’t put your own tires on, or balance
them, or do front end alignments, there’s
still stuff that you can do though, and with
the internet, you can find information easily,
you can even find tools that you need to work
on computer systems that cost a lot less because
their aftermarket, a lot of them are made
in China but they work quite well, as an example,
I’ve had scan tools from China that cost me
$800 but they had software that if I would
have bought individually from all the different
companies it would have cost me well over
$100,000, and you’ll find that in the internet
there’s nerds / mechanics and they don’t like
people getting ripped off either so if there’s
a problem say in an anti theft system in a
car, they’ll figure out a way that you can
bypass that system to drive the car without
having to spend a fortune to replace a lot
of computer stuff,
so don’t give up if you’re planning on fixing
your own car, hey watch my videos, learn a
bunch and use your brain, it’s a pretty powerful
device, it’s still smarter than the computers
in these cars,
and since this is the Thursday segment where
I answer a viewers question, place your own
question on the YouTube comments below, and
I’ll pick the best ones so make a single video
to answer your question,
and where else can you find a guy with 50
years experience of fixing cars to answer
your own question with a video,
so if you never want to miss another one of
my new car repair videos, remember to ring
that bell!


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