Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

I had an issue last winter with my car that was out of my control. However, my car was out of warranty by a matter of a few thousand miles (Imagine that!), so I was stuck fixing a manufacturer’s defect on my own dime.

The car was less than three years old! I was just driving along when the windows started fogging up, and I could smell coolant in my car. The issue was a leaking heater core. There was nothing that I could have done to cause this problem. If anyone reading this has had this issue, you know that manufacturers often bury this component deep in a vehicle’s dashboard. The part itself is inexpensive, but it takes a whole day to take the dashboard apart, swap out the parts, and put the car back together. (Labor is expensive, by the way.)

The estimate came in at over $800! The part was available on line for less than $100, so I was shocked at the repair price. I contacted the manufacturer and told them my story, and, luckily, after a short call, the company agreed to split the cost of the repair 50/50 with me.

I started thinking about why auto manufacturers put these heater cores where they do, when there’s no easy way to fix them. Having problems with them is not an unheard-of issue. They do go bad sometimes, so why not add an access door to the firewall of the car or something? I mean, at present, it appears that designers and engineers start with the heater core and design the car around it.

I would like to call for an end to this practice. After all, we now have cars that are capable of parallel parking themselves and keeping you in your lane if you start to drift. I know we can design a hatch, door, or access panel for the heater core.

Auto mechanics have a lot going on. They don’t need to be spending eight hours fixing something that a simple access point could enable them to repair in 30 minutes. That would give them more time to spend on more pressing issues. Like steering wheels.

We at Penn-Troy know that, our customers, like auto mechanics, have a lot going on. And many times, when our products are in the field, they aren’t always easy to access. Unlike auto manufacturers, there isn’t a whole lot we could do to change that. What we can do, however, is stand behind our products and give our valued customers the peace of mind that we will be there to help when things get tough. Just as we have been doing for generations.