Exhausting Every Possibility

Who'd even think an exhaust system could be so intriguing?


 I just picked up our Acura, after getting a new tailpipe and muffler. Big deal, says you. Yes, it is, says I!

Why? Because we bought this car new in 2003, and it's the original exhaust system.  Yep, we got 174,228 miles on that muffler!

How is that even possible? For most of my life, I remember getting a new muffler every three or four years. And before I did, those cars sounded like a Harley roaring down the road.

But not in this case.  The Acura engine just didn't sound quite right. Maybe a little lower tone or something. Sure enough, the service guy said the exhaust system was barely even there any more and needed to be replaced pronto. No argument here.

Of course, the cost of a replacement exhaust, at least for an Acura, is way above what I remember with previous cars, Toyotas mostly. Today's repair cost close to $750. The thing may well be made of stainless steel, but I don't know. No matter, though, if it's going to last 174,000 miles, that's the deal of a century. $.005 per mile!

Equally amazing, we replaced the tires on our Subaru Forester at 85,000 last fall. Even the tire place could not fathom how Maureen got 85,000 miles on those tires. Yes, she does almost all highway driving, but still, perplexing. And they weren't even bald. Just close enough, so we replaced them before going into another snow season. I suspect it might have something to do with the inflation system, and I am not talking about economics. Only the dealer can do it and the tires don't leak much of whatever is in there. Apparently, it's not just air.

The tire service guy said it might be just the right kind of tire for this vehicle, combined with the type of driving we do. So to test that theory, we bought exactly the same brand tire that came with it new. It's a Japanese tire--Yokohama. Maybe it was a total fluke, but what the heck, it's worth a try.

I find this small, positive trend quite satisfying, as most car stuff is way more expensive today than in the past. Replacing a starter used to be cheap. Now they're crazy expensive. Same for an air filter. Now new cars even have these really pricing "cabin filters." Spark plugs of the past, nothing. Today, they last forever but are expensive to replace and nearly impossible for a regular Joe to replace at home. Need a new car key? Get out your credit card.  Forget about going to the hardware store and getting it done for a buck or two.

So yeah, it's nice to see at least two areas of car maintenance moving in the opposite direction. Plus, cars generally are way more reliable than the rust buckets of the past. Hence our high mileage good fortune. 

Of course, there is a downside to this auto part longevity. I still have to remember to get a new muffler when the Acura hits 348,456 miles.

Posted on June 26, 2018 .