The costs of running a car and the joys of cycling


Manchester. UK
I don't want to go back to the unreliability of older cars. yes you can fix them yourself, but I don't want to mess about at the side of the road in the pouring rain adjusting points or spend Sunday mornings servicing them. Modern reliability is, IMO, a godsend but I think it got over complicated after the 90s. 90s car were the pinnacle for me, especially Japanese.


As an example for just one of your points, a work colleague scrapped a car because a windscreen wiper failed. The part cost wasn't that bad but she was quoted £1500 labour for the job. You had to take half the car to pieces to get to it. Nuts !
I remember when this would have been of interest to the Top Gear team and they would have dispatched Angel Rippon to investigate the scandal. Car designers are under no pressure to make cars easy to service because consumers don't care.

My own solution to the cost of car ownership is a Car Club. I can take out the right size and shape vehicle when I need it.


Legendary Member
I think car design has gone in completely the wrong direction. Technology should have meant smaller, lighter cars with better space efficiency and fuel efficiency.

Instead we've got bigger, heavier cars which take up more roadspace, have more performance than is ever needed in rear world driving which combined with heavier kerbweight means the potential huge increase in fuel economy isn't what it could be with a sensible engine and lighter weight. I wouldn't mind but they're not even much bigger on the inside.

I was thinking about this walking home from work when I stopped to look at an example of the first generation front wheel drive Escort from the early '80s which happened to be parked in the street. It is not one of the cars which will ever win plaudits as a great piece of design and yet it looks surprisingly spacious back and front, easily big enough for 5 normal sized adults. From memory, they had a nice square, practically laid out boot and a feature of most cars of that era - deep windows creating a nice spacious airy feel inside. (Modern cars often feel claustrophobic to me.) A family car doesn't really need to be any bigger than this. Yet it seemed so small compared to the modern cars parked around it.

I suppose the other problem is that people have got bigger - sadly, many of today's teenagers are so fat you'd struggle to fit two of them in the back seat of an original VW Beetle and yet that was part of Dr. Porsche's original design brief - a car big enough for for Mum and Dad and two teenagers. I don't suppose there were many obese teenagers in pre-war Germany so it probably wasn't considered.

Are the car manufacturers responding to what their customers want or are they driving the need to sell bigger cars and unnecessary features?


The dogs chew toy
I think many of the issues with the size increase is crumple zones.
Yep. Crumple zones. Airbags. Side impact protection beams. Sensors for reversing and parking. Cameras for the same. Sensors for engine management, abs, traction control, cruise control, auto braking and driving etc. It all has to go somewhere in order to make the vehicle safer for its driver and occupants.
And then the owners go and drive like utter nobs knowing that they are protected. Boll**s to everyone else.
I do dispair.


Senior Member
Lancaster uk
I drove HGVs for more than 30years, i find it hard to believe i used to drive about 70,000 or there abouts miles a year i was an owner driver for 9years, thankfully my CPC is due to expire and wont be driving HGVs again not driven them for a couple of years anyway, wagons have gone the same way as cars massively complex instead of simplicity, never drive cars either if i can help it, cycle commuting rocks :bicycle::dance:
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Nr Cambridge
Well I for one do NOT miss older cars. Build quality was terrible, they were unreliable, not knowing if you were going to make it to your destination, especially British old bangers and they were filthy dirty and inefficient. You only have to be out on a sunday morning ride in summer to be reminded of how bad cars were when you are gassed by old duffers passing in "classic cars" spuing out no end of smoke and toxins polluting the air. I prefer to breath clean air. I don't want to feel ill as I ride my bike, coughing my guts up because some w****r still has their choke out from starting up their old banger. Fuel used to have lead in it otherwise petrol engines wouldn't run. Can you believe it!!! In cities it was deadly even worse than it is now. So while modern cars are a lot more complex having modern electronics and engine management systems this means engines are far more fuel efficient and have much lower dangerous emissions. This doesn't mean vehicle emissions aren't still a problem, they are. And there are issues of congestion, etc which have always been there. Cars are also far safer for occupants and other road users.
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Quedgeley, Glos
Work is a 140 mile round trip, so a car is needed for that. Hobby number 1 is playing in a band - lots of guitars and amps and stuff - so a car is needed for that. Hobby number 2 is fishing... when I was without a car for a few years I managed to go fishing the way we used to as kids (tie rod to cross-bar, etc) but it ruled out the rivers more than a few miles away. So, really a car is needed for that.

But, all that said, I can definitely see a time when, post retirement, I might rethink the hobbies, just to avoid a car. We'll probably keep one (the wife has one) but two would be a cost too far. I do have a motorbike, and I wouldn't be adverse to a trailer on the pushbike!

It's certainly all worth thinking about. By then, there may be other shared service models out, anyway.


As long as I breathe, I attack.
Well last few days im glad i have the option to dive to work if i need, its been binning it down steadily since Sunday evening and the roads i use have floods etc . no such thing as bad weather when cycling ? ppft sometimes its pays to get somewhee without looking like a drowned rat .
If i went for public transport it would take me 2 + hours and a connection + a 1 mile walk , taxi is a no go as i cant guarantee finish time . all to cover a 20 min drive/ 35 min ride .
Sorry, used to love the capri, 1.6 ls, 2.0 laser and 2.8i special but all of them were much more polluting individually than a dozen new cars put together. Leaded petrol sir, no problem. Slow, uneconomical and rusty. Still enjoy a new car, though new technology can be a pain, like acc that faceplants you into the windscreen at 60 mph if you happen to come upon a cyclist and don't switch it off in time.


East Sussex
It was ever thus. Many years ago, way back in 1936, E.B. White wrote a wonderful essay in The New Yorker titled Farewell to Model T - a sort of elegy to the simple days in his youth (he was born in 1899) when anyone could repair an automobile and you mail-ordered your spare parts through your Sear & Roebuck catalogue. And now we have bicycle shifting going electric - just try repairing that in your backyard on a sunny afternoon with the radio on and an open beer beside you...
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