Buy now, regret later - What Do You Reckon? 461

By: Glenn Torrens

engine bay engine bay

Glenn Torrens wonders at the wisdom of 'buy first, ask questions later' when it comes to buying stuff

The video on Facebook showed a Holden Commodore’s V8 engine bay scattered with shiny bits. The obviously proud owner was telling the whole world of the just-fitted cheap electric cooling fan kit he’d bought to replace – I guess – Holden’s factory-fitted and formidably effective engine-driven fan.

"These fans are brilliant!" crooned the owner, before giving his engine a few gentle revs for the camera. He was getting lots of love, too, with such terrific comments as Looks Mint Mate; Great Stuff; I’m Looking Into These Too; Wow That’s Awesome, and How Much Did It Cost.

But… the car in the vid with the ‘brilliant’ electric fan wasn’t actually doing anything. It wasn’t dragging a tonne-and-half of caravan up a mountain. It wasn’t suffering the heat of an Aussie summer arvo, doing the school-and-supermarket run with the air-con on full-blast and three whiney kids on the back seat. Nor was it idling in the pits of a race track cooling-off after running a quick quarter or doing a few hot laps.

No, the car with this ‘brilliant’ electric cooling fan was idling on chassis stands, in a shed, in winter, in neutral, with no bonnet.

Like others, I commented: "An idling engine develops just about no heat," I suggested. "Maybe wait until the first warm day in summer before you get all happy!"

But the bloke with the new whirligig didn’t like that. "I’m happy, no matter what," he responded, including a juicy personal jibe for my "negative" comment.

Righto! We’ll see how ‘Happy, No Matter What’ this bloke is after the first hot day next summer when his $49.99, Free Shipping, fan allows his motor to cook.

As well as classic cars, I play a little with 4WDs, too, and the number of people who jump on the internet to write ‘We Love Ours’ just minutes after buying new tyres, a bull-bar, a roof rack or a 12V camping fridge is astonishing. Sure, first impressions – for instance, about ease of fitting or a competitive price or friendly service from the retailer – are always great. After all, for most of us, buying shiny new car stuff is the grown-up’s version of Santa’s visit! However, where I come from, you don’t give the thumbs-up/thumbs-down to something until you’ve used it for a while.

Example: A cheap brand of 4WD recovery winch pictured on a Toyota Land Cruiser: "I have the Brand-X winch," wrote the fella. "Haven’t used it yet but is an awesome bit of gear… I am over the moon."

This fella was telling the world he is "over the moon" about something he’s described as "awesome" but he hasn’t actually used it yet. This is an adult I’m writing about here… not a three-year-old kid tearing the Christmas paper from a new toy.

Another regular on-line laugh: ‘I Just Bought This. What Does Everyone Else Think?’ Surely, you’d ask your mates – or possibly, some random people on-line – for product advice before you buy something…?

How about people asking mechanical advice when they should be talking to a proper, real, grown-up, qualified, experienced mechanic? Or worse… asking for mechanical advice after talking to a mechanic?!

"I keep breaking drive belts on my 2008 VE Commodore SS," wrote some bloke. "Checked all tensioner and pulley seem fine but harmonic balancer has a wobble. Mechanic says it needs replacing…

"Has anyone else had this issue?"

Maybe, yeah, possibly hundreds of people have ‘had this issue’ now that these cars are nearly 15 years old and about 100,000 were built and many have been fiddled in backyards by people who shouldn’t do anything with cars other than carefully drive them.

Does this bloke really expect to find a different diagnosis to ‘mechanic says it needs replacing’ about his wonky pulley?


From Unique Cars #461, Jan 2022


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