Matthew Crawford on a broken tail light that cost $5600 to repair:
On this particular luxury pickup truck, moisture in the tail light caused the usual corrosion, making resistance on the circuit go out of range. This circuit is in communication with many other circuits, so electrical gremlins propagated (probably reading as ground faults) and eventually the truck was completely dead. At this stage, identifying the root cause of the breakdown was no trivial task. But most of the $5,600 charge for getting the truck running was for parts confined to the tail-light housing, not the diagnostic and parts-swapping labor. Commenting on this case, another YouTube mechanic named Uncle Tony points out that salvage yards are full of recent model cars that are in great shape — mechanically sound and rust-free, with good interiors and good paint — but underwater on repair costs due to electronic complexity.
Presumably the carmakers want us to realize that (a) we can’t repair our cars ourselves, (b) can’t afford to have them repair our cars, and (c) therefore must buy a new car from them — just because of a broken tail light.
I’m gonna do my best to keep my 10-year-old car for another ten years.