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  Consumer unfriendly

Pretty much obstructed: headlights on the old Smart

There has always been something like this, but lately the trend has intensified. An example could be the replacement of a car battery. Usually the doesn't break in front of the store, where new ones are sold. But after all, with the jump start help of our neighbor we made it by then. I took the appropriate tools with me, removed the old battery and installed the new one. Ready.

Not only was the old battery properly disposed of right away, but there was also a discount on the purchase price. But please do not imitate it, or at least only after extensive information. Why? Because changing batteries can be problematic. There are vehicles where the radio code has to be re-entered and others where the on-board electrical system control unit has to be re-encoded.

What are the consequences? With so many difficulties that can be expected from replacing the battery, you possibly never even think about doing it yourself, as easy it would be. Since you have to go to the workshop/shop anyway, have their battery installed right away, which is usually a bit more expensive, plus labor costs. So it could be that certain manufacturing methods have deliberate consequences.

We come to lighting, where we do not necessarily want to go out from such deliberate consequences, but rather unfavorable cooperation between different groups of designers, to the detriment of the consumer. There is the Smart from the first series, where swapping a light bulb turns into an adventure. Something like this requires the removal of the bumper and light unit in the Renault Modus, for example. Including a readjustment of the light, the price can be around ten times as high.

After all, the EU has put a stop to this goings-on, but which is obviously due to the growing lack of constructed space. In the meantime, lamps on new vehicles have to be exchangeable by laypeople with the help of the tools available in the car and the operating instructions, so that one can be sure that something like this is possible at any time.

But that doesn't mean the end of all anger. Manufacturers with factories far away from Europe in particular tend to combine parts into modules for the supply of spare parts. For example, the small servomotor for the height of a headlight can sometimes not be exchanged individually, but the complete light unit must be purchased, at perhaps twenty times the price.

It's stupid that you can't take something like that into account when buying a car, not even experts. You could go to the warehouse clerk and query individual items, but who knows what will break and how the parts are then connected to one another. A good, but not a technical in regard to light example, is the forced replacement of front wheel bearings in connection with brake discs, of course for both sides at the same time.

Back to lighting with a curious example at the end. The headlights have now become a larger part of the body. It is therefore possible that there is no defect in the lighting system at all, but only the plastic cover is scratched or it no longer seals reliably at this point. In this case, too, there is a risk of the complete replacement of the lighting unit.

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