I just went out to lunch with a few coworkers in one of these, a 2014 Ford focus sedan. It was a nice enough inside and surprisingly quick under 40 MPH. But the torque converter was on its way out and it kept slipping out of gear. The owner asked “Should I get this checked out? Only if it won’t be expensive...”
I had no idea what to say; one would think that any driveability issue would result in a trip to the dealership immediately!? I mentioned that it’s probably the torque converter AKA the thingamabob “that connects the engine’s power to the wheels” to keep it simple and recommended that she take it to a dealer. “But I don’t want to be screwed into fixing something that isn’t broken!” was the response.
She says she’ll get it fixed before she trades it in. Sounds like a fantastic idea... as long as it doesn’t blow up first. Furthermore, why do people trade in cars after two years!? What is the point? I didn’t get the sense that there was one, beyond trading in for a newer car? That makes no sense. Yet someone else in the car also said that they were planning on doing the same thing. Exchanging one beige car payment for another, just because? Sounds like one of the 7 circles of car enthusiast hell. Obviously I kept my mouth shut. And thought about trading in a new focus for an E46 M3.
That’s not all. One of my coworkers asked: “Do you have a car phone? Why is there a dial pad on the dash?” Someone else chimed in: “Can you connect your phone with bluetooth and dial there?” The driver said she didn’t know. There is a giant button on the the dash that says “phone.”
I am consistently amazed by how disinterested and neglectful non-enthusiasts are when it comes to cars. Conversely, I’m sure they all think we’re weird as fuck. That is why ironically, most of the car nuts I know keep their mouths shut when the norms talk about their beige appliances.