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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

Is attention to detail the car enthusiasts curse?

It’s impossible to count the number of times I have overheard someone compliment how well a door closes on a car. It’s something that’s mundane to most people and has no bearing on how well a car does its job as a mode of transportation, yet enthusiasts collectively nerd out over minute details like this. To me, that might be one of the best things about our community. It is also the downfall of my personal sanity.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/is-attention-to-detail-the-car-enthusiasts-curse/

61 REPLIES 61
TeutonicScot
Intermediate Driver

Know exactly what you mean Kyle, but I have to disagree with your observation "I did five hours of labor and, technically, I didn’t make the truck any better." You certainly did make the truck better and by renewing those simple things, gave yourself a little more pride and appreciation for your truck.

My wife hates the level of OCD that I have about our vehicles. I just spent the last 2 weeks chasing down a small rattle in my daily driver that was coming from the rear drivers side door. Door panel off, back on, back off, tightening bolts, hinges, you know the drill. Finally found it where the door catch was being held by the striker plate. A little grease and job finally done......My wife said she couldn't ever hear it........which is why when repairs are having to be made to her car, they usually involve more costly issues because she never notices them until it's too late.

Kyle
Moderator

You've got a point. I guess I could clarify I didn't make the truck any better at it's utilitarian purpose of being a vehicle.

We think alike, you and I. It seems like our significant others would get along too! 

ede2357914
New Driver

My wife notices most noises and other things with our cars. We had an Aerostar once. She was telling me the needle by the genies lamp is a little low. Wondering what the genie lamp was I took her outside. It was the oil pressure gauge. Checking the oil it was down a quart. After adding oil the genies lamp was back to normal. 

MisterT
Passenger

I’m just the opposite. I can hardly hear little things that are wearing but my wife hears the little things before they wear or break. When she informs me she heard a squeak or rattle here or there, off I go to my mechanic to tell him what she heard. It’s got to the point that even they trust her hearing and search for the cause. And might I point out - she’s always right!

Unclemarks
New Driver

Many wives have that same issue, and with most things! The fix or replacement is not any better! Why did we waste that money! Lol

DougL
Intermediate Driver

I share your agravation with people who remove the factory air box and, all too often, replace it with something that is not as good. The hot air intakes really bother me! 

Joelb
New Driver

When I was in grad school I bought a ‘49 Chevrolet 3600. After cleaning the oil bath air cleaner, I decided that job was a messy waste, so I chucked it, and put on a chrome aftermarket piece. It’s worked fine since 1978, but I sure wish I had kept the original. I would have put it back on years ago and dealt with the mess. 

Kyle
Moderator

Right!? I would argue this one doesn't even look better.
Jeffreythorton
New Driver

I had to laugh at the "new-to-me" point... that's another car nut quirk:  new vs "new".  Last year, I sold my 2006 Expedition when I found a great deal on a 2008 Expedition. Most of my friends were confused when they found out my "new" Expedition was 11 years old...

3304HL
New Driver

the Italians (and probably the French & Spanish) have a useful convention;  nuova macchina vs macchina nuova.  Nuova macchina is generally taken to mean new to you, and macchina nuova is a genuinely new car.  Perfetto!

MoparMan
Advanced Driver

I've become acquainted with the term "Nused" meaning new to me, LOL!! 🙂

DaveD
Pit Crew

I think that's a pretty nice looking pickup truck and not Rusty either like we usually see here in Michigan!

Kyle
Moderator

Lived most of its life in Washington. Got lucky that a student drove it out here and didn't check the local market before listing it for sale. I bought it at a Washington-appropriate price, rather than paying the Michigan rust-free tax.
torrus
Passenger

I'm with you on 'obsessing' over details - I just picked up a 2000 Silverado and have a long list of details to attend to, including the door hinge pins! I went as far as to source a replacement interior (graphite leather, dash & door panels, console) because I wasn't happy with the current, well-worn interior. The truck drives just fine, but I know it could be better...

Kyle
Moderator

I got lucky on my interior, though I think I will end up putting new foam in the seat bottoms and replacing the cover on the driver's side. The previous owners wore out the side bolster getting in/out and the center has no support. Shouldnt be but a weekend project.
topside
Intermediate Driver

A buddy & I are always trading that quip: "it's a blessing AND a curse". But proper operation & appearance, even of what many consider insignificant details, are to Us, The Afflicted a large part of the whole, and the experience, of using the vehicle. It's a sensory thing as much as being proper, sympathetic, and pro-active. As a result, I could get in my 206,000-mile '93 Pathfinder and take it across the Country right-freakin'-now if I had the urge, instead of taking one of my other cars...which get the same fussiness, but less exposure. Yeah, I stay busy (laughing icon)...

TKDMaster
Pit Crew

As an owner of an 04 Pathfinder that I bought at 96,000 miles, now 160,000, this thing is my Apocolypse vehicle.  Ungodly complex 3.5 V-6, 4 cams, 24 valves, chains and stuff going all over the place, yet the only thing it needs beyond normal maintenance is a quart of oil about every 1500 miles.  Beautiful black looks like new except for some paint chips, and gas mileage does not go above 15-18, ok would like better. 0 rust.  I found out that the original OEM Bridgestone spare has never been down, mold nubs still on the tire. Front brakes not cheap to do because the front axles have to be pulled but worth it.  I used it to pull my neighbors $100k Mercedes up a half mile 8 degree snow packed slope without spinning a wheel, he was stuck in the first 100 yards. He had an AWD version of the same car, and a Dodge 4wd pickup in his garage, don't ask me to explain that. Keep on trucking! I fix whatever that old R53 wants, would cost me $20,000 to replace it and it would look like every other SUV with body creases that go from nowhere to nowhere without being part of a theme.  

Watersmeet
Pit Crew

KY, a little help here for the readers. Chevy trucks and Vettes from the late 50's until about 10 years ago had this problem, not every one but many. I've had many of both and I was taught this trick by a friend. Take a large drift pin and knock out the pins one at a time using whatever is available to assist in supporting the door. Use a grinder to remove all rust and whatever on the pin, use emery cloth rolled up to do the same for the inside of the hinge tube, lube both liberally with WD-40. Do all the same upper and lower. It's worked for me many times. The best I can figure is that Chevy truck and Vette doors are longer or heavier than others and the ailment only manifests itself regularly in these modules. I would guess they all rust a bit and accumulate the same crud, it just doesn't play out the same.   Jim

renchero63
Pit Crew

I don'tthink there is anything unusual about obsessing over details. Doors that don't close "just right" are one of the details that will kill a purchase deal faster than most things to me. I'm in the market for an older Triumph TR-6 and that door close, while possibly near impossible to fix will be an important indicator of how well the car has held up over the last 45-50 years. Will I have to invest an inordinate amount of time to get it right? Possibly. But a door that klunks or is not aligned properly will drive me crazy. It is the details, large and small that make chasing, finding and restoring car satisgying.

DaveT
New Driver

Went to an auction last year that had a 1970 TR6 complete rusty and partially buried and another scattered over several flat bed trailers. I waited all day for the auctioneer to get to them, when he did I was putting some stuff in my truck and missed them. They went for $10. I think it was for the best as I don't have room to store or work on them and my wife would have not been happy. Found a couple pics if anyone is interested.

montanabill
Passenger

What a different breed we are! I spent nearly a week making the dome light on my 1955 Plymouth restoration project function correctly. New door switches, complete disassembly and cleaning of the light itself, and the running of new wiring just to have the light come on when the door opened.  I won't even go into the hours I spent cleaning, trouble shooting and wiring on the gauges in the dash so they all functioned correctly. Most folks probably wouldn't care. My over the top attention to detail is the biggest part of the reason that it was a five year project. If it's there, it has to work! 

qazimotors
Passenger

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J-man
Passenger

I agree that door sag on vehicles are a concern as it also results in rapid wear at the latches. I drive a 1958 Jaguar Mark 1 that has never had the doors adjusted. The reason being is that the hinges have grease fittings. The doors still close even if released only inches from the opening. What a novel idea NOT designed into today's disposable vehicles. 

Kyle
Moderator

I like the sounds of grease fittings on hinges!
gpsuya
Intermediate Driver

My 1981 BMW 745i had grease fittings in the hinges also, & the doors closed perfectly with a solid klunk. Unfortunately today all the Manufacturers subscribe to planned obsolescence.
qazimotors
Passenger

Great article.  Reminds me of the 67 SS Chevelle I restored back in the 90s.  I remember posting questions on-line like "should the speedo cable go behind the firewall insulation or in front?".  I blasted every bolt and re-plated with black oxide.  I remember sending every bit of aluminum trim to LA to get it re-anodized.  I cut open the heater box and replace all the foam gaskets.

 

Today, every time I take my 73 Camaro out, it drives me crazy that the driver's side window and the dashboard rattle.  I gotta take that stuff apart!

DaveT
New Driver

My 2010 GMC Sierra only has 85k miles and is usually covered in the driveway. Every time I wash it, I would see the solid rust rear pumpkin, so I finally gave in and wire brushed it which flowed over to the axle and a coat of POR 15. Just had to!

Kyle
Moderator

I will be putting liberal amounts POR 15 on the underside of this truck. It has only seen two Michigan winters so it still very solid and I want to keep it that way.
Callen
Pit Crew

I have had this affliction all my life.  I do find that now that I am old, and deaf in my right ear, that all my cars seem to run better and don't have rattles anymore.

CraigCopple
Pit Crew

Not quite to the level of buyer’s remorse, but it sounds like you got more than you bargained for, Kyle. Maybe you can trade both trucks for your sister’s nice road-ready ‘72. Lol. 

Kyle
Moderator

The truck is still a great buy in my eyes, I knew it was going to need fiddly stuff like this. It is 21 years old!

 

If Kacy would take that trade, I would go for it! 

mwmyers91
Intermediate Driver

I have a 2004 LS and love the truck. 5.3 V8 rocks a short bed. My crazyness was with the headlights and turn signal lamps that had yellowed over the years. After a little research magic lens cleaner was out so I bought totally new replacements and could not be happier.It freshend the whole front end look of the truck so I did the rear taillights as well. Well worth the effort and self satisfaction.

ThomPhillips
Passenger

Wonderful...have you been watching me, or talking to my wife?

dscottbeal
New Driver

bought my grandpas 1977 Cordoba with the Corinthian Leather in 2004 with 46k on it. everything that was rubber or plastic needed replaced. including the gaskets for the engine and tranny. Excellent condition otherwise. it just sat in a garage all the time. He bought it brand new and it was the first car i ever got to steer while sitting on my grandpa's lap as a child. that land yacht is still one of my favorite possessions. just recently bought my grandpa's 1977 F150 4X4 from my grandma. it took her a couple years to part with it after his death but it is now in Texas sitting in my driveway. my grandpa was a utilitarian.....it worked good enough - no reason to put money into it - so leave it alone. it was HIS truck though and he would argue all day about how you should not be commenting on the work his truck didn't really need. we would laugh and argue and laugh again about door pins, two different wipers, a coat hanger for the antenna, mirrors that simply would not stay in place, cracked and worn gaskets on the fuel caps that left them loose and you could smell the fuel a bit. i am not the same as it pertains to my grandfathers mindset. many of these things are in the process of being 'fixed' to my liking and i am enjoying the memories of my grandpa and that truck while i am making it my own. as the months have gone by though i have come to a tough crossroads. the truck needs a full restoration. it runs like a crazy machine but still needs a tune up and such...... but suspension, paint, body work, interior and more are just worn out and need replaced. do i go all in and make it new (he would have loved to see that happen like i did when i bought the Cordoba) or do i make it road worthy and leave the rest alone. getting in the truck, it has the same smell that it did the last time i went with my grandpa in it hunting or fishing or wherever we were headed. the aftermarket tach on the top of the column always aggravated me but he thought it was cool - and now it works again....lol.....the windshield wipers still work and are still not a pair...... and all of these little things are a reminder of him. the petina the truck has is friggin great and i get compliments on it everytime i drive it even though it is a bit on the worn side. i think that for now, beyond the 'must haves' it will stay my grandpas truck while he lets me drive it if you know what i mean. we'll see....maybe i'll have to document a full resto and submit it here for your opinions. maybe i'll just submit a couple photos. be safe out there all. sincerely - a 45 year old car nut in Texas.

KickStart
Pit Crew

Most rebuildable vehicles are worth rebuilding.
I had a cousin with an 80’s GMC pickup. He was a well traveled musician and majored in business in college. He put several hundred thousands of miles on that truck. Maintenance was handled religiously. After about 10 years, he crunched the numbers and concluded it made more sense to restore the truck back to new rather than buy a new one. He had me r&r the engine and trans to be rebuilt with a few upgrades for reliability and efficiency. He had the truck repainted. He restored the interior to look like new. Basically he had a “new” 10yo truck. He was very happy with it and continued to pile on the miles. If he hadn’t passed away in a crash (from lack of sleep), I’m sure he would still be driving the same truck. 

billyr
Pit Crew

I’m sooo glad that my car doesn’t have door hinges. 

Kyle
Moderator

Color me interested... What do you drive?
omac
Intermediate Driver

Truck looks awesome. I'm super ocd with my 4 vehicles. Everything has to look and function perfect. I would get new seat bottom foam for the driver's seat that will make a huge difference in comfort. Enjoy your new truck.

SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

I'm with you!! Rebuilding the front seats on an old car or truck is a must.
TG
Advanced Driver

I'm all about driving them. I generally buy them with mechanical issues, get them running right, get them to where they look good from five feet, and drive 'em. Nothing in my fleet is going across the block at barrett Jackson any time soon, but it is going down the road at least once a week (weather permitting). I generally don't get too fussy about the details. Now with that said, drivability problems will have me tinkering until I get it straightened out, so I guess we all have our thing

hb
Intermediate Driver

Just spent two days removing reforming and re-installing my original XJS speakers. They were shot, no foam surrounds, buzzed like a beehive. Could have used aftermarket, but the curse struck, a 92 car needs 92 speakers.  They fit perfect because they are the originals and belong there. And they sound great, just like 92! Onward with ridiculous obsessions!!!

hb
Intermediate Driver

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richreed701
Pit Crew

Wait.  You mean EVERYONE doesn't feel this way?  I guess that explains the Subaru Outback around the corner with the left rear window covered over with a garbage bag and blue masking tape.

Cornbinder
Intermediate Driver

He can't be too OCD - didn't even make an effort to try to take good pictures of his truck outside, shooting into the sun and with shadows on the other side.  On the other hand, maybe he's making it look like a Craig's List or FB Marketplace ad.

Kyle
Moderator

You got me. I took those on the way home from the sellers house, more of a crime of opportunity. As my penance, here is a better photo after I shut off the polisher this week.

rsz_img_7312.jpg

56Tiger
Pit Crew

Got 'cha Kyle. Mine is a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 with 150,000 miles on it. Can relate 100%!

SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

I really like your truck, Kyle...and I like what you are doing.  Vehicles from the '80's & '90's are very cool.  They are still fairly analog compared to today's high tech stuff, while being dependable and fun to drive.  When I find a car or bike that I like, I tend to keep it for many years.  As with Kyle, all of the details on my vehicles must be attended to over time. 

 

I currently own cars from the late '80's thru early 21st Century.  The rubber and plastic parts on these cars are starting to get old, so whenever I'm servicing or repairing them, I replace all of the rubber and plastic parts that are still available.

 

The one downfall of the obsessive attention to detail is when the home mechanic gets too deep into a project to get out.  One of my best wrenching friends suffers from this.  He is a much better mechanic than me.  He is an excellent engine rebuilder.  But when he buys a car, he may tear it completely apart and never get around to putting it back together.  The little details needing attention will bother him so much, that he feels a need to address it all at once.

 

I attack a restoration in stages.  I will rebuild the front end before rebuilding the rear.  I take one section apart, restore, reassemble and move on to a new section.  A restoration might take two years or more.  I don't attempt to attack all of the work needing to be done at once.  Kyle appears to do the same thing.  He seems to obsess over one area at a time.

Kyle
Moderator

It’s true that I focus on one area at a time. Otherwise I get to scattered and nothing really gets done!
Ragtop69
Intermediate Driver

I agree with your premise and admit to being a compulsive fixer of every flaw I have ever found on my vintage cars, but how do you explain the "trend" toward patina?  Isn't just an acceptance of the vagaries of time on your vintage vehicle?  Is it driven by the desire to present the vehicle as an historical piece, or is it just an expression of laziness?  We do have dodos replicating patina with a spray gun, which might negate the laziness argument, but it still feels like an excuse to do nothing.