Even worse for a brand that's been out of business for years. My wife is a fan of Suzuki Sidekicks/Samurais and they've won me over as well. A fuel hose failed on one, AN style flare nut on one end and banjo fitting on the other so I thought no biggie...and was quite wrong. The only sources were a local hydraulic hose shop ($400 quote) and a far off salvage yard, $100 + shipping for a piece just as old. Thankfully I do own machine tools so made one up right here at the house. Anyone else need one?
My '81 Corolla would not start when hot because it's starter lacked a heat shield. Yes, I made one. Two pieces instead of one, but I didn't have to remove the manifold to get it on. Incidentally, this is the issue that caused the original owner to sell the car.
Thanks for this fine piece, a timely one, too, as parts prices start to follow the steep recent curve of car values. I have only one suggestion, more logical than just grammatical: the sentence “That’s a good thing, of course, but it means a major source of affordable second-hand parts are drying up.“ suggests that the parts themselves are somehow getting dried. I guess they should be dry before installation. But it’s the source that *IS* drying up.
One other problem is this. Some MFGs made so many changes and sold so many different versions of a engine in different markets that it can be difficult to find someone willing to invest in replacement parts for less common engines.
Case in point Honda changed engines in markets often and often did not offer the same engine in different markets. This has made it difficult for parts suppliers to supply less common models.
Then you get the folks who import the engine from Japan for the extra HP and there are no parts here and they get upset because these engines are not using similar parts even though they look alike.
The rage over the small block Chevy for decades was this. It was light, powerful and often the same parts that fit 30 years ago still fit the new engine. This today is still no longer true but companies will make parts for the most common and most likely to make money otherwise it can get expensive.
Many imports are often not as common over the years with each others and the cars from Japan often were updated and changed even during a model year. This makes for difficulty for the after market parts for many engines at a reasonable cost even if you can find them.
I don't know that I agree with the sentiment in your opening sentence completely. Yes, there is always going to be a shortage with any type of vehicle, but the issue is pretty pronounced in the Japanese market, especially for cars not produced for the North American market. I'm not talking just in North America, I'm talking everywhere.
I suspect that I will have to get creative with an Arduino to solve some of the digital controller issues with my '90 Cadillac. There are people who will 'rebuild' these components for big money and questionable results, but nobody is supplying them once the original OEM parts bin runs dry