Mind the Gap

Most car critics judge a car’s quality by the panel gaps. The smaller the gaps, the better the car. My 20-year-old Jeep has no such pretenses. In fact, the headlights were designed with a large gap on purpose – to change the turn signal bulbs, you have to remove a screw and the only way to get to that screw is between the bulb covers.

image of headlight gaps on a Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ

To those who criticize the build quality of this Jeep, what’s your car going to be doing when it is 20? I don’t care as much about build quality as I do about the design quality. If the vehicle was designed to last, that’s the quality I want. I take build quality out of the equation by buying used cars. If it wasn’t built well, it’s either been repaired or junked after 10 years.

I personally think it is a bad user design have the screw there, but I don’t mind the gaps themselves.

I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

Ezekiel 22:30

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This little article thingy was written by Some Guy sometime around 12:01 pm and has been carefully placed in the Driving category.

One Response to “Mind the Gap”

  1. Burrill Strong Says:

    I don’t care about gaps and whatnot. I care about whether or not it’s easy to fix/replace things when the time comes. On my (12-year-old) car the passenger side headlight bulb is easy to replace: just open the hood, reach down behind the headlight, and pull out the socket. But the driver side headlight — which I just had to replace a few weeks ago — required me to undo screws holding not just the headlight assembly but also the grille, awkwardly bend the grille sort of out of the way (as much as possible without breaking it), and pull the headlight assembly out through the opening that kinda of barely let it fit through if I turned it at just the right angle. (It would have come out more easily had I removed the grille entirely, and I could have just reached behind the headlight like the other side had I taken apart the air filter housing that blocks access to the headlight…but then it would have taken more work and more time than it already took.)

    So. It’s nice if a car looks pretty, but I’d rather a car be reasonably easy to maintain and to fix when it breaks. If I have to go through extra time-consuming nonsense just to do something as simple as replace a headlight bulb (which seems like a pretty normal piece of maintenance), the design is not great in the real world.

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