As a teenager, I used to enjoy buying and collecting vintage automotive engines. As I’ve grown older, my interests have changed. After all, they’re no longer on the show floor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but more in the background of my life.

One common misconception about the automotive world is that a machine is made by the machine shop and driven by the car dealer. The fact is that while you may see a BMW or a Mitsubishi at the dealership, the auto shops build it and then either sell or tow it back to the factory. What’s even more amazing is that the cost to build an engine is often significantly less than the cost to buy it. And the more miles that are added to your car, the more money it’ll cost you to keep it running.
Imagine buying a new car that has a new engine and tires every year or two. You’d definitely pay more than it cost to just have the car towed to the dealer. Do you really think this is a good deal? In most cases, not.

The automotive industry is comprised of people who live and breathe cars. They spend years designing and developing technology, coming up with new uses for old parts, and then getting the rest of the world accustomed to the technological advances made by the automobile industry. Public perception has always been that automobiles belong to the rich and privileged few. In some circles, the only way for a person to have a vehicle is to be a millionaire or the head of a large corporation. Even if you do own a vehicle, having to buy expensive parts every few years or monthly is quite expensive. Consider, for example, how much the parts cost over the life of your car when you build a new engine.

You might think that if the costs of parts continue to rise, the current economic state of the economy will cause the auto manufacturers to cut prices. In many cases, this is the wrong step to take. As long as the automobile industry continues to innovate, the costs of parts will continue to rise. In fact, for an enthusiast who builds and sells these engines, it may be a smart investment to invest in the parts themselves instead of building them.

While there are certainly better places to get parts than the local auto parts store, they may not be able to provide you with the parts you need. You may want to consider building your own engines. They’re not as expensive as traditional building, and you’ll be using materials you’re going to have around the house anyway. Investing in the correct part for your car will save you time and money, even in a slow economy.

What’s in automotive for you?