Expert accuses auto manufacturers of designing car parts to fail when warranty expires

@beardenjosh/TikTok Gorodenkoff/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I believe this 100 percent’: Driver accuses auto manufacturers of designing car parts to fail when warranty expires

‘No wonder why as soon as I finished my last payment, the check engine light went on.’


Braden Bjella


Cars have been part of conversations about “planned obsolescence” since the early days.

In fact, many historians trace the origin of the concept to General Motors. Around the 1920s, cars had reached a saturation level in American markets, and the vehicles were built of high enough quality that drivers were not replacing them with regularity.

To encourage sales, GM started to number their cars by year, encouraging “a certain dissatisfaction with past models compared with the new one” among drivers, to quote then-GM president Alfred P. Sloan.

Since then, “planned obsolescence” has been a major topic of discussion in the automotive industry, especially at a time when people want to use and consume less. For example, one mechanic showed the ways that certain car manufacturers encourage the practice by making buying replacement parts difficult or impossible, while another cited the tendency of some automakers to restrict repairs altogether.

Now, a user on TikTok has sparked discussion after alleging that these automakers are not only OK with this practice, but that they’ve hired people to do this intentionally.

There’s a reason everything breaks when your warranty ends

In a video with over 70,000 views as of Saturday, TikTok user Josh (@beardenjosh) claims he knows someone who works for a major auto manufacturer designing parts that he knows will break.

“His job, and he gets paid very well, is to design parts to fail at the end of the warranty period,” Josh states. “So, for example, a lot of parts for cars used to be made with metal, and his job as an engineer…is to design that part with plastic pieces so that [they break] by the time the warranty period ends—whatever it is, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years.”

Josh continues that he’s almost sure most auto manufacturers have a similar position.

“I’m pretty confident just through conversations with him that this is an actual position at the majority of the auto manufacturers to design the parts to fail at the end of the warranty period so they can actually make money off of you then,” he says.

Is it true?

There’s little evidence to suggest that automakers have a person whose job it is to make parts that break right after the warranty expires.

Given the distance in driving times, driving styles, terrain, and more between drivers across the country, it would be difficult to create parts that would have failure points that could be applied across all models at the same time—which would be a requirement for the position Josh is describing.

Many internet discussions on the topic of planned obsolescence in the auto industry note that, while cars are made with cheaper parts now, they are also significantly more complicated, which could in turn lead to issues with the vehicles presenting themselves sooner than in previous generations.

In short, more things are being put into cars, and many of those things are made with cheaper materials. Whether this is being done with malicious intent, or simply to save money, is up for debate.

@beardenjosh Replying to @Trent 🚺♓️(she/her) #car #cars #carsoftiktok #mechanic #warranty #cardealership #dealership #dealershiplife #dealershiptiktok #tiktok #fail #epicfail ♬ Spooky, quiet, scary atmosphere piano songs – Skittlegirl Sound

Commenters agree with the conspiracy

In the comments section, many users insisted that what Josh was saying must be true.

“Every Industry is Corrupt. It occurred to me recently just WHY they stopped making my vehicle. It’s a BEAST! it didn’t break down enough. 9 years later, still no issues,” alleged a user.

“I live in Indiana and Whirlpool is just north of us in Michigan. I had a customer that’s an engineer. Said they do the exact same thing. They engineered to fail and he works there,” stated a second. 

“No wonder why as soon as I finished my last payment, the check engine light went on,” said a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Josh via website contact form and TikTok comment.

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