This drives me nuts, and caught a good example of it square in the chops today.
I own a 1999 Toyota Camry that has been a good car, not excessive to maintain, though I have replaced the timing belt and all four struts at not insignificant cost. That’s OK, those things wear out, and I expect to replace them.
But the things that torque my jars, are the little things that don’t need to wear out, but are intentionally designed to do just that. Today’s case in point; the gear shift cable. I backed out of a parking spot, and suddenly, I could not change gear. The shifter (an automatic) was completely disconnected, and I was stuck in park halfway out of my parking space.*
A good Samaritan with more mechanical knowledge than I popped the hood and located the connector between the gear shift cable and the lever on the transmission. It was broken. Why? Because it is made of plastic. That’s right; the cable is made of steel, the transmission lever is made of steel, but the #%@&! connector that links them is made of fucking plastic!
Now this did not happen by accident. These parts are engineered and tested to destruction a thousand times before they go into cars, so the designers know exactly how long they will last. So it is no oversight that something which gets pushed and pulled dozens of times per day and subjected to significant mechanical stress was made of plastic that will fail. Intentionally.
So I call up the dealer to see if I can replaced the $%#@&! plastic connector and be on my way. But NOOOoooooo!! you cannot just replace the connector, you have to replace the whole furshlugginer cable assembly, from the gear shift handle next to the driver’s seat all the way to the lever on the side of the transmission. Parts cost? $183 Labor? $210 Knowledge that you have intentionally and with forethought screwed someone out of $400 unnecessarily? Priceless.