One of my favorite topics to talk about, when it comes to Ferrari service, is how much has changed over the years, really the last few decades, that has made servicing these cars so much easier. Many things are very different in today's Ferraris over the previous generation models and I want to mention some of the biggest differences that have made Ferrari maintenance a whole new ball game.
First, let’s identify the timing belt and how later model configurations, along with the introduction of the timing chain, drastically changed Ferrari service. In the early Ferraris, as we all know, the need for a timing belt replacement often required the engine to have to come completely out of the car. This, as you can image, resulted in a much higher service bill. When Ferrari changed to the 360 model, they configured the car so that there is an access panel behind the seats allowing entry to the timing belts; I don’t even have to comment on what this did to ownership costs. Besides, the cost of services was reduced even more when Ferrari went away from the timing belt and started with timing chains. Why? The chains rarely need to be changed because the metal doesn’t wear out as easily as the rubber does.
Saving money and Ferraris are two words not often associated with one another, but this is the case with transmission changes over the years. Ferrari made a change in later model Ferraris moving from an F1 transmission to a dual-clutch F1 transmission. A dual-clutch transmission in the later Ferraris is much smoother and easier when shifting which means that the clutch will not wear out nearly as much. Previous generations, such as the 355 or 308, have a clutch that is much more cumbersome and wears much faster; and any Ferrari owner knows, the clutch is not the cheapest item to replace.
One other area that has changed over the years is the interior functions and switches. As with anything, as technology has improved, so too has Ferrari functionality. In years past, some of these switches have been completely unreliable and very expensive to fix and we are starting to see that change.
Unfortunately, there is still one service area that remains to be a thorn in my side and that is the notorious Ferrari leather and sticky button issue on the interiors. A brand new Ferrari today that is exposed to excessive sunlight will have leather shrinkage on the dash just like Ferraris of old. In fact, there is so much more leather in these newer models that it is a much greater concern. The one positive with the sticky buttons is that, over the years, cleaning product has evolved and there is finally soap that will handle the stickiness without damaging the interiors.
In my opinion, owning a Ferrari is much more doable today than it has ever been because of some of the technology and changes Ferrari has made to their cars.
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