Bak Ta Lo wrote:The car analogy works well for espresso machines. You can buy a Toyota Corolla that will take you from A to B just as effectively as a luxury sports car that costs many times more. And I bet that sports car needs a lot more maintenance than a Corolla! But, if I could afford a Ferrari I would get one in a second.
There's a lot more to this than meets the eye. As a life-long racer (SCCA C sedan & FV, VSCCA Lotus 7 S1, SVRA H-mod sports racer), I and every other driver with anywhere close to my experience can lap any track as fast or faster in a Corolla sedan than most street drivers can in any Ferrari. Most owners of high end performance cars (like most drivers in general) have no idea how to use the capabilities of their machines and/or how much it takes to maintain them properly. Many get into serious trouble from trying to maintain appearances and would have been much better off (and had both more fun and more money) investing in high performance driving school and a Miata than in a 911 Turbo or a Ferrari. As a result, there are a lot of high performance cars on the used market that have been damaged but repaired on a marginal budget and/or maintained on a marginal budget. They "need" restoration to be fully functional and reliable again (unless, as is too often the case, they're simply not restorable to perfection at any reasonable cost).
Hipo cars were meant to be driven, and they do not tolerate inexpert driving or being left in the garage for weeks to months at a time, only to be dragged out and flogged at a "track event". For example, leaving bushings and bearings under static load at the same point causes deformation, no matter how slight. And each time a car is parked for weeks, that deformation is in a different location around the interface between shaft and bearing. So tolerances loosen up at bushed mounting points in suspensions etc, and some hipo motors actually start leaking oil (e.g. around rear main seals) if left sitting for long periods of time. And too much power simply helps those who don't know how to use it spin out, force themselves off the proper line, and generally waste time trying to use horsepower instead of skill to go faster. They also burn through clutches, brakes, suspension parts etc at a very rapid clip.
Espresso machines are no different - "high performance" models with multiple adjustments require knowledge, skill, experience & maintenance to operate well and consistently. Focusing on a single degree change in brew temp when your shots gush out like the contents of an irritated colon is simply wrong. Cheaping out on maintenance eventually turns a fine machine into a pile of problems and complaints. A skilled barista can pull a much tastier shot from a properly functioning SB machine than an overconfident, under-experienced tyro can get out of a Slayer or Synesso. And after being abused by such owners for even a few years, many excellent machines "need" restoration by their next owners when they would otherwise have been fine.
For those who haven't seen the recommended maintenance on good machines, take a peek at the every-6-month schedule for a GS3
and the annual schedule for the same machine
. Too many owners of wonderful machines follow my father-in-law's rules of maintenance: ignore recommendations because they're only made to squeeze money out of you, and only add what runs so low that the device stops working. Ignoring early warning signs (e.g. minor leak, funny noise etc) is probably the most common cause of premature failure. And not knowing what's normal is probably #2, in my experience.
So don't be like my father-in-law, who ran out of oil in his 3 year old 735 and lunched his engine on the Atlantic City Expressway after ignoring the oil pressure warning light for weeks. Even though he bought it new, he insisted on having his vehicle "maintained" by a fellow septuagenarian at a gas station near his house because his "mechanic" subscribed to his maintenance theories. The oil pan drain plug was so rounded off that it couldn't be torqued properly, so he must have spread several quarts around Philly drop by drop.