Originally Posted by murcielagoGTR
i like to do my own "wrenching" on my rides. is this possible on the Elise, or will i get to know my dealer/ mechanic very well,
If you can maintain your Fiat, you can handle the Elise. It has a standard Toyota engine. Most other things are fairly simple, and any decent home mechanic can handle it. You can even download the factory Service Manual from Lotus Cars USA (LCU) for $25.
If you want to get into modifying the car - things that will require a change in the ECU, that will be very complicated, but if you plan on using the car as is, then you never bother with that.
The only added difficult with the Elise is how you have to jack up the car - you have to drop the under-tray (under the engine) to gain access to the places that you can place the jack stands. It's not hard to do - I back my car up on Rhino Ramps and undo the small bolts that hold the under-tray in place, then put the car back on the ground. Once that's done, it's not much different than any other car.
The engine has a timing chain, so there is no timing belt that has to be changed as part of the regular maintenance (one very
good reason that it doesn't' have a Honda engine).
Oil changes are simple - pull the pan plug and change the easily accessible filter - just like any other car (actually simpler than on my Honda or my Miata).
Repairs to things like the radiator (replacement) will require removing the front clam - I haven't had to do that, but from what I've read on this forum, it only takes a couple of hours to remove and replace. But you also shouldn't have to do anything like that for many, many years.
Really, the maintenance requirement for the Elise is not much difference than any other modern car - simpler than most. You will probably want the first (1,000 mile) check up done at a dealer - they go over the car checking everything, and dump the ECU memory (to validate the warranty). The 1,000 mile check up will run you around $300, but other than that, DIY is not a problem.
My car is two year old. It's been to the dealer for the 1,000 mile check up, and for a recall (shift linkage on very early cars). That's it. That's probably all it will ever be there.