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Simple Times, Barbara Terry

Is it possible that today’s technology is limiting the enjoyable experiences associated with tinkering under the hood and manipulating the motor?  As I look back to a less complicated time growing up in Texas, I picture a rumble and tumble 10 year old girl sitting on a stack of phone books enabling her to see over the steering wheel of a 2 ton hay truck with a four on the floor.  It seemed so easy to pop the clutch to get the truck engine started so that we could get back to delivering hay or my favorite pouring gas into the carburetor in order to restart the engine after running out of gas. Remember when the mechanics fixed your car? Now they just replace the part(s) that the computer tells them are defective. As I got older, I learned to change the oil, replace spark plugs, change the thermostat and performing other routine maintenance functions. Today’s engines are so jam packed with electronics and sensors that we don’t do this much anymore.  You don’t get the same rewarding feeling of knowing your engine and taking care of it by taking it to the dealership. The “factory recall” has become a modern day phenomenon. It seems too often that we find ourselves inconvenienced as we are forced to visit the local dealership because of a factory recall.  Factory Recalls are in fact a manufacturer’s apology for being technologically incorrect. It is difficult to admit that there has been a major screw up in the factory as a result of a failure to properly engineer your complex modern vehicle and please excuse the resulting major pain in the butt and possible endangerment that we are causing you. Growing up in a time without all of today’s modern bells and whistles when we used our brains instead of an on board computer, I do not remember my parents having to take any of our vehicles in for such a repair.  Many of these defects occur in vehicles that are a first year model in the market. My advice is to shy away from buying the first year of the new model if you can. Let the manufacturers deal with getting all of the kinks out of this new design; that way you will be able to enjoy it more on the road instead of staring at it while it sits all alone up on the repair lift.  Perhaps that is one reason why we love our classic vehicles along with the fact that they remind us of our youth. This is why I ooohh and ahhed the other day as I spotted a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport triple black convertible driving down the freeway with the top down watching the slobbering dog sitting in the passenger seat!  The technology that we all benefit from today is amazing; however, I do have to say that in some respects it contributes to the throw away and don’t fix it lifestyle most of us lead today in this fast paced world in which we live and drive.

Personally, I am grateful for what we have today and yet I miss the simpler times!

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