08 February 2010

Time to go back to basics?

My first car was a Vauxhall Chevette and I loved it. If anything went wrong, I could fix it myself. Under the bonnet, all the various bits were easily recognisable, you could get at everything without having to dismantle the entire vehicle and parts were readily available at a reasonable price.

Over the years, automotive technology has advanced to the point where when I lift the bonnet, I can see where the oil and coolant goes, but most of the other stuff is well-hidden and shoe-horned in to spaces that even a mouse would have difficulty accessing.

When I take my car to the garage for a service, they attach it to a computer, which tells them which bits need tweeking or replacing. The car has lots of clever electronic gazoobies which manage the engine and breaking, and the throttle cable is a thing of the past. We now have all of these lovely things which make our cars 'better', even if they cost a small fortune to replace when they go wrong.

I always said that the more bits you add, the more there is to go wrong, and go wrong they do, and it's always expensive.

Today, Toyota has announced that it may be recalling 300,000 vehicles because of a problem with the anti-lock braking system, which appears not to work on icy or bumpy roads (that's the UK knackered then!). They've already recalled thousands because of a problem with sticking throttles.

Perhaps we need to go back to basics, get rid of the fancy devices and just give us something that works.

The first step should be to ensure that all of the bulbs can be replaced by the driver, at the roadside, with no tools and in under 2 minutes. I laughed at my friend when he eventually called the AA to change a headlamp, until I saw that you actually need to be a 4-stone contortionist to get at it. It took the AA man half an hour to do it. The next time a bulb went, my friend took the car to the garage where they put it on a ramp to change it. What a crap design!

1 comment:

Oz said...

I had to laugh. As I was Reading that, a Megane drove past with its alarm blaring.