I have a 66 Ford that doesn’t think for itself.  It has no electronics, no computers, and no A/C.  I’m older than the car, so I’ve seen the technology grow.  As an old guy I still wonder if it’s all for the best. 

Good for emissions

I know cutting emissions is important, but what about all the other gadgets. Touch screen radios and GPS.  Electric seats, mirrors, cameras, and even self-parking.  Computers monitor and control almost all engine components. They tell you when your tire is flat.  Even the gas pedal sends an electrical signal to speed up the car.


Old cars are mechanical

It used to be everything was mechanical.  I work on cars some so I like the old style.  They’re easy to fix and you don’t need a laptop or expensive equipment to find out what’s wrong.

If my 66 gives me a problem I walk around the car for a look.  I can spot a flat tire without a dash light telling me.  If the engine quits, look under the hood.  Basically these cars need two things to run, gas and a spark from the distributor.

Not high tech, but it doesn't leave me stranded
Not high tech, but it doesn't leave me stranded

These systems are separate and can easily be traced back to the faulty component.

With the 66 it may be possible to rig the car to run long enough to get home even without the correct part.  I’ve fixed these old cars with wire, duct tape and pliers.  Once you’re off the road and in a safe spot you can get the right parts.

New cars will leave you stranded

The new car, although smarter, will leave you stranded.  Unless you are an expert with a trunk full of computer scanning gauges, you may as well start walking.  It may still just need gas and a spark, but the reason this is not happening is much harder to determine.


Computers check, verify, and control everything.  If the computer senses a problem, it shuts the car down.  You may get a warning on your digital dash such as “check engine”.  You may get other information as well, such as “battery”, “oil pressure” or “check radiator”.  Some even have a bright yellow symbol of a wrench that lights up when there is a problem.  I guess this means call a mechanic.

Call a tow truck

In any case, whatever system is bad and stopped the vehicle, has to be repaired or bypassed.  A guy like me can’t do this because any number of faulty sensors, switches, or fuses could cause a complete shutdown.  Even if you know there is no spark, there could be a hundred different things causing this.

I would rather have a dumb car that knows nothing than a new car that just tells me it’s broken. 

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