Car engine design is so clever,yet so stupid.

Recently, I watched a friend changing some drive belts for me (the ones linking the engine to the alternator and the water pump).

I watched as he strained to get his hand in to a confined space, at a contorted angle to apply a spanner to a tight screw.

As I watched, thinking about skinned knuckles, I recalled cars of my youth. They were far less sophisticated engines, with all sorts of potential failures and difficulties but if they went wrong, it wasn’t so bad.

Any reasonably adept man, with a few tools could get at the source of the problem, diagnose it swiftly and fix it with ease.

Nowadays, cars drive more smoothly, accelerate better, have improved fuel consumption and are less likely to break down.

However, when they do breakdown, few of us have the Computer diagnostic systems, which are sometimes needed to make a diagnosis and even if we can diagnose the fault, we don’t have the tools, often specifically designed to deal with a particular feature on a particular model of the car.

Even when it is something as prosaic as changing a drive belt, this is certainly not for the faint hearted. So many extra features have been incorporated into the operation of the engine, whilst keeping space and weight at a premium, that such parts are virtually inaccessible.

The people who design these engine compartments deserve admiration for their achievements, in the face of such restrictions. The design of special tools, often seemingly to prevent non-franchisee’s repairing faults, is not so praiseworthy.

In fact, it occurred to me, whilst watching my friend, that such clever designers should really be able to find a way to allow any mechanic access to all parts of the engine, by being able to detach and re-attach the side and front sections of the engine compartment.

This is not an engineering impossibility.

It would be very easy to achieve in principle.

The only obstacle is a motor industry commited to maximising sales and profits.

The same motor industry that has built in obsolescence and Franchising rights.

The same industry that has persuaded politicians to enact Laws to get older cars off the road and promote the purchase of newer, shinier models of the same basic vehicle.



Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: