Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Look Back: Cars

February 16, 2012

We recently received an e-mail about a 101-year-old lady who still drives her 1930 Straight 8 Packard. She lives in Michigan and her name is Margaret. The car is beautiful and she keeps a little red towel very handy to put on the running board as she gets in and out so she will not get it dirty. She has a “polishing day” and invites her friends over to help. They have a great time with this. She even changes the oil and spark plugs herself? What a lady!

Sixty years ago we all changed our oil and spark plugs ourselves. Not everyone had a garage to keep their car in, including me. When the temperature was around zero, my car left outdoors would not start, even though I changed the oil every thousand miles and changed the spark plugs every ten thousand miles. There was always a worry that it would not start, especially when I had to leave home for work at 4 a.m. I would keep a light bulb on under the oil pan then later I had a dipstick heater to keep the oil warm.

Younger people now have no idea of all the things that we had to do back then to have a car you could depend on. I changed the brushes in the alternator and the generator. I even put on brake pads. It was important to do your own maintenance. Now there is no way I could do any of that, mainly due to all the new technology. The equipment that mechanics have now is mind-boggling. They have thousands of dollars tied up to do diagnostics and the computer programs are full of information for them. Now we depend on good mechanics to do all of this for us.

A good mechanic is also a good friend. Count your blessings if you have one.

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