Saturday, November 3, 2012

Back in the day

By the time I was 16, I had rebuilt an engine. I had spent hours under cars changing out clutches and rear ends. I knew how all engines operated and was unafraid to pull the heads, oil pans and manifolds off of one. I could rebuild carburetors and distributors. My hands were stained by oil and grease. At 17 I was working at a Texaco station where I learned about front end alignment and brake repair. You could say that I was well versed in the working of the automobile engine...

Yesterday, we bought a new Altima to replace our old Altima. A very nice car and we spent some time going over all of the technical details before we bought it. Then, as I was waiting for my wife to come out of the showroom, I realized that I had never seen the engine. We had taken a test drive but at no point had I looked under the hood. We had actually purchased a car without seeing the engine! Back in the couldn't buy a car without looking at the engine! It was usually the first thing you did when you spotted a car that interested you. If you drove by a car dealership on a Saturday morning you would find almost all of the cars with their hoods up and someone peering into the dark cavity that held the engine. I think all males were indoctrinated at an early age to know how to lean over a fender and utter wise comments on what they were seeing. I know I certainly did.

So, I opened the hood and looked at OUR engine. I didn't recognize a thing. Today's cars don't use oil and never need coolant. The batteries are sealed and electronics take care of all engine operations. I closed the hood and I'm sure it will be years before I am curious enough to open it again.

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