4 Reasons for the Death of America's Car Culture
2. No More Turning Wrenches In the Garage -- Cars are Inaccessible to Mr. Fix-Its.
Technology has made most cars into motorized computer-bots that are self-sufficient and inaccessible to everyday-tinkerers. Not only do its features practically require an IT degree to understand and fix, but also, the engine isn’t even available for tinkering. It was part of “Automotive Americana” to spend the afternoon in the garage, “workin’ on the car;” changing the oil, patching leaks, and making adjustments. Physical access to the car’s engine and underbody is almost impossible on most new vehicles. A few years ago, I took a 2009 Infiniti M35 to the local automotive service center to get the oil changed. What should have been a 15-minute stop turned into a 45-minute affair. The under-body of the car had an armor-like plastic cover that had to be removed to drain the oil. Removing the undertray took two men and 15 minutes. Of course, this tray could be removed if a self-assured, hobbyist mechanic really wanted to fiddle with the undercarriage, but, honestly, many would take one look at that undertray and give up due to the hassle. I do not blame them.
The engine bays are not much better. I very well know that the 2012 Ford Focus has a plastic engine cover reminiscent of a chastity belt. Good luck plucking up the courage to remove it.
True, there are some advantages to not fiddling with your car (in order to preserve the warranty or simply because one isn’t mechanically inclined), but even if you wanted to do something yourself, you are immediately faced with obstacles. These automotive "body guards" dampen the adventurous spirits that want to use their own hands to fix up their own car -- and take pride in their job well done. The "do-it-yourself" attitude is almost irrelevant when it comes to modern automobiles… they just aren’t accessible to the “modern man” anymore.