Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where has the temperature gauge gone?

People know less and less about the cars they drive. There's no need to deal with the technology and the mechanics of a car today any more. Computers and electronics will tell the driver when something is wrong. Not even the simplest maintenance or checking work needs to be done any more. When have you last time looked after the oil in your modern car? Why should you? If something is missing you'll get a text message in your onboard display ....
But isn't this sad too? Old cars do usually had a number of dials and gauges telling you about oil pressure, oil temperature, water temperature, energy household (volt and ampere gauges). And in the old times this was often crucial, for example because the cooling ventilator had to be manually operated if there was one at all. If the temperature was getting too high, then the driver had to do something! And the combination of dials told a lot about the health of the engine. Hot water and cold oil is something different than hot water and hot oil. No oil pressure, better stop the engine quickly. If the water stays cold and the engine oil gets hotter and hotter something else must be wrong. Etc. etc. No surprise that in the early times of motoring people needed to have a pretty good understanding of technology and engineering. In the first half of the 20iest century these skills were even checked when you wanted to have a permission to drive a car. Modern technology makes things easier but also much more boring.

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