Tech Stuff

Random Rants on Current Issues

Do you fear the engine cover? Of course not. You work on late model vehicles every day, and you’re accustomed to popping them off in order to gain access to a variety of vacuum lines, spark plugs, sensors, etc.

But did you know that a bunch of “do-it-yourselfers” are afraid of these things? Apparently, many car owners assume that these covers serve a purpose and are afraid to try to remove them, thinking that they’ll damage something or void their warranty.

Plastic engine covers serve no purpose other than to enhance underhood appearance. They’re cosmetic items... period. They serve as a fancy hat to cover up the busywork of sensors, actuators, coils and harnesses and it’s an easy way for the car makers to slap on a logo or engine model/displacement message. They serve no other purpose.

We’re certainly not the first to point this out. Haynes Books recently sent out a tongue-in-cheek release commenting on the same issue. They even offered a few suggestions for applications, including serving as an emergency kitty litter box, a serving tray, etc.

Here are a few more ideas: Turn it upside-down, glue it to a workbench and use it as a tray for holding bolts, nuts, washers and clips. Or attach a strap to the backside and use it as a face shield when your coworkers start a food fight. Or let a small dog or cat use it as a snow sled. Or strap one on each foot and use them as snowshoes. Or better yet, just toss the darned thing into the recycle bin.

The engine bay of the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport.
<p>The engine bay of the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport.</p>

Of course, we can’t do that, because the car owner probably wants to keep it in place to keep the engine bay looking original. But we can dream. The next time you pop one off, maybe you’ll chuckle to yourself when you think of this.

Drivers really need education

Making fun of TV commercials is easy fodder. There are so many inane and really stupid commercials that relate to automotive subjects that it’s almost embarrassing.

Take the example of a current ad from an insurance company that depicts the insurer “taking care of” a hapless and apparently helpless teen driver who “had a flat tire.” Here, the dumber-than-dumb teen seems completely perplexed in the middle of the night because one of his car’s tires had lost inflation. Rather than grabbing the jack and the lug wrench from his trunk and taking care of the problem, he naturally expects someone else to handle the issue, and his mom applauds the insurer for coming to the aid of her “little baby boy.”

Are you kidding me? Have we reached the point where a physically capable driver can’t change a flat tire? Shouldn’t everyone who obtains a driver’s license be expected to learn this simple task? It should be mandatory. It’s called self-sufficiency.

Apparently, people today expect everything to be done for them. ■

Read more Straight Talk editorials here:

Shop Referrals: A Shop's Got to Know its Limitations

Why Your Shop Should Worry About Faulty Airbags

A Turbocharged Pet Peeve

Let's Defend the Fender Cover!

Thank You Means a Lot

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