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Young people can't fix things anymore (and what it means for our hobby)


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This is from the UK, but I think it applies in the US, too: "Young people in Britain have become a lost generation who can no longer mend gadgets and appliances because they have grown up in a disposable world, the professor giving this year’s Royal Institution Christmas lectures has warned. Danielle George, Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering, at the University of Manchester, claims that the under 40s expect everything to ‘just work’ and have no idea what to do when things go wrong. Unlike previous generations who would ‘make do and mend’ now young people will just chuck out their faulty appliances and buy new ones."

There are two likely lessons from this, I think. First, it will be increasingly important for classic car clubs to provide members with training in basic car maintenance and simple repairs. Stuff that used to be common knowledge, such as how to adjust a carburetor or give your car a tune-up, will increasingly be knowledge that club members don't have but need. Car clubs can fill this gap. (Some do this already, certainly, but I think it will be more important over time.)

Second, there will be an increasing need for classic car maintenance and repair shops just to keep old cars on the road. If owners can do less and less, they'll have to turn more and more to professional shops to do a lot of the work.

Food for thought, at least.

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This is not a new situation. With cars it started at least 35 years ago when transistors and computer chips created the "module", which was not repaired but rather replaced. By the mid 90s almost all cars were fuel injected and computer controlled. I remember buying a 95 Chevy Caprice and thinking I wouldn't be able to work on it if something went wrong. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was the "young people" who had it all figured out and could teach me. It is true today that no one including trained mechanics can "mend" a computerized component and I doubt that anyone out there does much shade tree work on a newer car.

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Maybe I wasn't clear, but the implication I was suggesting is that because younger people aren't used to repairing things -- as you say, they don't use things that are designed to be repaired, so it's not an inclination they have developed -- they are less likely to know how or to be inclined to repair old cars. Fewer and fewer have the experience of fixing mechanical things. They're less likely to have the tools or a basic idea of what to do, because it's not something that they encounter on a regular basis. Because old cars regularly need fixing, as we all know, someone is going to have to do it. Either it will be owners who have no background but learn it themselves somehow, or it will be shops that do it for them, or some mixture of both. Or so it seems to me.

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Products, cars included are being designed so that they cannot be repaired by kids and mechanics. Instead of parts being fixed the parts are being replaced. Special tools are designed by the manufacturers that are not available to the public ( example Bosch ). Kids are not to blame,manufacturers are. Wayne

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Sorry, but people who don't think that newer cars can be repaired or worked on at home simply haven't tried. Yes, it does require different tools ans skills, but MANY people modify newer cars today. In many cases, it's even easier - with the right tools one can change timing, advance curve, and fuel map without even getting your hands dirty. Software is available to visually display the 3D fuel map and make changes simply by dragging a point on the screen. Yes, packaging constraints has made access more difficult, but that's the fault of CAFE laws.

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Saying that the under 40's can't fix anything is like saying that anyone over 60 can't use a computer and yet here I am at 37 with more cars, motorcycles and tools than most repair shops and here many of you are, over 60 and comfortable managing this vast world wide web. When soldiers came back from WWII and started to get away from the farming that their families did everyone thought the country would starve. 70 years later and with a population that has doubled we are still producing enough food for the country. Walk into any repair shop in the country and I will bet that the majority of the workers are under 40. The older guys, if they were any good have likely opened up they own shops and hired some young blood.

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Another interesting post.

The one tool necessary to work on cars today is some sort of a computer or reader - that is the 9/16" wrench of today. It can be done.

However, the "real estate" of a modern engine compartment makes repairs, when necessary, very difficult. At least compared to a '57 Chevy with a 6 cylinder engine.

Cars today are a lot different than cars 50 years ago. Today, if you dont get more than 100,000 miles on a car with no problems it is a "bad" car. That never happened on cars years ago. If you were so inclined it was possible to make your own repairs with a very modest number of tools.

Also, today there is not the car culture that existed years ago. That has been taken over by computers today as the "subject of interest".

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Wow!! stereotype much?? Break your car/house/AC and see who shows up to fix it - I doubt he's much over 40.

Second point: - What are you doing about it? Just griping about "Kids these days" like grandpa in a 50's era TV show?? Or making a difference??

How many "kids" have you brought into your shop? Do you know any "kids" with no mechanical skill? Have you tried to teach them?

And Thirdly: When was the last time you took a british college professor's word as gold??

Finally: No better way to chase off prospective members and hobbyists than to say things like "under 40's expect....." Hell, I'm 45 and that P&$$%s me off. I am resisting the urge to start the "all the things Old people can't do" thread..... Instead I'm going to give my 19 year old a hand with his Morris Minor - maybe he can teach me something.

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WOW ! ! !

This post hits both ends of the age group....

Fact is that MOST younger guy don't have much mechanical back-round, or ANY knowledge of internal engine BASIC theory that I did when I was in high school ( mid-late 50's) , but neither did 90% of the guys in my Senior Class.

Same % probably applies now...

But that doesn't mean there isn't STILL THAT 10% who do..........

I had a High school Junior spend a couple weeks at the shop re-assembling a Vintage race car, and was impressed with his 'natural' skill, and depth of the basics ... He is currently an automotive engineering student at Perdue University .... ALL IS NOT LOST ..he is not alone

As to 'fixin things'...use to be things were made well ... now most stuff is plastic, or just cheaply made. You no longer would fix a water pump in a washing machine ...even if you knew how. Same applies to a lot of todays manufactured items and components ... they are engineered to be cheap to make...not to be practical to repair

Just like I can service a Frontenac head , which was long before my time, ... there WILL be a later generation that will be able to do the same,50 years from now

.

Dave Perry OldSchool Restorations of North Alabama

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Don't forget the "boy racers" as we call them, spending their fortune on their turbocharged pocket rockets. Smoking the tires is a popular activity. Large gatherings of shiny rockets are common in Christchurch, for example. It is my guess these fellows are no different to "our" generation with their muscle cars of the '60s and '70s and hotted up Anglias, Cortinas, Escorts and so on in this country. Young men have always raced their ride, whether horse or car. There is not much difference there.

But will they have a go at fixing their bicycle? Don't have one, never did. And if they did it was probably so cheap it is basically unfixable without lots of parts swapping.

Fixing things is often very difficult these days. They are plastic and click together. Disassembly breaks them - they are not made to be maintainable.

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I turn down more work on the older cars that I specialize in simply because I don't have the time to take it all.

Its not just the kids (who don't seem to know anything mechanical) but mostly lazy old rich guys.

I like to work for lazy old rich guys because they don't mind paying, but I am only one man.

Since I retired I don't know how I ever found the time for my previous career.

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Its not just the kids (who don't seem to know anything mechanical) but mostly lazy old rich guys.

^^^This. It pains me to pay anyone to do something that I know I can do myself (especially on the car or house), and when I do, rarely is it done to my standards, but given my work schedule and limited free time, I find myself at least THINKING about it. The reality is that I have som many projects now that I need to pick my battles. Fortunately, I'm at a stage in my life when I do have more cash than free time - and the time remaining clock is counting down all too rapidly! I figure I've got twenty good years left if I'm lucky, so I need to finish at least one car a year (not to mention the lifelong restoration of the 300 year old log house). :eek:

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I don't live in a metro area but there is no shortage of gear heads around here of all ages.

Since the rage these days, for young men especially, is TRUCKS I can't think of one who isn't capable of wrenching on their own vehicles.

Maybe it's different in cities........ :confused:

I don't always like working on my cars either but I do because I like to eat too....... :P

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I agree with many of the statements in the previous posts. I have always said that if it's humanly possible to put something together once I can get it apart and put it back together myself. There are things, sometimes though, designed not to come apart. I feel in those instances that many times it is possible to figure out a "go around". You might have to adapt a part, weld a part, modify a part or even use newer "joining" technologies to put something back together. My issue is usually if an item is still available. Do I have to find a way to replace an obsolete part? I learned a lot from my dad and he always told me to look to the manuals if I had a question. Good advice that I have used all my life. I got to be very good at troubleshooting. When I wanted to learn a little more about body work I took an auto body course. I have always invited anyone who wants to learn to come and work with me on any project I have going. I have had neighborhood kids stop and start asking questions. I keep working but I also share a little knowledge. Another issue is cost. I recently had a washing (laundry) machine that was making many odd sounds and struggling to get through the spin cycle. After some research I determined it needed new bearings for the tub. Upon further research I determined the parts ($650) and time were not worth it. I purchased a new machine and had it delivered in two days for a cost of $550. I thought to myself.... I have joined a "throw away" society. I know I could have fixed it but it was cheaper to replace with a new one.

Bottom line is that there is always someone who wants to know "how" something works or was made. Those people, like many of us, will be keeping these wonderful hobbies / crafts alive.

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Good post, Steve

My dryer is almost 45 years old. Every once in a while, it's spread across the basement floor to the point where it's unrecognizable. It's fixable, though, and never costs too much. It's getting harder and harder to find parts. The nice thing is that there are no electronics on it. The last part I bought, a gas valve, I got off of ebay. Stores wanted $150 for the part, and the used one was $15 (free shipping). It's getting to be a challenge just to see how long we can keep it going. Kind of like that 1996 Saturn I owned, which had just short of 300,000 miles on it before it needed everything all at once.

As for bicycles, I can't count the number of times I brought a bike home that was sitting out by the curb. Sometimes all they needed were new tires, and sometimes a new wheel. A quick trip to the bike store quickly revealed that the cost of a wheel, two tires and tubes cost more than buying a brand new bike at Target!!! Of course, there's always that diamond in the rough quality bike that's worth it to make the necessary repairs.

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Bottom line is that there is always someone who wants to know "how" something works or was made. Those people, like many of us, will be keeping these wonderful hobbies / crafts alive.

Excellent post, Steve!

We had an issue with a dryer some time ago too. Like West's it went into the spin cycle and tried to turn over. We open the door and noticed that the tub was setting sideways. After figuring out which end opened, we located the little plastic bushing that had jumped out of its holder. Nothing a little "duct tape" wouldn't fix. (I'm old school)

About 2 years later, the starter switch (push release) would not engage. Being in a hurry, I just pulled the switch out, unhooked the wires, taped them just a bit apart, and pushed them together, to energize, for a couple of weeks before I found a replacement. (I carry good insurance just in case:cool:)

Now, that I think about it, maybe that's why people don't want to ride in my old cars with me???? (I've seen his repairs/jerry rigs!)

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I first noticed this about 20 years ago. I had to get rid of some cars, all fixable but needing work. Found out I could sell a running car for $2500 easier than I could sell the same car not running for $500. Nobody seemed to know how to fix anything or be interested in learning, and this was young guys inquiring about old cars.

Somebody told me that young guys today know whatever they do for a living just well enough to get by, and whatever sports are on TV and that is about the size of it for 9 out of 10.

When I was a kid 50 or 60 years ago you could walk down the street on a Saturday and see this guy tuning up his car, the neighbor planting a garden, the next guy building a boat or a painting a picket fence etc etc. Nearly everyone had some kind of skills, whether it was building ham radios or fixing things around the house, or something to do with cars or machinery. Do the same today and you see nobody, they are all inside watching sports on TV and playing video games.

I realize there are exceptions but that is what they are, exceptions.

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Good post, Steve

My dryer is almost 45 years old. Every once in a while, it's spread across the basement floor to the point where it's unrecognizable. It's fixable, though, and never costs too much. It's getting harder and harder to find parts. The nice thing is that there are no electronics on it. The last part I bought, a gas valve, I got off of ebay. Stores wanted $150 for the part, and the used one was $15 (free shipping). It's getting to be a challenge just to see how long we can keep it going. Kind of like that 1996 Saturn I owned, which had just short of 300,000 miles on it before it needed everything all at once.

As for bicycles, I can't count the number of times I brought a bike home that was sitting out by the curb. Sometimes all they needed were new tires, and sometimes a new wheel. A quick trip to the bike store quickly revealed that the cost of a wheel, two tires and tubes cost more than buying a brand new bike at Target!!! Of course, there's always that diamond in the rough quality bike that's worth it to make the necessary repairs.

Yep, my dryer is only about 30 years old and I probably replace something every other year. The parts are always cheaper than a new dryer and I don't trust much of the 'new stuff' anymore.

The 'throw away' society is becoming a problem, however, as the companies produce goods to match... i.e.; so cheap in price and so cheap in quality that you do just throw it away after a year or so. A 4 position switch on my heater failed. I took it apart and looked at it. I can't fathom how they were able to get a 15A at 250V rating as the metal used was so thin and narrow... it looked more like a fuse than contacts! When I tried to find a replacement switch I found out it wasn't made anymore and unless I wanted 20,000 I wasn't going to be able to get one. The nearest possible replacement was $16.00 with $9.00 in shipping.... thus $25.00 to repair. I paid $39.99 for the heater. In this case I'll just wire in a 2 position switch and leave it at that but it does speak volumes about how the parts costing more than the item.

More and more I buy old stuff off Craigslist and refurbish it for my use. I find the old stuff to be of much better quality once it is restored. Example... I bought a ceiling fan a couple of years back and I bought the most expensive one Home Depot carried. It barely moves any air because the fan blades are so thin that as it spins they flatten out and lose pitch. I ended up taking it back and buying one off Craigslist that was made back in the 70s. Moves several times the amount of air.

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Everything has become disposable, even in my 26 years I have seen this. Everything is disposable, cars, houses, consumer goods, and relationships. Items built in the 1980's could be repaired, however, most of the cars, etc. can no longer be repaired cheaply. I joined this site when I was 19, I have been into old cars since I was about 2, when I worked with my grandfather on his 1921 Chevy (that I now own). I was lucky enough to have a grandfather who was from the WWII era (born 1916). He grew up during the Depression and had to fix his own stuff. People who are slightly younger than I, mostly have grandparents born in the 1940's and even 1950's, most of those folks didn't have to work on their own stuff and grew up in a consumer society.

I also grew up during another Depression (2008), most of the people in my age group do not have a car, and would rather go on the internet, most of the people I know around my age can barely afford to survive or even afford one car. Most, don't even know how to check oil.The first thought in my mind when I turned 16 was a drivers license, the day I turned 16 I received my license, my sister (who is 8 years younger) waited until she was almost 17 and this was only after my mom forced her because she was tired of driving my sis. My sis left to her own devices would still not have a license at 18 as most of her friends.

Edited by 1948Lincoln (see edit history)
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Guest my3buicks

The fact remains newer items have a longer useable life than the old items without needing repairs. Could you imagine a 50s or 60s car going 100,000 miles with absolutely no repair except for standard oil changes etc.? That's the norm nowadays. People don't need to do the repairs because items last longer.

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The fact remains newer items have a longer useable life than the old items without needing repairs. Could you imagine a 50s or 60s car going 100,000 miles with absolutely no repair except for standard oil changes etc.? That's the norm nowadays. People don't need to do the repairs because items last longer.

After replacing two control units on my one year old expensive refrigerator I have to disagree. While I'm at it, one of my buddies who has a aversion for anything new enjoys having me on about my new appliance while boasting the fact that his 1950 Philco refrigerator has never been serviced.

I have several cars with well over 100K with no repair other than routine maintenance. My 76 Oldsmobile with 113,000 miles has the original fuel pump, carburetor (never been apart), spark plug wires, Air pump, catalytic converter, and all original exhaust. Power steering pump and steering gear and suspension & steering components. Original ft calipers ( 2nd set of pads ) proportioning valve, original rear brake shoes.. Last year I replaced the original master cylinder and rear brake cylinders. The engine, transmission and rear end have never been opened, I have replaced the water pump. The cars interior is original and in good condition and everything works. The exterior paint is original. I don't care what brand you drive from that era of the 50's 60's 70's if you take care of it, it will last.

Went to three parts stores today looking for .002" sheet of shim stock. None of them knew what shim stock was!!!!!

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Wow!! stereotype much?? Break your car/house/AC and see who shows up to fix it - I doubt he's much over 40.

Second point: - What are you doing about it? Just griping about "Kids these days" like grandpa in a 50's era TV show?? Or making a difference??

How many "kids" have you brought into your shop? Do you know any "kids" with no mechanical skill? Have you tried to teach them?

And Thirdly: When was the last time you took a british college professor's word as gold??

Finally: No better way to chase off prospective members and hobbyists than to say things like "under 40's expect....." Hell, I'm 45 and that P&$$%s me off. I am resisting the urge to start the "all the things Old people can't do" thread..... Instead I'm going to give my 19 year old a hand with his Morris Minor - maybe he can teach me something.

As this appears to be addressed to me, I'll just point out that I'm younger than you are. And I do know a "kid" with no mechanical skill: Me. So no need to get upset, old man. :)

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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Regarding car repairs or buying car parts, that situation has been "moveable" for many years now, even decades. In the early '70s, a friend went into a Dodge dealer to get a art for his Hemi Charger. At the parts counter, he was told that Chrysler didn't build a "Hemi" for that mode year (1968), I went in search of a "timing tape" (to go on the harmonic balancer, degreed, to check the timing curve in the distributor with a normal timing light), asked the (younger than me) clerk for one, and he returned with a timing chain. In the later '80s, I went in search of "point grease" and was presented with "chassis grease" instead, until I found a chain store parts guy who knew what ignition points were. Finding somebody behind the parts counter, whether at a dealership or a parts store, can be IMPORTANT in getting what you desire, regardless of what their age demographic might be!

How motivated younger auto enthusiasts might be to know "something" about their cherished cars can depend upon WHICH cars they are into. In the earlier '90s, I was at a friend's shadetree shop when his son's friends came by. They were all into "5-0" Mustangs. They started talking about this and that like WE might have done in our younger times, quoting horsepower increase figures and such, too, from other sources. Many did their own work, too, but then most were doing mechanical changes which were generally easy to do, rather than building engines or other major assemblies (which they could generally change themselves, or use a friend's tools to do).

We've now got generations of repair people who have never adjusted ignition points, much less having seen any, or carburetors, OR might know how to "time by ear". You can't fault them for that. It's for this reason that my daily car is a more modern car such that should I roll it into a chain repair shop, THEY know what they're dealing with AND can repair it . . . unlike like if I drove my '77 Camaro into the same place. Many of the same labor ops would be similar, but having the parts in stock is another situation, too.

My 1968 Buick Chassis Service Manual is like reading an educational book! Each section has an explanation of the "theory of operation" AND how to repair the particular assembly of interest. The 1974 Chevrolet Chassis Service Manual, by comparison, uses "trouble trees" to diagnose and indicate repairs . . . the "theory of operation" is in another GM repair manual, usually.

The "replacement rather than repair mentality" has been driven by "customer satisfaction" orientations, plus warranty coverages. In prior times, if an alternator stopped working, the shop would disassemble it and repair it. In many cases, in later years, OEM repair parts were non-existent (i.e., alternator parts), with a "reman assembly" the only way the alternator would be serviced. Repair parts were available from other sources, though, typically. IF the shop does a "normal repair" and something else causes a component failure, then the shop has to cover the re-do repair. IF they do a replacement with a reman unit, with a warranty, if it fails (whether locally or "away"), the warranty covers the failure and everybody's happy. Hence, the tech does not need to know anything except that "it's not working and needs to be replaced" rather than the specific par which has failed. This also takes the quality of the local tech's repair parts out of the equation, too!

With my advancing age, I still know how to do things AND I know which repair shop can do certain things on the older vehicles. With changing priorities, I have resources to fund others doing work I might have done myself in earlier years (and still have the tools to do). When the same component has to be replaced three times during the time you've owned a vehicle, you KNOW you've had it a while! There are plusses and minuses for old cars and also for newer vehicles. Sometimes, it seems that trying to have a 40+ year old car for a "daily driver" can be an exercise in futility (especially should body damage occur!), but is more doable now than in the past with the huge restoration parts industry we now have. Just as with regular parts, knowing which vendor has "the good stuff" or "right stuff" is just as important now as it was in the 1960s.

Still, you can't really expect to drive a '70s car into a repair shop and have somebody there KNOW how to do various things to it. Times do change. BUT, at least now they can access the Internet and YouTube to look for how to do things, sometimes, IF they have the time, depending upon what the repair might be.

Used to be that cars were worn out at 100K miles, now you just change the belts and hoses and keep on going. But, if we'd had the same lubes and such we now have, plus platinum/iridium spark plugs, many of the older vehicles can do similar things (that we know of, IF the same owner owns it all of that time). In some cases, incognito retro-fits can be done to the earlier vehicles just for this purpose!

The issue of "younger people not knowing about older vehicles" has been with us for decades. Just that now, us "used to be younger people" don't see anybody similar to "us" doing what we used to do, in modern times, that bothers us. It can mean we either continue to do our own repairs or find a specialty shop to do them, depending upon what the repair might be and what brand of vehicle we might have. Finding somebody knowledgeable in Dusenbergs would certainly be different than if it was a '55 Ford, '57 Chevy, '66 Dodge, or '75 Lincoln. Car clubs CAN have people in them that know about their respective vehicle brands OR can point others to a shop they've had good luck with. Just depends where you are located, what brand of vehicle it is, and other variables . . . just like finding a good collision repair shop.

Happy New Year!

NTX5467

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^^^This. It pains me to pay anyone to do something that I know I can do myself (especially on the car or house), and when I do, rarely is it done to my standards, but given my work schedule and limited free time, I find myself at least THINKING about it. The reality is that I have som many projects now that I need to pick my battles. Fortunately, I'm at a stage in my life when I do have more cash than free time - and the time remaining clock is counting down all too rapidly! I figure I've got twenty good years left if I'm lucky, so I need to finish at least one car a year (not to mention the lifelong restoration of the 300 year old log house). :eek:
I could have written this myself, except that my house isn't 300 years old, but was "bank owned." The first priority is to keep my wife happy so I've farmed out a few jobs that were too much for me to handle. Fortunately, all work was performed quite satisfactorily by people who were much younger than me. So far, I have no fears about the future of humanity.
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My 1968 Buick Chassis Service Manual is like reading an educational book! Each section has an explanation of the "theory of operation" AND how to repair the particular assembly of interest. The 1974 Chevrolet Chassis Service Manual, by comparison, uses "trouble trees" to diagnose and indicate repairs . . . the "theory of operation" is in another GM repair manual, usually.

^^^THIS is exactly the problem. I've got GM Factory Service Manuals from the 1950s to 1999. There is a very clear transition from well-illustrated, photo-filled books that started by explaining the theory behind each subsystem to fault-tree-driven books that have a handful of cartoons drawn in crayon. My 1999 Chevy truck service manual is SIX volumes, most of which are fault trees, each of which at some point says "replace computer with known good unit and retest". That's great if you're a dealership with access to new parts; not so much if you're doing this yourself. The only saving grace is that the problem is almost NEVER the computer but usually the connections (which is why replacing the computer "fixes" the problem - you disconnect and remate the questionable connector in the process of replacment). Also note that where the theory of operation was the first part of each section in the older manuals, it is now an afterthought at the very back of each section. Also, with the increasingly complex vehicle wiring, schematics are nearly impossible to read. I was trying to trace the brake light circuit on my 99 truck. I had to refer to THREE different schematic drawings in two different volumes to find all the items connected to that one fuse. It took me longer to research the schematic than to actually find the problem on the truck.

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Well, I can see that there is more than one way to look at this.

First, I see that there is the school of thought that if someone put it together once I should be able to take it apart and put it back together.

Second, there is why try to beat a guy at his own trade scenario.

I am mechanical, (certified marine technician) I cannot drive a nail, so why would I take on home repairs? I can do a couple of tune ups for money and pay the guy that knows what he is doing on the roof or whatever.

I hate it when a guy tries to fix his own boat motor and brings it to me in a box.

Just sayin......

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People who are slightly younger than I, mostly have grandparents born in the 1940's and even 1950's, most of those folks didn't have to work on their own stuff and grew up in a consumer society.

Hmm? I resemble that remark. I was born in 1946. I learned from my father how to maintain/repair my "own stuff." I do not know about my youth being a "consumer society," but do know it was not a throwaway society.

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History shows that boomers and up grew up in a time of unparalleled wealth, a consumer society, which focused itself on 'keeping up with the Jones.' This continues today. Whereas those who came of age in the 1940's and 1950's grew up during the Depression with 0. Families would hang onto things for generations, that is no longer the case (for the most part).

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History shows that boomers and up grew up in a time of unparalleled wealth, a consumer society, which focused itself on 'keeping up with the Jones.' This continues today. Whereas those who came of age in the 1940's and 1950's grew up during the Depression with 0. Families would hang onto things for generations, that is no longer the case (for the most part).

Wes, that's not the way it was on the East Coast. I grew up in the late 50's on the family farm. We saved everything. People still think I'm crazy for keeping some old stuff. (It's got to be useful for something in the future, right?) I just gritted my teeth today when I threw out a 3 year old telephone wall mount plate, since we have gone entirely digital here at the house. It looks brand new, but I know I'll never go back to hard wire.

My wife could not believe I threw something away!:)

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This is not new, but interesting nonetheless. Always no shortage of perspective. Not to put words in 1935Packard's mouth, but I think he was not so much disparaging any age group as making a general observation. This kind of goes along with the dissapearance (for the most part, at least here in CT) of the corner garage - a great resource for older cars as well as those who don't happen to own the latest model X and service it at the dealers. Those who remain, interestingly (again the couple I know personally) are not getting rich - which seems to mean their market is dissapearing vs. growing, even with fewer competition. They continue to provide a valuable service but to a shrinking clientele, but will eventually reach an equilibrium. I do think it will be tougher to find shops versed in older cars, but doubt it will be impossible.

On the other hand, I do believe some younger people are very much hands on. We have two very different collector cars or hobby cars right now, a '14 T with a reputation that young guys do not care about those cars and a 1989 Mercedes SL, with a reputation for being "complicated and expensive to service" - partially true.

I will say at 51 I have met at least as many T guys much younger as I have older, most are building speedster type cars but they are still Model Ts and very much hands on. Some have expressed interest in other brass cars - seems a natural enough progression to me. With the MB, I am on another forum dedicated to the R-107 SL, which had a long run from '72 to '89. Age wise, I am dead center of this group, and 75% of these guys do their own work. Anyone familliar with MB manuals of the era knows they are horrible, so it is really online info sharing and Youtube for this car - I have the manuals but rarely use them, as the info available online is usually better for these cars - "here is what I did that worked but they don't tell you to do it this way in the book"... The virtual community for these cars is interesting in that you can literally follow new people joining with questions, and getting courage/knowledge to handle things they would not otherwise. Also makes keeping one in good shape a little cheaper.

I guess my point is that if the interest is there, the skills and info will come - and maybe in better formats than we had. I just hope some of them go into restoration or general repair. I am hands on but send a lot out as well. Not everyone who opts to have work done is "Lazy" - some are busy or not mechanically inclined, or just know what they enjoy vs. what could be a hassle - another discussion but I have car friends on both ends of that spectrum and would not consider one more "hardcore" than another but that is just me. I do know when I pay someone to do a given task, I hope they appreciate the business rather than consider me a lazy mark.

As 1935Packard says, this trend is something to think about.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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As far as hanging onto things I agree, people don't do it. Even antique furniture is hard to get rid of now. Kids want new, clean, low maintenance. Brides don't even buy heirloom china any longer to pass on to future generations.

I am 57 years old and also grew up when cars were simpler to repair. I did everything on my own except transmission work. I would rebuilt carburetors, distributors, brake systems, etc... replace lifters, timing chains, and anything in-between. It has been at least 25-years since I put a wrench to a car because todays crap is all electronic. If a car missed you knew where to start looking Today it could be just about anything and unless you have thousands of dollars of electronic diagnostic equipment, forget fixing it. You have to pull a car half apart to even change plugs now and with longer warranties risk voiding them working on it yourself. Do modern cars even have spark plugs any longer?

I know auto parts stores are a joke now. Gone are 80% of self service items.

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Have to add my two cents here to the thread. A couple of years ago I was flying back from New York with a Tillotson Carburetor that I had acquired from a friend at a Durant meet. Being I didn't want to take the chance packing it in a bag, I planned to hand carry it on the plane. As I got to the airport in the TSA line, I told the person checking my identification that I had a carburetor in the box from a very old car and it took me three years to find. Didn't want to alarm them or get me strip searched. At that point the person running the x-ray machine for packages looked at me and said "what's a carburetor". I had to explain it to them and the x-rayed it, and sent it to a secondary line for cotton swabbing. At least the guy doing the cotton swabbing who had opened the box, said he'd let me pack it up since it was an old piece. After I got on the plane I had to chuckle a bit.

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Wes, that's not the way it was on the East Coast. I grew up in the late 50's on the family farm. We saved everything. People still think I'm crazy for keeping some old stuff. (It's got to be useful for something in the future, right?) I just gritted my teeth today when I threw out a 3 year old telephone wall mount plate, since we have gone entirely digital here at the house. It looks brand new, but I know I'll never go back to hard wire.

My wife could not believe I threw something away!:)

Wayne, that was not the way it was on the west coast either, especially if you had parents who went through the depression. I, as well as my parents grew up in the L.A. area. My parents got married in 1936. My wife and her parents grew up in Michigan. Our family values were pretty much the same, both with the emphasis on saving and self reliance and whatever you bought it needed to be good value for the money. Those values which we were brought up with helped tremendously in our marriage, especially where money is concerned I am glad to say we are on the same page. One thing that I'm different from my father was every ten years he would buy a new car. I will never forget one Saturday morning in late October 1958 ( too cold for my mom and sister) we loaded our 1950 Silver Streak 8 with surfboards to go surfing. About two blocks from the house my dad stopped at a stop sign and said "I'm thinking about a new car". I was devastated...crushed. Both of us had done so much to keep that car looking new ,so much so my neighbor across the street would say I was polishing the paint right off the car or I see you are polishing the polish. He, by the way was the only person I ever saw wash his cars with kerosene. Anyroad, after that private talk my dad had with me that day I vowed to never let that happen to me. Two of the cars in my collection I have owned since H/S, one of those I bought new. The 76 Olds I bought new, and there are two others. To say I have a love of cars, boats, planes and trains is a understatement!

d

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As far as hanging onto things I agree, people don't do it. Even antique furniture is hard to get rid of now. Kids want new, clean, low maintenance. Brides don't even buy heirloom china any longer to pass on to future generations.

I am 57 years old and also grew up when cars were simpler to repair. I did everything on my own except transmission work. I would rebuilt carburetors, distributors, brake systems, etc... replace lifters, timing chains, and anything in-between. It has been at least 25-years since I put a wrench to a car because todays crap is all electronic. If a car missed you knew where to start looking Today it could be just about anything and unless you have thousands of dollars of electronic diagnostic equipment, forget fixing it. You have to pull a car half apart to even change plugs now and with longer warranties risk voiding them working on it yourself. Do modern cars even have spark plugs any longer?

I know auto parts stores are a joke now. Gone are 80% of self service items.

Depends on what antique furniture you mean. Danish modern is very hard to find these days in antique stores, especially the teak and black walnut. As you say they are clean, low maintenance ( oil once a month) Luckily for my wife and I some of that type of furniture came from our parents, other stuff we had to buy. great looking stuff which does not collect a lot of dust. Just High Speed / Low drag as they say.

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Depends on what antique furniture you mean. Danish modern is very hard to find these days in antique stores, especially the teak and black walnut. As you say they are clean, low maintenance ( oil once a month) Luckily for my wife and I some of that type of furniture came from our parents, other stuff we had to buy. great looking stuff which does not collect a lot of dust. Just High Speed / Low drag as they say.

In our house it is high Victorian, Chippendale, Empire, etc... Try to sell it though or go looking at pieces that once were untouchable in price and you will be in for a surprise how cheap they are now. No, these are dust collectors with ornate carvings. It fits better in our house being 202 years old (yes I said 200 and 2).

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I told the person checking my identification that I had a carburetor in the box from a very old car and it took me three years to find. Didn't want to alarm them or get me strip searched. At that point the person running the x-ray machine for packages looked at me and said "what's a carburetor".

I had to look and see when the last American carbureted car was made and see it was a 1990 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. I didn't realize it was so long ago but then 1990 doesn't seem that long ago to me at my age.

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As often happens, I agree with Steve_Mack_CT. No disparaging of any age group intended, including my own; I was just thinking of how the hobby will have to evolve in light of generational change. It's true that there are lots of hands-on younger people, of course, but the overall proportion of them is dropping. Those who are eager to learn will have to be taught, creating an increasing role for clubs in addition to message boards and Youtube. And shops dedicated to general classic car maintenance and repair are likely to have eager customers, as owners can do less on average and the proportion of regular auto shops that can work on old cars continues to drop.

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