The Car-Maker Conspiracy

Good God. Yesterday I took the Kia to the mechanic I’ve taken the Ford van to the last few times. Explained what was going on and what the manual said the problem was. They don’t work on catalytic converters, he said. He suggested a place that does, one that would check it for free. So I drive up there and they check it. Not the catalytic converter. Damn manual! Their gage shows there’s a misfire happening in the first cylinder and suggest new plugs and/or wires would fix it. Okay. In the old days, I would have done that myself, no sweat. But on these computerized cars? No. So I go back to the first mechanic and tell him I want the car tuned up. He asks what it’s doing. I explain. Again. “Tune up is just changing plugs and wires. That won’t fix a misfire,” he said. Gritting my teeth, I submit to the $70 diagnostic check. Take the wife to work in the van and come home. Message on the answering machine. They found the problem, please call. I do. Guess what’s wrong. Go ahead. There’s a hole burned through the spark plug wire of the first cylinder and it’s ruined the plug. The car needs new plugs and wires. It’ll be $230 to replace them … cost includes the diagnostic test, of course. I wanna go down there and shake they guy and yell in his face, “I fuckin’ TOLD you that was the fuckin’ problem!”

It’s a conspiracy, ya know. The auto manufacturers deliberately make cars so normal folk can’t work on them, then make additional income by training technicians to be able to fix the cars.

It’s times like these when I really, really miss my 1973 Ford F150 pickup. Three on the tree and a sweet 302 under the hood. I’m not mechanically inclined enough to fix everything that goes wrong on a truck like that, but I could damn well find a hole in a spark plug wire casing and take care of that.


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