• The technology of cars

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    #2470057

    As you well know, I’m a geek.  I love technology. Alexas surround me.  iPhones, iPads, Android tablets. But for many years I’ve had a car that was qui
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2470063

      Susan:

      So what technology in your car no longer works like it should?

      My car is a 1990 model Geo Prizm Chevy with some 120,000 miles on. (I never was a big-time driver and have always lived near my place of work, that for some years now has also been mainly my Iternet-connected home office.) It is really a Toyota Corolla assembled here by GM with a bit of American pizzazz in its lines, from when Toyota used to do that sort of thing with GM.

      You may say, without too much exaggeration, that it is somewhat beat up, but even so it is something of a sensation among old-car buffs when they see it. Now and then I get an offer to buy my car by one or another of those enthusiasts, because it is a “classic.” Really! Cross my heart and hope to die: a Geo Prizm from 1990 now is a “classic”, same as a Chevy Impala from 1955, or a Chevy Corvette 1967!

      Live long enough and prepare to be amazed.

      Now to the tech: it has a radio and a couple of, by now, very old but apparently still going basic computers to take care of the air-fuel mix in the carburetor, things like that.

      It has an engine with the block laid across the engine compartment and a few other signs of advanced science: a mirror I can flip to get the light of the j… tailgating me obscured and less bothersome. Also if I open the door to get out of the car with the front lights still on, it makes a sort of loud whining noise at me. If I don’t have the seat belt on when I start the engine, it beeps at me.

      It has a manual transmission, as a real car needs to have to be a real car.

      One opens its doors and starts the engine with a very advanced Yale flat key. This technology tends to wear out and needs replacing every several years. I get it done at the local hardware store, where the owner has a key-cutting machine. No big deal.

      In answer to Susan’s question, an important technology that failed suddenly last year was a manual transmission technology component: the clutch, that needed replacing. But that clutch certainly had it coming by then.

      I have had a very good mechanic for more than a decade by now, with all necessary technology to take good care of cars, mine included.

      I am fortunate this way.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2470069

        you have no idea…my cars are from the late 70’s and 80’s .you say technology?..hmmmm…..all that is available is AM/FM radio and mono at that for fm. I am referring to my 1977 Mercedes 240D, my 1982 BMW 320S ( oooh it has fm stereo and a cassette player)  and a truck- 1986 Ford Ranger ( AM only radio)….. all are still on the road and will continue to run when all the electronics quit in most all others…especially the 240D will run nearly forever. navigation is by paper map!..no connectivity issues and no failures….all are manual xmission ie clutch…I have not worn one out yet, although like everything it is a wear item like brakes. all vehicles have over 5ooK miles on them….lets see other failures….ummm fan belts, brake pads, filters….oh..Headlights and tail lights/ brake lights….but is those are normal wear items…..none of the cars have ever left me stranded except the Ford -they mounted the ignition module on the distributor….gets too hot and fails…moved to its own heat sink an voila…no more failures. just poor design..this truck will most likely fail long before the Mercedes……new vehicles…nah too much electronics=more frequent failures….my philosophy, pay attention, do your maintenance and your  tools will treat you well….seems to apply to most things in life. buy quality as long after the price is forgotten, the quality remains. too bad software and computers do not follow this philosophy. Planned obsolescence seems to be the current trend especially in todays world….one must keep the economy moving…bah humbug…

        Renée

         

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2470073

      Quite simply the issue in my car is the wetware. Everything else just works….

       

      Every day is the dawn of a new error

    • #2470102

      My 98 Dodge Durango has experienced various “mechanical” issues over the year (things simply wearing out due to the +340K miles I’ve put on it) but it doesn’t have any “advanced” technology that could possibly stop working because some vendor decided they weren’t going to support it any longer.

      I have recently been considering updating my “dumb” JVC stereo head unit to one that would allow me to plug a USB stick directly into the unit itself to play music but, so far, haven’t found one that actually includes that as a “built-in” feature.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2470402

        Head units with USB readers/players. Please look harder, those units are available everywhere. I know a certain online product vendor in Virginia has them. I suppose ANY online vendor has dozens of brands. I know JVC certainly makes them.

    • #2470109

      So what technology in your car no longer works like it should?

      Right now, everything is working in my car. But it’s usually the electric windows that quit working first. (Just kidding, I know you mean “modern” technology.)

      Actually, there is a bit of technology that I have retired, at least as far as my using it: the combination key and FOB. I will be turning this car over to my daughter soon, so I needed an extra key. I HATE having a key with a built-in FOB — whenever the key is in my pocket, if I lean over, buttons get pushed — so I got a key with a chip in it, but without the buttons.

      I couldn’t be happier! Not only was it a lot cheaper than the key / fob combination, but it takes up a lot less room in my pocket! And there aren’t any buttons that will inadvertently get pressed when I lean over or look to the left or right!

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #2470111

      In my opinion, the only technology you really need in a car is an air conditioner and a stereo.

      My definition of “stereo” used to be AM-FM-Cassette. I then went to AM-FM-CD. Now, for me a “stereo” is AM-FM-Bluetooth.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2470679

        I would like to add electronic fuel injection into that list.  It sure beats having to mess around with finicky carburetors.  It’s one of the better improvements that have been made to cars.

        Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2471386

          Agreed. And I also like individual ignition coils.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #2471417

          Also seat-belts, disk breaks and the hydraulic-assisted steering system.

          As I see it, all the driver-assisting features introduced after these, have been mainly useful for making bad drivers less of a danger to themselves and others.

          Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #2470136

      Susan, you already are high on the list of people I value and respect, but if you are a Mecum Auctions junkie too you just rose a couple more levels . . .

    • #2470135

      Is anyone in this thread under 70?

      I don’t have a car with the new stuff but it would be cool to have apple car play and use my phone’s gps on my car’s dash screen.

      I don’t want to tear up the dash it’s not worth it.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2470239

      My 2000 Audi is low mileage.  It has an info display on the dash.  Not LCD but some precursor technology.  The scan lines quit one by one.  Now it is pretty unreadable.  Theft of head units was a big concern so if battery power is lost it goes into anti-theft mode.  You have three chances to correctly push buttons and enter a PIN or it goes into deep sleep.  Couldn’t get it out of that state for months.  Then after being gone a year and the car sitting, I got back, bought a new battery and this time the unit came up in “normal” anti-theft and I got the unlock sequence correct (and if you lose the PIN Audi dealer gets $50 to look it up for you).

       

      ABS computer failed and it was $1,000 repair.  You can buy them from junk yards, but to replace requires removing that head unit with special tools and then digging through other things behind it, and I just didn’t feel up for the project.  Sort of like working on a laptop.

       

      Another sketchy tech (2000 Audi is too old for it) is the tire pressure sensors.  These things are definitely under-engineered.

       

      Wonder how some of the NFC things will hold up over time?

    • #2470249

      I have a 2001 model with an in-dash AM/FM/CD/Cassette combo, no direct auxiliary input. It has a 6 speaker Infinity sound system, so it’s like a rolling living room with the right audio material!

      I wore out several of those cassette “adapters” with the mini jack for your audio device or mobile phone headset connection. Then gave up on them, because they don’t work so great.

      As long as my next ride has an auxiliary audio input, I’ll be happy! 🙂

      No hurry on that next ride though, as this one has been paid off for 20 years. Just replace parts as they break and keep on truckin’.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2470276

      Is anyone in this thread under 70?

      Yes.

      I just use real CD’s in the car. Much higher quality audio than MP3’s or streaming anyway…

      And I have a Garmin NUVI for navigation on road trips. Great trip computer! I use Google Maps on my mobile with a dash mount for around town, as needed.

    • #2470300

      This thread is fun and amazing!

      I’m drive a very ordinary Sliver 2005 Ford Escape. It’s invisible in a parking lot 👍. I bought it at a dealers auction with 11,000 miles on it. Now 17 years later, the odometer reads… wait for it… 63,000 miles. Yes, for real. I’ve kept it waxed and it looks brand new. No screens. Radio & CD player only. Cruise control and Google Maps on a mobile phone work fine for me.

    • #2470304

      Technology doesn’t imply electronics. A simple lever is technology. Every system of any car, even an old Ford Model T, is technology!

      What seems to be the topic here, though, is consumer entertainment and information stuff. All of that kind of thing in my car works fine… which is to say that my half-DIN car stereo (AM/FM radio, CD player, MP3 player via a nano-sized thumb drive in the USB port) works fine. If it didn’t work fine, I’d pop it out of there and put in a new one. Easily done, as it just slides right out, and it has no functions other than playing audio from the radio, CD, USB port, or aux input, so no other system on the car is depending on it for anything.

      I have no need for the car to connect to my phone, as I don’t use that for anything except providing a mobile hotspot for my laptop and occasionally making a call (more or less, it’s there in case the old car needs a tow).

      And yes, I am under 70 and will be for many years to come.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, Kubuntu 22.04, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, Kubuntu 22.04, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

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    • #2470306

      I am the opposite. I am close to 80 and always want/use the latest in Car’s multimedia as I value high quality sound while driving (flac tracks, mkv video..).
      Will switch to a new Subaru Forester this month with STARLINK multimedia & Apple CarPlay, system.

      But :

      Who Owns the Data Your Car Collects?

      Some information gathered can improve driving performance and safety, but it could also result in an invasion of your privacy..

      • #2470324
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        • #2470520

          I hope the disks and brake pads in the hydraulic brakes (!) are not made of wood as well.

          I would say this young man, with this creation, has shown great promise as a future mechanical engineer, as long as he is interested in building machines with other materials than wood as well.

          Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      • #2470376

        Some information gathered can improve driving performance and safety, but it could also result in an invasion of your privacy..

        A remapped ECU can also improve driving performance for both fuel efficiency and release extra horses although safety can never be guaranteed especially with the trend of in-car distractions to sell a vehicle contradicting the safety of other road users.
        As for car security, it’s a joke with new vehicles as Guenni posts:
        https://borncity.com/win/2022/08/15/pkw-sicherheit-kia-challenge-und-hyundai-key-im-web/

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2470437

      I’m 77, I drive a 2001 F150 (bought it in 2003), now has 261,600 miles.  It had a 1.5 DIN AM/FM/CD player which I replaced several years ago with a JVC KD-X255BT ($80) single DIN but 1.5 DIN size to fit the opening, which with the extra room, provided a nice little built-in tray for my phone right above the radio.

      It has Bluetooth Audio, Bluetooth Phone (with auxiliary cabled mic) , AUX 3.5mm input, USB input (I use Sandisk 16GB Toenail drive)

      JVC-KD-X255BT

      I can use my phone app for GPS navigation (I wouldn’t be looking at a map while driving, anyway), can receive and place (voice control) phone calls (it stores my phone book).  Installation was fairly simple.  For the mic it was just un-clipping a couple of trim pieces and snapping them back on after I ran the cable.  It’s also Sirius capable, but I have no interest in that.

      Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
      We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2470701

      I would like to add electronic fuel injection into that list.  It sure beats having to mess around with finicky carburetors.  It’s one of the better improvements that have been made to cars.

      Yep, except for an ’84 Pontiac with throttle body injection that I had.

      Throttle body injection is a type of fuel injection system that served as a segue between carburation and multiport fuel injection. A typical TBI assembly has a fuel metering body that sits on top of the throttle body.”

      “With Throttle Body Injection (TBI), one or two injectors mounted in the throttle body spray fuel into the intake manifold. Fuel pressure is created by an electric fuel pump (usually mounted in or near the fuel tank), and the pressure is controlled by a regulator mounted on the throttle body.”

      It started idling erratically, and I never could figure out why. Looked over the service manual for that engine, and it was way over the head of an average end user. Too complicated for someone more familiar 60’s and 70’s era engines and carbs. 🙂

      So I decided to trade the car in, rather than pay for an expensive diagnostic and repair bill.

      I think every car I’ve had since has had multiport fuel injection, and those engines have all run like Swiss watches.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2470724

      The trouble with any technology is how long will the manufacture support that technology. Cars are no different and, in some cases, worse. Mostly because, while you can get software updates for a period. You have little options when it comes to upgrades. Sometimes third parties offer up some good alternatives, but it is going to be a problem for used cars as technology gets more and more integrated into them. I especially wonder how EV’s with deal with this as they become older and rely so heavily on technology. We have main head units that control a lot of things such as HVAC, system controls, and entertainment. What I fear is that this hardware technology is so unique to a certain model and even year that it may be difficult to fix especially if you find yourself searching bone yards for an identical working part.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2471121

      I’m under 60 and married to a classic car guy. He does all of the work on them – mechanical and body wise.

      We own alot classics/oldies. The newest is my ’94 Toyota Camry. His daily driver is a ’92 Ford Explorer that he alternates with an ’84 Dodge Ramcharger.

      The others – all from the 60’s, 70’s and an ’83 Monte SS – come out on nice weather days. All are nice condition but not showroom/museum cars.

      I use a cassette adapter for my MP3 player in the Camry. He installed aftermarket cassette decks in some the others. There are no CD players.  The two ’60’s Fords only have AM radios.

      There is no tech in these cars and I love it this way. I will never buy one of these new mostly plastic, ugly, over computerized, track everything you do, overpriced  vehicles sitting on the car lots of today.

       

       

      "An analog kid in a digital world"

      Win7 Ultimate home built desktop Running 0patch Pro

      Win 8.1 desktop and two 8.1 laptops

      Win 10 Dell desktop (took the plunge)

      and two very old home built Win XP desktops (offline for use with an old Epsom Photo scanner)

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2473310

      No, thanks. You keep your technologically advanced automobile. 😜 I love my 1999 Honda Accord with a cassette player, which I use regularly, and no dashboard screen. It is in showroom condition with 98,000 KM and I do not miss all the other stuff!

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