In Defense of the Doughnut Spare and Other "New" Things, and Still Managing to Contradict Myself


If you have an interest in cars, you may have noticed that there’s a lot of people who don’t know what they’re talking about, and it seems like the less they know, the louder and more obnoxious they are.  You know, like bloggers.


Some of my favorite examples have now faded away as equipment and technologies that were once new, are now commonplace and standard equipment.  When I was young, it seemed like everyone, either had a relative, or otherwise knew about some person who was involved in a car accident, and if they would have been wearing seat belts, they would have died.  Maybe there were some incidents where could have been true, but the ratio of seat belts being beneficial to being detrimental, has got to be at least, 1000 to 1.


Then there was the bullshit magic carburetor/oil company conspiracy story.  I remember first hearing about, and using my own reasoning ability to reject that one, back when I was in sixth grade.  You would have to have a complete lack of understanding of physics, chemistry, and human nature to fall for that one, but in the deepest, darkest, corners of the minds of our planet’s stupidest inhabitants, that story still survives.


Then you got the people who automatically reject any new technology that comes down the pike, and I must admit that I often am guilty of falling into this group, but I do try as hard as I can to look at things with an open mind, and attempt to see how something may be of benefit to the general public.


I rejected the introduction of unleaded gas, until I learned that the only benefit of lead was to prevent valve seat recession, and that was totally preventable by the use of hardened valve seats.  Unleaded gas besides being better for the environment and better for our health, was better for your vehicle as well.  Did you notice how your spark plugs started to last longer, or that your vehicles no longer rotted out around the gas cap, once unleaded gas came along?


I didn’t like catalytic converters at first, because I was afraid they would mean the end of good sounding exhaust systems.  Later I learned that straight pipes with cats sounds pretty sweet.  That’s what I have on my truck right now.


I didn’t like air bags at first because I thought they made for ugly steering wheels, but since most new cars are now front wheel drive pussy machines, who cares what their steering wheels look like?


I wasn’t a fan of anti-lock brakes when they first came out, but since most drivers don’t know how to control their vehicles under normal conditions, let alone during a skid, I’m glad they have them in their cars.


Remember when they first came out with the first mini spare tires?  A lot of people ripped on them too, but even they have more advantages than disadvantages.
  • Tires nowadays are so superior to those in the days of bias ply tires and full size spares, that a spare is hardly necessary.
  • Cargo space is going to be of benefit to the average driver, much more often than a full size spare, especially with today’s smaller cars.
  • A four tire rotation program is easier to manage than a five.
  • If you do ever have a flat, you may just find that the jack has lifted your vehicle high enough to get the flat tire off, but not quite high enough to put an inflated tire on.  You won’t have this problem with a mini spare.
  • Having that mini spare on your car, forces you to fix your tire ASAP, instead of forgetting about it and driving around with a flat spare in your trunk.
  • Consider replacing the full size spare in your older car with a mini spare.  It will give you room to store other, more beneficial roadside emergency supplies.
  • A small spare tire just might discourage some people from putting 20” wheels on their cars.  Anything that helps prevent this can’t possibly help but be a good thing.


All this being said, I’d still rather drive a car with a carburetor, manual transmission, and a distributor, but that’s just me.

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