A display of failure

In the twenty years I have now been working on cars, I have achieved a good deal of success. Brake jobs, every bit of suspension, thermostats and water pumps, more intricate things like valve timing solenoids, and even cambelts – I have done them all and been able to make cars run and drive better. But automotive electrics remains one area I do not have a good working knowledge of, or much experience with, having only ventured into doing simple things, like repairing frayed wiring on a boot lid release.

Still, how are you going to learn if you don’t try? The radio display on my Subaru Outback has not worked since the day I bought the car. This has not bothered me, as I don’t use the radio, but instead use my phone to stream music through the Bluetooth setup the previous owner installed. But every now and then I get an itch to take stuff apart and tinker, and so I figured it was time to have a go at fixing the radio display.

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Assisted parking is a useful technology

I am generally disposed towards finding a lot of the new ‘safety’ technology that is being built into cars unnecessary, particularly anything that automises the driving task and takes responsibility out of the hands of the driver.

With one exception: Automated parking.

Now, I need to clarify, because I don’t think all automated parking is necessary. There is a distinction between automated technologies that are useful, and those that are only there to serve the lazy and inept. For instance, automated parallel parking is just for people who can’t drive (although when it’s my car they are trying to parallel park in front of, I find myself less opposed to such a thing). 

But the kind of parking the E-class above demonstrates (at least at the guy’s house – there was less need for it in the parking garage) is useful, especially when you live in places where garages are by necessity very small. It means you can safely store your vehicle without having to climb out of the windows or dinging your doors trying to get out once it’s parked.

Additionally, as someone who enjoys bigger cars but finds himself married to someone who doesn’t, if automated parking meant my wife would be less opposed to driving something like an E-class, rock on.