Fortunately, I like to ride my bike.
I say that because my car has just gone into the garage to have some work done on the exhaust system and I may not get it back for a while.
And just for the record, I didn’t damage it by backing into another vehicle and that red hatchback pictured above is not my car.
Unfortunately, the repair isn’t something I could possibly do myself like changing a silencer and it isn’t even something I totally understand.
No, I have a French made, diesel estate that has a high-tech exhaust filtering system.
The car’s computer is supposed to raise the temperature of the filter to burn off the crud whenever it fills up.
I’m told that is better for the environment than letting the bigger particles fly out right away, although the mechanic couldn’t tell me why. Anyway, my after burner has stopped functioning, which means the engine needs to be dismantled so the diesel particle filter can be removed and shipped off for reconditioning.
If that doesn’t sort the problem, I’ll need to buy a new DPF and if that doesn’t work, I’ll be forking out for a new computer andspending close to P15,000 on this exercise.
Evidently, this is a common problem on diesel vehicles that make a lot of short journeys. In an ideal world, the dealer would have told me about the exhaust feature when I bought the vehicle.
If my car problem was a one off, I wouldn’t be writing about it now, but ever since I moved to England seven years ago, nearly half my auto repair bills have had something to do with computers.
I even had to pay P9000 for a new electronic brain when the one that controlled the choke stopped working.
Those things used to be adjusted by a cable that was connected to a knob on the dash.
I also doubt I would be writing about this if the problem was restricted to cars.
I learned how to repair engines that had points, condensers and rotor arms so I could work on them anywhere in Botswana, but I can see how computerised engines might be justified over here… if they are as efficient as the manufacturers claim they are.
The big problem for me is that computers are making it more difficult for us to do many other things we used to do for ourselves.
At first, I loved them because they were a great aid for writers, but now there are downsides on that front as well.
For example, literate, well-spoken university graduates are resorting to paying specialists to prepare their CVs.
That’s because instead of having a human being read all their job applications, big companies have started using computers to scan them for key words.
Then someone looks at only the ones that pass the electronic check.
This is called progress.
Maybe it is, but I would much rather be backwards and be able to do things for myself.
And on that note, I am going to go outside and service my bicycle.
Well… after I’ve used the computer to do a spell check, that is.