Last week, on our commute to her school, my daughter made a rather dismissive comment about cars. She said "Ian, cars aren't cool anymore". I've heard quite a few kids say that recently, and studies show that more and more kids are opting out of learning to drive, partially due to the financial climate, but also out of dissatisfaction.
And I think it's true that cars aren't cool anymore. There was a time when cars were cool - back in the 1920s, when most of them had an open cockpit, when you started them with a crank and when you needed to wear goggles and a heavy driving coat. But now? She's right - they aren't cool, and I think they're not very 'manly'.
My daughter made me realize that, as far as 'manly' commuting goes, driving a car leaves something to be desired: it's air conditioned, you sit in a comfy chair, you can drive in your shirt even in a blizzard, there's a radio, cupholders, GPS, etc. It's hardly 'Scott of the Antarctic'. The motorist's motto is something akin to "Hope the seat warmer is working" or "Glad I've got my coffee".
Meanwhile, those on bicycles and motorbikes have a different and much more rugged experience: you're out in the elements, you're on a saddle (how manly is that!), no radio, no cupholder (other than a cage with a bottle of near freezing water), no GPS, you must balance and wrestle the bike through rain, wind, snow. Your motto, like that of the Post Office is "Victory or Death". If you cycle more than half a mile you get more excitement than a motorist gets in a week.
Even car ads have a sort of desperation about them - they're all about danger, thrills and driving fast somewhere exotic, but when the ad gets to the interior, it always just looks kinda weak. And the outside... well, they all look the same - and they're almost always offered in shades of grey. And you know that when you actually drive it, it's not going to be an experience of driving like a bat out of hell on the Nurburgring - it's going to be pottering along at 5mph in bumper-to-bumper traffic while cyclists and bikers pass you by. The fact is, the modern car experience is slow, frustrating and BORING!
So, assuming other members buy the premise, what happened to make cars go all wimpy and boring? And when did it happen? Was there some key moment when the car lost its manliness? Why is it that modern cars just don't have that 'manliness quotient' anymore?
Men tend to buy more trucks than cars now. Cars are more marketed towards women. The best selling vehicle in the US for 30 years is a pickup truck.
You can have my heated seats when you pry them from my warm, comfy butt.
But yeah, I agree with you on the other stuff. IMO the demise of the car began at the same time as the innovation of the plastic bumper. Since then, very few cars have made my heart beat faster. Certainly none in my price range.
Automobiles have not become less manly. The men choosing which one to drive have. In my opinion choosing anything with a warranty is not very manly. You have no reason to learn about your machine. Neccesity is the mother of all invention. If it is not neccasary to re-invent ourselves we will not. If your vehicle is not manly, add your own manly character to it. It is all a choice.
I choose a 1999 F-250 Diesel truck.Here is why.
I can afford it very easily
It is loud
I can haul/pull whatever i want with it, mostly motorcycles as I like rebuilding them.
It is reliable.
I can easily modify the engine for tremendous power gains without sacrificing economy.
Parts are cheap.
When it breaks, I have to learn to fix it.
It is big
There is lots of cabin room as I am big
I can fit 5 in the cabin, two dirt bikes in the box and haul a holiday trailer.
I think it suits me as the man i see myself to be.
Automobiles have not become less manly. Men and their choices have.
A warranty isn't manly?
Are you kidding me, are you seriously kidding me?
Explain to me how guaranteeing somebody else fixing your ride if it breaks is manly?
Intelligence. I leave those who are actually qualified to do things as experts to do them. Esp the important things like drive train. As I am currently a computer tech, I mock those who try to fix things on their own. Sure, you might get by with this or that, but I guarantee you that I have better ways, more effecient ways, and cheaper ways.
Cost. When I purchase a car, I look for that warranty to save me money in that if something breaks before it should, I will have it replaced at no extra expense to me.
Time. As a married man, with a home, going to night school, working full time, there is a very distinct limit on my time. It isn't worth it to me to piddle around with a vehicle out of warranty. I insist on reliability and dependability out of my vehicle. I don't have time to bother with too much of the crap that comes with an older car. A warranty will get this done
Would you like me to continue?
You have a play vehicle that fits your niche needs which works for you. That in no way, what so ever makes any difference to men who are not you. A man does what needs to be done to get things done. Honestly, to say that a warranty is unmanly, even for the man who can do all the car work himself isn't a matter of manly/unmanly, it is about being rather stupid. A man isn't stupid, he uses any tool or service that works.
I agree with LShields here. Not having a warranty on a car is kind of stupid and unmanly. Reasoning: How many people can afford $3,000.00 at the drop of a hat if their transmission breaks? How many people know how to fix said transmission, even if it only costs $500 in parts? While I agree that being able to work on your vehicle is manly (at least having the know-how is) but having to spend twice as much on getting your car fixed just because you were stupid enough to purchase a vehicle without a warranty is unmanly. How many people know how to fix everything they purchase? I have dishwashers, dryers, washers, computers, cell phones, audio equipment, lawn maintenance equipment, and three cars of various makes and models. Although I am pretty handy with the tools there are things even I can't fix such as much of the modern cars, and getting into the more modern lawn maintenance equipment. Many times I have too much to do between work and home repairs that it is more time and cost effective to take the vehicle in for even simple maintenance.
Not that I fully agree with LJS -- but I don't buy warranties. I'd rather self-insure. I do my own repairs when I can, and use a mechanic when its out of my league.
but having to spend twice as much on getting your car fixed just because you were stupid enough to purchase a vehicle without a warranty is unmanly.
Actually, this is just wrong. The vast majoriy won't spend more on repairs than they'll spend on the warranty itself. Car companies sell warranties because they make money off them, not out of benevolence. Warranties are VERY profitable business for car companies, appliance companies, electronics companies, etc. There's a reason Best Buy asks if you want a warranty on every $20 set of headphones you buy ... because its pure profit.
Car companies sell warranties because, on average, they'll get far more money out of you than you'll ever get out of them.
Warranties are essentially insurance. Insurance should be carried for catastrophes, and a $3K car repair doesn't strike me as a catastrophe. That's what savings is for. It is possible to be over-insured.
How many people actually have $3000 in their bank account? And yes, I know 'manly men' have savings accounts but a large portion of the population do not have much in them.
Often I find myself without the time to do the repairs and with the newer models of vehicles there is a lot that I don't have the time to figure out how to fix. I can rebuild an engine, change tires, and even rewire a wiring harness but the troubleshooting of the issue is often beyond my capabilities with the tools I have and often the repair is beyond my current tool set.
As for insurance any insurance business is quite lucrative even with the huge payouts that have occurred in the recent past. A warranty is an insurance of a kind and should be purchased as such.
There is something to be said about taking care of your own business but how many people can troubleshoot and repair everything in their lives? Not many I believe.
Maybe more people would if they stopped paying for warranties and just saved for repairs. Farming out financial discipline costs quite a bit. Basically paying a car company to save-up your money for you ... and not give it back if you don't use it.
There are better ways.
My point is choosing to not learn how to fix something you rely on daily is unmanly. Thus choosing a warranty at the cost of buying a new vehicle is unmanly.
My vehicle costs are peanuts (Both trucks were less than 2 grand, including repairs and one I have been running for over 2 years). I run Two pick up trucks both I have chosen to learn how to work on and can work on because I made the choice to.
Saving money and resources to look after you and your family is manly. Not blowing money on a new car and its associated warranty.
Choosing challenge and the possibility of failure is manly not mocking those who rise to said challenge.
I do not make car payments and I drive manly vehicles. I say they are manly because I believe a man should be utilitarian, resourceful and flexible. My automobiles are. I suppose it would be hard to see these points from behind a desk and even harder to argue them without the use of mockery and degrading others from such a view.