Why Aren’t Kids Interested in Cars Anymore?

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Crain’s posted a article today lamenting youth’s lack of interest in cars these days.  They’re just not interest things to play with. In the event you can’t open the link, it’s essence is captured in opening comments:

“grew up turning wrenches and tinkering with cars alongside his father in the family garage…but his 10-year-old son would rather play video games than play with tools…”

I know for my 12 year old son, XBOX definitely captures more interest than working with dad on the car, or motorcycle for that matter.

The article misses a very obvious component.

For most of the automobile’s history, youth could engage their cars directly. Growing up, you could grab a screwdriver, play with the ignition, and see what the effect was. You could re-jet carbs, heck change carbs, and have an immediate impact on engine performance (even if it was only sucking down more gas).

For years, I carried a toolbox in the trunk. Stopped doing that 20 years ago, realizing there was nothing in the car I could fix on the roadside anymore, anyway.

Today, there is very little youth can do to engage with whatever car may be available to them. Carbs are history, as are points & condensers. Structures and bodywork are increasingly unfriendly to the backyard mechanic.

Changing brakes, fluids, and rotating tires is about all Dad’s likely to let junior do to his computer-driven, exotic materials containing, hybrid-hazardous, trip-to-the-dealer-if-you-break-it vehicle.

The most exciting thing to come along now? Ford’s open developer program for developing 3rd party apps for cars. Even then, is Dad going to let junior use his $35K car as an electronics test platform, knowing he needs it for work in the morning?

What do you think?  If you have children you regularly engage with, what are their interests like? Automotive oriented at all?

image credit:
Winter Feelings – Hans Thoursie