I’m not talking about mufflers and rear-views.
It’s hard to imagine where we’d be today if not for the invention of the automobile. The car is truly a marvel of technology and innovation, and it’s hard to underestimate the contribution it’s made to civilization.
I’m certainly not a mechanic, and I’m sure that the drivetrain and chassis of a modern vehicle is solid and safe. Yet whenever I do minor repairs or install something new, I’m amazed by just how little material is actually holding the whole thing together. Even auto brands that are known for safety and quality give us vehicles that are surprisingly reliant on plastic pieces that snap into place and are held together by more plastic clips.
To wit, today I replaced the headlamps on our 2005 Honda Odyssey…not the light bulbs, but the entire front headlight assemblies. This job wasn’t difficult, but it was eye-opening. To start, I had to remove the front bumper – which seems like a big, heavy project in itself, right?
The bumper itself is a hollow, single piece of molded soft plastic which covers a steel beam attached to the chassis. To remove the bumper, you simply pop out eight plastic clips on top, eight more on bottom, and one bolt on each side. That’s it. The whole bumper then peels off the front of the vehicle effortlessly.
Then, to remove each headlight, you only need to disconnect 4 bulb wire attachments, and unscrew three bolts. The assembly comes right out, and the new one fits easily in its place.
Putting the bumper back on the car is as easy as it was to remove, simply reversing the steps.
As if looking out for the other guy wasn’t enough to worry about on the road.
So just be careful out there, friends. And remember that luxury vehicle you’re riding in might just be held together by 10-cent plastic clips.