Saturday, 27 November 2010

Plastic Cars

"They're only plastic," the nice garage man said to me this morning.

Plastic? They can't be made of plastic! The part he's referring to is a crucial piece of my car. So crucial that in order for me to get home from work last night I was too terrified to drive any faster than 20 mph because if I had to brake hard, or accidentally hit an unruly pot-hole, my wheel could fall off. Which would be bad. Plastic? It's no wonder they broke!

The part in question is a 'lower suspension arm rear bush'. "Your car is poorly sick," I was told yesterday. "Very, very sick." And, "I've never seen one this bad," the mechanic said this morning. Yikes. Lucky I decided to get new tyres fitted for the winter or I probably wouldn't have known there was a problem until I found myself in a ditch.

My 'bushings' are made of polyurethane, which is supposed to be more durable and hard wearing than rubber. Perhaps the advent of plastic has meant that mechanics such as this can be produced easier and cheaper and be - theoretically, at least - longer lasting. But I still can't help thinking to make such a crucial part out of a brittle material like plastic is a bit scary.

Cars... Can't live 'em, can't live without 'em. Ok, technically I can live without a car, but not without completely changing my lifestyle, my work, my friends, my living and shopping arrangements. Which I would love to do... but is easier said than done. And of course there is a lot more plastic in my car than just the inner workings of the suspension system. But I'm just not ready to give it up yet.

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