Motoring moment: low tech cars

It took three stories to make up this post.

First was this story that appeared in the Standard last week about a range rover limousine that got messed up by a pothole. Then there was one where TV talk show host and car aficionado Jay Leno bragged about being the only celebrity who can drive a manual transmission SLR Mercedes. And finally this piece from the wall street journal which chronicles how frustrated new car owners are with their high-tech machines

Which brings up the question, how much it too much technology for cars? With my budget, I can only to drive a car that Wanjala, my mechanic, can fix at his garage and one whose parts are relatively available and affordable.

Yet Kenyans have been buying top of the range cars at an astonishing rate, some without local parts or technical support. And some of the cars are loaded with such gizmos and that make even their owners confused. How many times have you ridden in a car where the owner does not know what half the dashboard gizmos do? There are all wheel drive cars that never leave the city, tiptronic gears that are never used, cars that lock their owner out or in depending on their perception of insecurity, cars that are supposed to avoid collision and others that are supposed to park themselves.

Sometimes they break down in strange and sad ways – from cars with blown turbochargers that cause them to crawl or new cars that you see parked at the back of a garage as they await arrival of some obscure engine part or maybe it’s because the dealer’s electronic diagnostic kit has not discovered what bug is ailing the engine.

Other motoring moments:
– a VIP accident
– arrival of the Chrysler 300

Enough about cars

April 13 Jobs

most from the daily papers this week

Academy for educational development: finance manager, finance assistant, administration manager. Apply to by 27/4

Investment analyst at British American asset managers. Apply to by 27/4

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Project manager and a regional director,both in Nairobi. D/L is 30/4

Financial information systems manager at Equity bank. Apply to by 27/4

Operations officer (Nairobi) at the IFC growth oriented women entrepreneurs (GOWE Kenya) program. D/L is 27/4

Human resource manager at Innscor Kenya apply to by 27/4

Management trainees at KCB. Apply online by 27/4

Kenya national commission on human rights: principal human rights officer – research policy & legislation program, principal human rights officer – campaign & advocacy program, principal human rights officer – complaints & investigation program. Apply to the commission secretary 74359-00200 by 30/7

Magadi soda: senior buyer, product development manager. Apply to by 27/4

Microsoft: infrastructure consultant, corporate account manager, partner account manager. Apply to

Safaricom: Senior internal auditor, senior information systems auditor, and senior information security officer. Deadline is 18/4

Executive director at Transparency international. Apply to by 27/4

Regional Program Leader at the World Bank PPIAF Nairobi. D/L is 30/4

11 thoughts on “Motoring moment: low tech cars

  1. m

    He he! Tuko wengi. I’ve recently come into posession of a jalopy and I cannot for the like of me figure out how to put on high beam!

  2. bankelele

    egm: wow, similar story happened to someone i know who borrowed a merc CLK and got trapped inside in hot industrial area!

    m: Haiya, you’re the last person I’d expect to experience this! on mots cars you push the stick forward to activate high beam (flick away with your finger

    coldtusker: normaly he has a 3 merc convoy. I think that was a special rural delegation visit and police, ministers, DC’s join in on the motorcade

  3. Acolyte

    I had noticed this in Kenya like when there was a porsche showroom on Mombasa Rd. I do know there are some 911’s in Kenya but pray tell it must cost a tonne to have them serviced and to get spare parts.
    I think any dealership that decides to sell these cars should give more support in terms of parts and support. Buyers also have the responsibility of scouting out service centers for the cars they want to buy before forking out their hard earned or easily stolen money.

  4. jke

    Aco, I have a pic of a Porsche Boxter that was spotted in front of Village Market the other day.

    As for VIP cars, I just came across this….

    enjoy 🙂

  5. Mitzy

    This reminds me of ’05 when I received a notice in the mail from VW that some new Jettas have had their heated seats malfunction and catch fire! They were only issuing a recall fix for the driver’s seat though.
    VW said they wouldn’t completely replace a burnt seat but would replace the foam, leather cover and filament. Also if you had a burned coat or jeans, bring them in with a receipt for replacements and they would reimburse you for both the damaged & new items! So much for high tech!

  6. Anonymous

    All wheel drive makes sense anywhere, it gives better control and safety. Four wheel drive only makes sense out of the city.

  7. m

    @Anon — Ara? What’s the difference between a 4 wheel drive and an all wheel drive, assuming your car has 4 wheels?

  8. alexcia

    @ banks

    I just took car my to the garage for oil change…and the receptionist tell me that i will also be getting a *software update* as part of a recall.

    Go figure!

  9. Anonymous

    In an all wheel drive car, all four wheels move when you turn the steering wheel. This give better control. In a normal car, only the front wheels move. This term is about steering and control.

    In a four wheel drive, all four wheels receive power from the drive train. Cars older than the mid 80’s normally only have power in the back wheels, while cars newer than that usually only have power in the front wheels. Four wheel drives have power in all four wheels, so if you get some wheels stuck in the mud/ice/whatever, you can keep moving. This term is all about power, not steering.

    FYI, all wheel drive is pretty rare.

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