When I got my first car twenty years ago, I was clueless when it came to maintaining it and keeping it in a roadworthy condition. As a result, I had to pay for costly repairs that could have been avoided if the car had been looked after better. I learned my lesson and started reading everything I could about basic car maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned in the hopes it will save other new drivers making costly mistakes. I blog about a variety of topics, such as troubleshooting uneven tyre wear, the benefits of regular servicing and maintaining your car during the winter months. I hope you find my blog useful.
Could changes in the way that you interact with your car's transmission system give you more room to move in the front of your car? Could it even herald a return to the bench seat era of the 1950s? Okay, perhaps that last question is a bit of a stretch, but there are certainly trends emerging in the auto industry that could remove those awkward and barely functional gear shift levers that live in between our car's front seats.
The 1950s: Sacrificing Comfort for Easier Gear Selection
If you can remember the time when the gear shifter was mounted on the steering column of your car, then you may remember that certain vehicles could quite easily seat three people up front. Cars of that era may therefore have been much more efficient as people carriers, although hardly stylish when compared to the modern vernacular.
Historians believe that German manufacturer Mercedes Benz may have initiated the move from steering column to the current location as a more practical way to shift gears, a move that the rest of the industry was quick to follow.
Today: No More Need for a Gear Stick
While it is of course essential that the control mechanism is set in a functional location for manually operated cars, there's no real reason to have a lever of any kind in such a position for today's favoured automatics. When you consider that you only actually interact with a gear lever twice in any typical journey with an automatic car, why is it taking up so much important real estate?
In today's tech-hungry world, surely this area could be set aside for a communication hub, where you could more easily locate and plug in satellite navigation systems, driver and passenger cellphones, etc.
How Technological Changes May Herald the End of the Gear Stick
Technological advances in the auto industry have led to a number of drive by wire revelations. Cars at the higher end of the pecking order often have gear levers that are formed in unusual shapes and configurations, often designed to initiate that 'wow' factor, or for pure aesthetic style. Yet it appears that certain mainstream companies have finally decided to get rid of the clunky gear shifter stick altogether, by simply adding a rotary nob to the dashboard, or unobtrusively within the centre console.
Bye Bye, Shifter
If you are a driving enthusiast and cannot bear to think about having an automatic transmission, then a trusty gearstick will be ready and waiting for you in its usual place. However, the increasing number of people who prefer that their propulsion is managed automatically by computers may in the near future discover much more available room in that centre cockpit. Keep up to date with the latest innovations by contacting local companies such as Auto Torque.