Turning a wrench… A dying skill?

Turning a wrench… A dying skill?

It’s crazy to think that we might be heading towards the last generation of home mechanics that broadly understands how to use manual hand tools to work on an automobile. Honestly, have you lifted the hood on a new car lately? It’s all black Tupperware under there, with a big computer socket to hook up diagnostic scanners in case something goes wrong. When you do have a faulty engine or drivetrain component, it’s usually thrown away and the entire unit is completely replaced under warranty. I know I can’t work on new cars, and I’m not sure I’d want to!

There was a time when auto mechanics were able to service an entire car and all it parts by hand, to rebuild components (which were usually designed to be rebuilt), and to weld, fabricate, weld, and most likely work a wide variety of shop tools. Sound familiar? That’s a lot of us traditional hot rod and custom owners today… At least most of us can set our own timing, adjust a downdraft carb, or flush an engine block. Could we be a dying breed of gearheads that can actually service what we drive? That knows how to use a box end 1/2″ wrench to tighten a bolt? Scary questions, my friend.


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