Too Complicated?

Too Complicated?

By Don Terrill (c) -

If left unchecked, products will become more complicated over time.

When thinking of how to improve a car they always think about adding something, never deleting. I'm sure many of you will agree, it might be time to start removing some of these "improvements."

A while back I had a Chevy S10 Blazer where the push button 4 wheel drive quit working. It cost me $400 to fix. Now tell me, what was wrong with the old lever for shifting the transfer case? It cost a lot less to produce and never failed. Have we become so soft that pulling a lever is consider too much work?

Toyota's huge recall because of gas pedals sticking is the most recent example of products becoming too complicated. My '69 Camaro has a rod attaching the pedal to the carburetor. Later they switched to cables. Both are very simple designs. Now Toyota and others are switching to electronically controlled throttles that add layers of complexity and new points for potential failure.

How do we keep our race cars from befalling the same fate?

(1) Think fewer moving parts - If it moves, it will eventually fail

(2) Think simplification - Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler -- Albert Einstein

(3) Think less is more -  See subtraction as a positive

(4) Ask if it's actually needed - This is the most important. Why spend time simplifying if the item is not even required.

From Wikipedia:
Feature creep is the proliferation of features in a product. Extra features go beyond the basic function of the product and result in over-complication rather than simple, elegant design.

Want to send off a nasty email about how wrong I am? Well, first read this and then write your own article.