Now we have barely 300 days before the start of the new millennium - and the dreaded Year 2000, or 'Y2K' day - people are really staring to pay attention.
Collectively, automobile companies are spending billions of dollars to ensure everything runs smoothly and the plants hum after 1 January 2000.
It's astonishing: In a little over a quarter of a century, our entire civilization has become utterly dependent on computers. Not a millennium, or 100 years, but just a little over a couple of decades. So today, everything we do is controlled by a computer. The computer has undoubtedly made all of our lives better and richer. But it has also created a far more complicated environment.
When computers crash today, it's a real pileup, no longer a fender bender. When sophisticated systems fail, civilization is generally in big trouble.
Technology is a wonderful thing - as long as it works. Happily, it works almost all the time, and when it stops working a backup usually kicks in immediately.
Each automobile company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that it and its suppliers run smoothly next 1 January. The companies are making sure their internal systems will continue to function perfectly.
But what about their cars?
It's been many years since computers took over the running of an automobile. Ever since the passage of emissions and safety laws, on-board computers have been essential to smooth functioning for the life of the car. So what happens when those on-board computers pass 31 December? Will we have millions of cars that might run, might run badly, or maybe won't run at all?
Imagine trying to drive home from your New Year's Eve party and discovering your car with its six or eight computers has allowed the engine to start but the transmission doesn't work and the electric seats and heater aren't functioning.
There may be many millions of vehicles built with computer chips that have clocks. For those systems, I wonder if anyone really knows what will happen when the clock strikes 12.
'Y2K' is a nightmare when you realize no one is quite sure what it affects and what is OK. There are some real challenges to be dealt with in the coming months. But for those cars already on the road, it's simply going to be an interesting New Year's Eve. Personally, I will use an old car with points, plugs and a condenser.