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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

ADVANCED AUTOMECHANICS

I will write more about the present political situation later, but now I wish to report on an automotive crisis successfully handled earlier today.

My wife, Susan, drives a little 2011 bright red Toyota Yaris, which after six years has slightly more than 5000 miles on it.  In the past two days, three distinct warning lights have appeared on the dashboard.  I looked in the manual, and the instructions were that this could be dangerous and the car should be checked immediately.  Well, when it comes to cars, I do as I am told, so this morning we took it in to the dealership where she bought it and turned it over, with fear and trepidation, to the service department.  The minimum charges is $125, cheap for a life-threatening emergency.

They have just called.  After an extensive check of the vehicle they did indeed find two problems, which they have corrected.  What were they?

1.  The gas cap was loose.
2.  The tire pressure was low.

Thank God for advanced technology.

4 comments:

David Auerbach said...

Here's an odd fact. (Philosophers of science concerned with the notion of 'measurement' should love this.) Many cars of relatively recent vintage have a TPM system (tire pressure monitor) which causes a distinctive icon to light up on the dashboard should it detect a tire pressure problem. Recently we had occasion to replace 1 tire (hole in sidewall, irreparable). Now, despite nicely and equally inflated tires on all four wheels, the warning TPM light is on. Why, you ask? Sure you do. Because that TPM system doesn't directly measure tire pressure. It piggybacks on the anti-lock braking system and looks at rotational speed of each tire. If they are equally inflated (and one of them isn't skidding, but ignore that) then all is fine according to TPM. But no. First, the silly quibble. If the are all equally flat then the TPM system is fine with that. But in our case, despite equally and correctly inflated tires, the light stays on. BECAUSE THE NEW TIRE HAS A SOMEWHAT GREATER CIRCUMFERENCE. Do the physics. It goes around faster.
So the TPM system is now useless to us.

David Palmeter said...

I have the opposite problem. The light comes on for all four tires even if only one is low in pressure. Since all four are lit up in the warning icon, you can't tell tire has the problem.

Matt said...

You are lucky. A few years ago, the "check engine" light came on for my car. I read on-line about what it might be, and I really hoped it was a problem with the gas cap. I tightened it, but no luck. I hoped it might be a problem with the cap itself (I guess it sometimes is) but alas, it meant I had to spend about $1,200 to get a new catalytic converter put in, or else not pass the inspection test. (There are some ways to try to cheat this, and they may not actually cause much pollution, but I wasn't super keen on that, and also not super keen on finding a slightly shifty mechanic who would help with it.) It certainly wasn't the most pleasant $1K plus dollars I have ever spent.

Mikey said...

Some auto parts stores, like Auto Zone and O'Reilly's, will check the check-engine-light warnings for free. They only have the descriptions for the most common codes, but many of the less common codes can be looked up online.