Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Of course, everything beeps in my life. The dishwasher beeps annoyedly when we interrupt it's precious little wash cycle, the coffee maker beeps pompously at each inconsequential stage of the coffee making lifecycle, and my daughter has been known to try and communicate via a mysterious beep/bloop language on occasion. I've gotten good at ignoring all these pesky noises.

What all these appliances/children fail to realize is that they more often they beep, the less I'll pay attention. There's no need for me to leap out of my chair when the coffee warming mechanism shuts off, despite the fact that I'm usually fully caffeinated and eager to exercise my jumping muscles by that time. Less is more when it comes to notification beeps.

The car mostly gets it. The car doesn't beep very often, so when it does beep, I want to know what it's saying. "What's that, Car-y? You say that Timmy fell down a well? And you need gas?!?!" Ok!

(Note that I have anthropormophized most of the objects in the house, like the car. The official story is that I do this for the entertainment of my daughter, and I'm sticking to that story. You'd like Car-y. He's really nice.)

Even though I pay attention to Car-y's beeps, they don't all require immediate action. If I have to go a few days without refilling the windshield wiper fluid, it'll be ok. There's little need for the car to have better hygiene than I do.

Some of the beeps are accompanied by ominous indicator lights on the dash. That Check Engine light is a bastard. What the hell does that mean, "Check Engine"? Ok, bub, the engine is still there. We good now?

The last time the Check Engine light came on, we dutifully took the car to our mechanic, he hooked up an expensive computer to the car, and determined that our gas cap wasn't screwed in all the way. For a mere $60, he gave that baby a good twist. I guess Volkswagon didn't feel the need to install a Check Gas Cap light. Too bad for me.

I've never actually seen the Check Engine light mean anything important. I'd happily ignore that bastard until something actually stopped working on the car, but my wife is not so daring. She robotically (but sexily) looks in the Troubleshooting section of the VW manual each time and informs me that it says to immediately take the car to the dealer.

This weekend the ABS/Brakes light came on, accompanied by three shrill important-sounding beeps. Then, the light turned off. This happened a couple of times, and each time the light turned off.

"Looks like the problem fixed itself!" I announced hopefully, watching my wife out of the corner of my eye.

"No."

"You know what that light means, don't you, Hank? It means that they want us to give more money to the mechanic. That's all it means."

"No."

"It's probably not even the brakes. It's probably time to get the fuel gauge recalibrated, or the flux capacitor waxed."

"No."

We got home and Hank looked in the manual. It said to take the car immediately to the dealer. This is the car that Hank drives Miss Daisy around in. This is not an argument that I can or should win.

So, I took Car-y to the mechanic today. They haven't figured out exactly why the ABS/Brake light went on, but they've found a half dozen other things that need fixing.

I hate the beeps.

14 comments:

Velvet Sacks said...

Factory recalls are also requests to give money to the mechanics. I took my Camry in once in response to a "steering nut" recall. They fixed that in 20 minutes at no charge, then said, "Oh, by the way, you need a new engine." They made the situation sound so dire that I ordered a new one. Thank God, my son-in-law, enraged at the way they rip off "old people" (his unfortunate choice of words) canceled the order. I drove that car five more years before trading it in. (It was starting to smoke a little bit by then.)

tinyhands said...

Here's a free tip to the thousands of people out there reading while at work or at home ignoring their loved ones:
If the 'check engine' light comes on, and is not accompanied by a piston rocketing out of the engine and through the hood or something equally obvious (obvious being relative, of course), disconnect the positive (red) battery cable for 30 seconds and then reconnect it. If the light reappears within, say 50 miles, then have it professionally checked out. 9 times out of 10 it won't and you just saved $60.

Mike said...

VS, yeah, I've been burned by the "extra" factory recall repairs too. It's expensive being automotively ignorant.

Tiny, you lost me there in the technical mumbo jumbo, but I'll have my mechanic give that a try.

Siôn said...

My airbag light has been flashing for about two years. It's comforting. Sometimes it stops and I wonder, "where are you little light?" I'm quite looking forward to it exploding in my face when I'm doing 70 on the motorway.

zelda1 said...

When my seven-year-old grandson was four, he and I were driving up the mountain to look for deer. Anyway, I kept hearing a beep and looked at the dash board and I saw that someone's seat belt wasn't attached. Well, since he was in a car seat, and I was using the seat belt, I checked and mine was attached so I decided to ask. Sweetest Grandson On Earth I said, did you mess with your seat belt. Of course SG said no. I pulled into the nearest look off the mountain place and checked his car seat and there was the problem, he had, in fact, managed to disconnect his seat belt that connected his car seat to the car. He was very angry that I had found out and a few miles down the road announced he didn't like our car, and I asked why, and he said, it's a tattle tale. Kids don't like tattle tales. I couldn't help but crack up. That's what you have, a tattle tale car.

Mike said...

Siôn, the image of you talking to your airbag light pleases me. I hope it doesn't explode in your face.

Zelda1, at the tender age of 4, your grandson learned that you can't beat The Man, or at least The Car.

tinyhands said...

Duh, it's the Windows solution to everything. The next time the light comes on, reboot your car.

Janelle Renee said...

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Mike said...

Tiny, if I could find the CTRL-ALT-DEL keys, I totally would.

jr, for shame!

The Tart said...

Monkey see, monkey do!

BEEP!

Smooch,
The Tart

Janelle Renee said...

Beep.

Beep.

Mike said...

*fingers in ears* I can't hear you! LALALALALALALALA!!

The Tart said...

$1000 buckaroos ... think of all the Starbuck's grande non-fat iced lattes I could buy with that, hmmm. Boggles the Tarty mind. ; )

BEEP!

Smooch,
The Tart

Mike said...

Jocelyn, yeah it's a tough call. Fix my car or buy 200 coffees.