Monday, April 20, 2009

What just happened here?

Have you ever had a perplexing issue that isn't life changing but still captures your attention until poof!, one day it's no longer an issue and you aren't sure what happened to make it go away?

Blowing out the tire on my car* caused the sensor for the tire-pressure system to activate and light the symbol on the dash. It's a cryptic thing - like two book ended parenthesis with a squiggly line under a circle sitting between them - with a steady orange light telling me hey dummy, pay attention, I've got an issue you need to deal with ASAP.

After the spare tire was installed by the roadside assistance guy, I followed the reset instructions in the manual and after 15-17 highway miles, it came back on. Same thing after the replacement tire was installed on the original rim at the shop.** That time it didn't come back on until my morning commute - but only because I had to run some errands and took back roads home instead of the highway. That day I went back to the shop and they checked the tire pressure to confirm it was okay, and reset the button, you know, just in case I hadn't been able to properly follow directions.

That stubborn light kept coming on, and stayed on once I stopped making an effort to reset it. It was like that little boy who cried wolf, I finally just stopped paying attention to it. After a couple of weeks, I got fed up and called the shop to make an appointment to have a trained monkey (no offense to any mechanics or relatives of mechanics who may be out there; I personally am a lab rat when it comes to auto maintenance) take a look at it on Friday.

With one thing and another, although I had my car at the shop before 8AM on Friday, the only mechanic at the shop with electrical training didn't get to looking at my car until the afternoon. Frustrating, right? Apparently he didn't have time to really get into more than running the system diagnostic a couple of times to the same result: no codes popped up to tell him what was going on.

Since I wanted the car over the weekend, and more importantly didn't have a ride home, I picked the car up from the shop and drove home, with plans to return it first thing Monday (today). With other things on my mind on the way home, I didn't notice that the light hadn't come back on. But this morning, I sure noticed it wasn't on. I waited for it to come on, and waited for it to come on, and hey look, here I am at my exit and it still hasn't come on...huh?

So I headed to the shop and went in to tell the girl the light hadn't come back on, and to offer to pay for whatever time the mechanic had spent on it Friday. She was as baffled as I as running the computer diagnostic shouldn't logically have done anything more than diagnose a problem, much less fix it. When I offered to pay, she told me there was no charge for what he had done. (Yay!) Of course if it comes back on without provocation (as in I'm just driving along minding my business with the tire pressure correct and no punctures), I'll be calling them again.

*Technically, I drive an SUV, but it's easier to write/say car.
**Tire bought through by DH. It's not the same brand as the others on my vehicle, but is the same size and is probably a better tire. The shop I am going to was their local recommended dealer. I wouldn't have thought to go there otherwise, but it's this great family run place where the dad runs the back and his daughter runs the front. I'll probably try to go back for oil changes and any other issues, just because they've been so great about trying to get this little issue diagnosed before throwing money at new parts that may not be needed. It's also the closest repair shop to my work, which totally rocks.

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