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Drive You Nuts August 27, 2007

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.

No, not this, which I have packed away somewhere. Instead, a tale.

Yesterday while driving home from the new family social –

And that reminds me – how about equal time for an Old Family Anti-social, where I get to berate former parents who were horrible to their kids? I think I’ll work on organizing this, because with a spread of decent buffet food to go with the festivities, it’d be an event I (and probably FAR too many of my colleagues) would look forward to.

– but I digress.

Anyway, driving home, red light, engine drops to a 500rpm idle with a shaky sputter, and the “Service Engine” light starts blinking.


I was about a mile or two from home, thinking about stopping at a restaurant for dinner, but I figured I’d better get the car home if I could since – Surprise! -because it decided to break on a Sunday evening, there’d be no service to take it to.

Drove another half mile with the car struggling a bit, engine light blinking (which the manual makes sound much more dire than if it merely stays on solid). But then, the car kicked into normal running whirrrrrr and the light turned off.


I drove it home, and figured I’d have the joy of spending my last day off today sitting at the dealership while they worked on it. I walked down the street to a sushi bar and wound up bumping into a former student having a birthday party with his family, and I got to join them. Of all the sushi bars in all of Burbank, I walked into that one…a nice coincidence or act of the almighty. Either way, I’ll take it! Maybe my luck was changing.

Then today, up at 6 to get to the dealer when they open at 7 so they can wire up the diagnostic computer and see why that light went on…. but guess which computer inside my car is smart enough to kick on a warning light using a specific code for a specific problem but then DOES NOT STORE IT INTO ANY MEMORY?

G’wan! Guess!

Memo to Nissan: Even this had enough memory to store a diagnostic code back when you still Datsun.

You can guess the rest too! The diagnostic found nothing wrong with the car. They test drove it for several miles with the computer hooked up to it, and everything worked fine. I went back to the place and drove the car with the technician in it for several miles to see if I could reproduce the problem, and it ran fine. I know they must have driven it a while since the radio had been reset to ranchera music stations on both AM and FM. Bueno!

How can a machine fix itself? Why do cars only act up when they are as far away from the repair shop as possible?

Why do I know deep deep down in little heart of hearts that the engine light will pop back up some time when I’m horribly late and in a desperate hurry and the car will stall out and I’ll be stuck where I’ll need a zillion mile tow and…

Come to think of it, why do people think I’m so negative?



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