Saturday, December 17, 2005

Who wants to hear something REALLY stupid?

So I take my car to get smog checked today. Lo and behold, it fails. Not because of the emissions test (which passes with flying colors), but because there are some little sensors in my car's computer that are reset and "not ready" to report. Why is this? Because we replaced our battery a few months ago, and that resets the car's computer. How do we get our monitors to reset? Well, it turns out, that is actually a huge mystery. Nobody really knows. It's like some giant conspiracy by car engineers to drive us all mad. How would a person even know this was a problem, until they show up for smog check and get this random failure?

So now J is driving all over town trying to find a book about drive cycles for our car, and if that fails, we'll have to take it to a dealer and see if they can tell us what the drive cycles are. Oh, a drive cycle is a particular set of ways you have to drive the car to reset the little monitors. And it's not a common way of driving (which is why, after about 5,000 miles, ours still haven't reset - on our car, they are extremely picky. The mechanic told us to just "drive around" for 100 miles - uh, uh, doesn't work that way - trying it that way is like mashing your keyboard with your fists and expecting to turn out the works of Shakespeare.). We have to find a place where we can do something like this: drive 60 mph for 60 seconds then slow to 40 mph for 2 minutes then repeat 6 times. If you drop below 36 mph you have to start over. Or this: let car idle until coolant reaches 180 degrees farenheit then drive 40 mph for 2 minutes.

Anybody have a race track or back country road we can use?

Is this not the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard of? I can't fathom who would have thought this was a good idea. It's supposed to keep people from messing with the emissions sensors, but I think it's giving a lot of grief to honest regular people for no reason.

Moral of the story: if you have to change your battery, and your car was built after 1996, it has an OBDII system in it, and you have to have a dealer change the battery, or you will not be able to pass smog checks in the future.

A few hours ago I didn't even know what an OBDII was (or a drive cycle or a Cat, O2 or Evap monitor were). This sucks. Everything always happens to us!

1 comment:

kate said...

How frustrating! I hope that never happens to me!