Service Engine Soon

Service Engine Soon

My dad’s car had the scary Service Engine Soon light flicking on and off at random for the last 3 years. Every once in a while, it would just switch on and stay lit for few days. Then it would go off, and stay off for months on end. He saw several mechanics about this in the past, and most of them said the same thing.

The problem was either a faulty Oxygen sensor going haywire, or there was something wrong with the way onboard computer handled the signal from the said sensor. In either case, it was nothing serious. It was only one out of n similar sensors that was fucking up and if something was really wrong with the oxygen levels they all would be going crazy. There were essentially two options:

a. go to the dealer, spend mucho dineros to do a thorough diagnostic and replace some of the onboard electronics, or

b. just ignore the damn thing, keep on driving, and do periodic checks to make sure nothing else goes wrong.

Of course my dad picked the second option, and chose not to worry to much about it. Then, few days ago, when he realized that he needed to do the state inspection and the stupid light just happened to be on for the last week.

He decided to visit our local mechanic, The Turkish Guy (from now on I will refer to him as TTG). TTG is a very nice guy actually, but I can never remember his name. My whole family goes to him, and we never really refer to him as anything else but TTG. I bet to him we are The Polish People or something like that so it all works out. :P

I tagged along because my dad’s English is about as good as my Japanese (all I know is Konichiwa) so someone had to do the translating. TTG futzed around with the electronics for a bit, and managed to shut the light off using some 1337 car-hacking skillz. He recommended to wait 48 hours before doing the inspection so that the onboard memory is overwritten with fresh data, and the O2 Sensor Failure message disappears.

Naturally, 15 minutes after we pulled out of his garage the damn thing flicked on again. Somehow I knew that something like that would happen. Stupid asshole dashboard light! Sigh…

So we sat there staring at it for a while, and in the end decided to just risk it. There were only 2 days left on the old inspection sticker and it just had to be done. If the car would fail, then at least it would give us an incentive to haul it to the dealer and get that annoying bug fixed once and for all.

I ended up tagging along for the inspection trip too. I had to drag myself out of the bed early so that we can hit Rahway before work. I was pretty much napping in the car on the way there, and I only woke up when we pulled into the inspection lane and the guy told us to get out and wait on the sideline while the run the tests.

As I was climbing out of the vehicle, I glanced at the dashboard and I saw the light was off. The car passed with flying colors, and they haven’t even noticed that there was some shit going on with the sensors. WTF?

This was either blind luck, or that car is just seriously fucking with me.

[tags]state inspection, car, service engine soon, mechanic, oxygen sensor[/tags]

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