No Paradise by These Dashboard Warning Lights

by on December 22nd, 2010
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As a 57 year old back yard mechanic nothing annoys me more than the dash board warning lights of the newer Toyota and Honda models.These are the cars we drive in our family. I’m not sure if the information written here would work for all other cars. There are two lights in particular that I’d like to talk about in this article. The “check engine” light, and the” maintenance required” light.

It is my opinion that the check engine light Icon should be changed to a pistol and a ski mask. Auto shops and dealers are making huge profits with the tough emission law that exist only in selected counties here in Pennsylvania. Is your check engine light currently on? Is your car is running great? Just try to get a yearly inspection done. Because of that light and the law, you fail emissions. There’s a good chance will be told you need a new catalytic converter or other costly exhaust repair. In a Philly flash you are out a thousand dollars. You can’t argue that your car runs fine. You just have to take the service person’s word for it. Their criterion of proof is to hook up your car’s computer to their shop computer and a “secret code” which probably translates to “give me a thousand dollars”appears. It’s amazing the amount of converters that are bad in those counties enforcing the emission law compared to the exempt counties. Now converters and exhausts do go bad. How then can you be sure your repair is necessary?

Before going for inspection, if your check engine light is on, I strongly suggest you take your car to an Auto Zone or any auto store where they offer free check engine light diagnostic service. Write the codes down carefully. Compare them to your service shop codes when they try to give you the bad news. If the codes are different ask why. If the answer doesn’t convince you, take your car somewhere else as quickly as possible.

The maintenance required light is another worthless function offered by the manufacturer to annoy you to the point that you bring your car in for unnecessary service. I’ve been told some dealers actually charge money to get this light turned off. I will explain to you how to reset this light and turn it off. It is surprisingly simple. It is very strange that these instructions aren’t offered by many auto dealers.

Hold down the odometer button. Put the key in the ignition and turn it to the point that all the dash lights are lit, but the car hasn’t started. Hold it about 5 seconds and you will see the (MR) light go out. Remove the key and the light will be off until the next odometer trigger click 3,000 miles or whatever it is set for..


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