Tonight while puttering about my apart, I listened to NPR's "Car Talk" podcast. If you are not familiar with Car Talk, it's a highly entertaining call-in car repair show. You don't need to be a car expert to appreciate it; most of the callers aren't. Tom and Ray answer questions, tell jokes, pick on one another, and generally have a good time for an hour.
People often call in asking about warning lights on the dash. It got me thinking about my experience with warning lights.
The first car I owned was an 85 Subaru GL that I bought with 103,000 miles on it. I drove it for years until it finally dies at about 187,000 miles. But that is a tale for another time.
One night while driving from Great Falls to Helena, I encountered a sudden red glare out the corner of my eye. I looked down and there on the dash was a bright red warning sign that said "Brake."
I was zipping up and down hills on the interstate at, um, "Montana Appropriate" speeds. A few light taps on the brake pedal seemed to slow that car, and it was late, so I decided not to worry about it too much.
But the big problem was that the light was so bright. I had dimmed my other dash lights because it was dark out, but this one was making it harder to see. Why do danger warning have to be so obnoxious?
So I pulled over at an empty exit, dug around in my trunk and found the tool I needed to fix the problem with the brakes -- black electrical tape. I tore off a small piece and stuck it right over warning light and solved the problem.
Anyone else fix their brakes this way?
After a week or so, I took the car in. For some reason, the mechanics were appalled at how I handled the situation. It turns out I needed a new hill holder switch.
Which is pretty cool because at that point I didn't even know my car had a hill holder switch.
I worked out a little better than that time I decided to repair the windshield crack with duct tape.