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writing for godot

Your Car Needs A Colonoscopy!

Written by James and Jean Anton   
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 02:17
This probably has happened you.

You are driving somewhere when suddenly an icon of your engine turns bright yellow on your dashboard. You don’t know what it means. But it looks serious, very serious. That’s an outline of your entire engine. It’s not like you only need gas or something. Cars need engines to function and they’re expensive to replace. You wonder if your car will explode, or start dropping parts all over the road.

Fear and panic sets in. Gotta get home before something really awful happens as you are doing seventy in the left lane of the freeway.
You drive the car to your favorite service station, and the attendant tells you that he has to do some tests. “Tests????”

You find that he has a computer that he attaches to something under the hood, and a tube he puts into the exhaust pipe. Reminds you vaguely of a colonoscopy. People who get colonoscopies are luckier. They are offered drugs. He shoves the tube up the exhaust, and runs the engine. You wince.

“There’s nothing wrong with the engine,” he tells you. “Your emissions are fine. It’s the sensor–the OBD II–that’s broken.”
Nothing wrong with the engine. Oh, thank you, God! It’s over, you think. You breathe easier. You feel lucky. Your car won’t need a new engine.

But then the attendant says “You’d better have it taken care of.” He sounds serious so you ask: “What will it cost?”
“About seven-hundred and fifty dollars,” he says, trying to seem nonchalant. Trying to make it seem like this is a wonderful way to spend your money.

“I know it’s a lot of money,” he says. “But the part is very expensive. And if you go to the dealer they are going to charge you twelve-hundred. People are even stealing them from parked cars.”
“F***CK IT” you say. I can live with the engine light on.”
“No you can’t,” the helpful attendant says, “you won’t pass inspection.”
“Why not? You said the engine was fine.”
“Because you can’t get an inspection sticker if your engine light is on. Doesn’t matter about the exhaust emissions being OK.”

This is like failing the colonoscopy and being told not to worry about it – that your a***hole is fine, but the scope is broken–and you are required to pay for a new one. And unless you pay for another one, you can’t leave the hospital because… well just because.

So you decide to take out a home-equity loan to have the sensor replaced. The attendant gives you a receipt, and you get a pass for a year. Then you read the warranty. It is good for one year.

You grit your teeth and cross your fingers and hope for the best.
So you buy the new sensor, but in a year (just after the warranty expires…) the engine light goes on again. You go again to the service station, and it all sounds a little too familiar because you already know the drill. Your car needs another colonoscopy. He shoves his probe into your tailpipe. Of course, the engine’s OK, it’s that darn light bulb again.

Then the same thing happens to your wife…
Same story. It’s not the wife’s engine that needs repair, only the sensor.

OBD II (On Board Diagnostic) systems (sensors) are built-in emissions monitoring systems. They are required under federal law out of “concern for the quality of the air we breathe.” Replacing them is very expensive, and they are warranteed for a very short time.

The problem is that they don’t do much to help anything.
If the engine light goes on and the problem is the sensor itself–not your engine–as is almost always the case, fixing it does nothing to help improve air quality.

On the other hand, in the rare event that the engine light does not go on but there is an emissions problem, it will be picked up by an inspection with or without an engine light indicator. And, if it goes on the day after an inspection you would not have to have it fixed until the next inspection anyway.

In other words, OBD II systems do good for nobody at all–well, almost nobody at all–except: the OBD II system manufacturers, the service stations, and the new car dealers (how many of us decide it’s time for a new car because of this yearly expense on older cars) all of whom profit–directly or indirectly–from this tomfoolery they put up your tailpipe. your social media marketing partner
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