Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Let's Talk About Lights and I Don't Mean Christmas.

I've been seeing a lot colored lights over the last few weeks. Well, duh, bro, we all have. They're called Christmas lights (t least in this house they aren't holiday lights yet and never will be).

No, these are not those lights. These are dashboard warning lights and I kind of dislike all these warning lights.  I remember when we somehow survived with three gauges instead, one showing oil pressure, one showing engine temperature and a volt-amp gauge that proved your battery was charging. Now we got ;rights, bells and beeps that nag us about everything: emergency brake is on, seat belts aren't fastened, your tie isn't on straight or you got spiniach between your teeth.

I'm talking about those lights.

We've had a hot spell here in Delaware over Christmas. Instead of our normal 45-46 degree days this time of year, we were as high as 75-76 with a number of days in the 60s. This ruined any dreams of a white Christmas, but it will be a nice gift to my wallet when the heating bill comes in. It was mild all fall, actually, but just before the real heat bounce we had a couple real cold days. There was even ice in the birdbath and frost everywhere else.

On one of those nights the thermometer dipped into the mid-twenties and when I started up the car next morning and took off, my low tire pressure warning light stayed lit.

I truly hate this light.

I've been driving for nearly sixties and never saw this light until five years ago when I bought our present car. In those five years it has only lit once for a truly flattening tire when I picked up a penetrating screw somewhere along the road. Yet I have seen it many times over because the temperature changed. Driving all those years in all kinds of different conveyances and the only thought about changes in temperature were what do I wear today. Now I get nagged because cold air deflates and warm air inflates, but usually the cold air today clicks on the low pressure light, but the hot air tomorrow doesn't correct the situation and I got to go find a compressor somewhere and blow up the stupid tire (thank God for Wawa are their free air). All those many years before I drove summer and winter and never gave a care to this up and down pressure thing, never worried or fretted, and still survived with four fine tires years after year. Now...

Well, I'll tell you, it scared my wife to death the first time. She was going to visit a friend up in Pennsylvania and poof -- on comes this yellow light with an explanation point. She had no idea what that meant. She turned around and came home in a panic. I guess she expected the car to explode.

Anyway, it is there again and has been for two weeks now. I wasn't going to air up those tires during this warm spell and then have temperatures go back to normal and have to repeat the process.

And by-the-by, I also have a mystery light I can't figure out. In early December I took my friend, Ronald, to Philadelphia. He was staying there for a week and I dropped him at the place he was booked. There was a garage in the rear we pulled into and an attendant greeted up. You have to give them your keys and they park and fetch your vehicle as needed.

The man took my keys and handed me a slip and something else. It was hard and oddly shaped, but I really didn't look at it closely as I strained to understand this man. I don't know what language he was speaking, if any because it sounded like gibberish and I never did get one word he uttered. I took it I was supposed to set this object on my dashboard and assumed it was some kind of signing device, sort like you get in some restaurants that light up when your table is ready. I didn't see much purpose in this case, but we were just anxious to see Ron up to his friend's, who lived in a suite in the same building.

When I left I looked at the object and it was an automobile headlight (pictured right).  It wasn't even the kind for my car.  I simply dropped it in a cup holder to the rear of the console and forgot it. I did ponder a bit over what the guy handed me a headlight.

Frankly, I had no use for some old headlight and a low pressure light nor for the strange noise that was beginning to drive me to bedlam as I drove.

It was a strange little clicking sound, a tiny cluck-clack that I couldn't locate. I began to fear a problem, perhaps with the transmission. The sound seemed to correspond with gear changes. Yet I could not locate just where it emanated from. Was it the engine area or the hump between the front seats. I though maybe some stuff in the little compartments to the front of the console were rattling. There were some sunglasses, a tire gauge, a pen, and makeup brush, a eyebrow pencil and a pencil sharpener within those holes. I removed these and lay them on the passenger seat and yet the cluck-clack continued.

What? What? WHAT!

You guessed it, right. It was that headlight the mumbler mysteriously handed me rolling in its prison.

Fine, I'm comfortable with this annoying low pressure light and I've located my cluck-clack, but then on the Saturday before Christmas,  I came home from some shopping, pulled up in front of the house and just as I turned off the car the check engine light flashed on the dash. I thought maybe it was because I had turned the motor off. You know how all the warning lights come on when you first turn the key.  I turned the engine back on just to check. Sure neigh all the warning lights lit up and then all the warning lights went off, except two, the low tire pressure light and the dreaded check engine light.

Oh Holly, Jolly dash it all, you don't want this light any time, but especially a week before Christmas.

I really haven't gotten this light much over my driver's life. We had a Pontiac J2000 we bought the
first year GM made them. Our's was a very dark blue and at the time it was unique. It looked different from all the other cars on the road and people are always strolling over to inspect it and ask what it was. We liked the car, but it had one failing.

One winter's day we set out on a long trip up to the Poconos and halfway there the check engine light came on. We hadn't seen this before and we didn't know what to do. Should we pull over immediately before the engine exploded in our faces or what? We perused the owners manual and it said to get the car to a mechanic as soon as possible, but didn't indicate we couldn't drive for a while, so we continued to our destination, not to say this situation didn't remain on our minds the whole stay and even more on the drive home with that light glaring at us.

It turned out it was nothing more than dis on the sensors of the onboard computer. However, it continued to be an ongoing dusty problem there after.

I, as we all do these days, went right to Facebook and bemoaned my latest attack of a warning light. Several people told me to go to AutoZone and get it checked. My friend, Frank, who is a true Geared and auto expert also suggested I do that, but then send him the code and he would advise me, which I truly appreciate. He said there were hundreds of things in a car that can light that light. I'm not sure knowing that is a great comfort.

However, before I could take any action my daughter, Laurel, asks did I check the gas cap. Sometimes a loose gas cap will produce this result. The next morning as I prepared to leave for church, I did turn my gas cap until it was clicking it's little heart out.  I left for church, but the check engine light stayed on and I felt defeated. After church I get it start up and by the time I departed the parking lot the check engine light went out. I trust my daughter and I trust The Lord to keep watch over me.

The low pressure light remains on, though.

So great, I am sailing along feeling fine until Christmas Eve. I turn on the car and there on the dash in
the middle of the tach is a little light, the wretched wrench.  This symbol stands for maintenance. That can be scary expense wise, but at the same time  my milage meter had flipped over showing I was at 15% of oil life.

I knew this one was coming soon. I was hoping not until after the New Year, but here it was now. I need to get an oil change. I can probably still put this off until January. We have two doctor appointments this week. Our body doesn't have warning lights, just appointments. We have a lot of those appointments any more, but that's another story.

Meanwhile, although I hope to let my little light shine more for Jesus in the coming year, I will hope little lights shine less on my dashboard.

1 comment:

Jon said...

I sure miss the good old days before cars had these insanely annoying flashing lights.

I hate to admit it, but the "Check Engine" light has been on in my car for several months. I don't have the time or money to have it checked. And, as you said, it could be an indication of MANY different things - some serious and some minor.

It did this once before - over a year ago - but then the light mysteriously went out. I'm hoping it will eventually go out again.