In Briefs: Car Warning Lights

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: So, I read Yahoo! news. That is, I flip through the ever-changing roster of front-page stories once or twice a day. I am continually amazed at what passes for news there, though sometime a piece interests me. Yesterday it was one about the most indecipherable warning symbol you’ll ever see on your car’s dash display (…and it’s true! It happened to me!); today it was a headline about teenagers rapidly losing their hearing. The link to the article proper reads “The most likely culprit >>”.

What could it be?! I wondered, clicking furiously. I even tried to guess. I was wrong, though. Turns out, it is not “Old people yelling at teens to stay off their lawns.”

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Wait! What’s the most indecipherable warning symbol?! I must know! I hope it’s a light that looks like a naked lady mudflap, indicating that it’s time for a naked lady mudflap inspection.

Actually, that warning light would be pretty decipherable. What is the real one??

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: It’s this here.

When that warning indicator first came on in my new(ish) car, I thought we were done for. It is a scary fucking light! And all it means is:

Are you ready?

Wait for it.

Here it comes…

Low tire pressure.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN:
Wow. It really looks like the internationally recognized symbol for “Car Asplode”.

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK:
Your car asplode!

And, when it came on, in yellow (which is more frightening than red; the interior illumination is red, and soothingly so), it also beeped, the same beep that it beeps when you have only 1/4-tank of gas!

What kills me, though, is that my car can tell me that one of my tires needs air, yet it can not tell me which tire. Why the hell not?

MOLLY SCHOEMANN:
My car’s check engine light comes on sometimes to tell me that the gas cap is not screwed on exactly right.

I mean, can’t they have a better light for something minor like that? The car-warning-light equivalent of a shrug? In a soothing color, like blue or sea-green…

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: Ah, that happened to me, too. My old car, a sturdy, reliable ’98 Nissan Sentra, gave me that warning, so I brought her in to the nearest garage. The mechanic, a nice guy, told me he could give me the $135 answer or the $5 answer. I tipped him $15 on top of the $5.

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: So does the Car Asplode Warning Light come on in the vicinity of the French sign for “Warning! Asploding Car Area!”?

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