Isn’t It Time For a Better Check Engine Light?
It happened yesterday. I was driving home and glanced down at the dashboard to see that amber light that makes everyone cringe. The dreaded "check engine" light. It's nearly the year 2020 and yet we haven't moved past this vague warning light.
For nearly 40 years, this warning light has been a feature on all vehicles and illuminates for a whole slew of reasons, yet tells you nothing. The light could mean anything from your gas cap isn't on tightly to your engine is misfiring, but that's up to you to figure out which it is. When the light goes on, you have to take it to a service center and have a technician plug in a do-hickey that gives them a code. Then they have to cross reference that code with whatever warning it's trying to tell you about. (My apologies to all you auto technicians how know the proper lingo, but for me, it's just a do-hickey)
My car didn't even make a sound when it came on, I just looked down and there it was. That's when that sinking feeling hits you and the inevitable question goes through your mind. "How much is this going to cost me?"
Why is it we can't just bypass seeing an auto tech to get our answer and have the car just tell us flat out why it quietly turned on the check engine light. My car is smart enough to sound a chime and shows message on the dash for when one of my tires is low, when my washer fluid is low, when I'm due for an oil change and a whole bunch of other things that need my attention, even if the parking brake is on and I put the car in drive. (I only did that once, by the way.)
All these things my car knows about and spells it right out for me, yet it's like that person being all vaugebook on you, posting to let people know that something's wrong but not bothering to say what.
We have the technology. The answer is right there in the car just waiting for a tech to retrieve it. How about having cars just spill the beans and save us the worry or incite panic. Whatever the case, it's time our cars started telling us what's wrong in plain English, right on the dashboard. Who's with me?