Saturday, January 7, 2012

Code 128

So there we were.  Headed for home after a nice dinner. Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and a good Cabernet to wash it down with. My boss had the Chicken Pot Pie and ice tea. Comfort food on a cold January night.

Then the dreaded "Check Engine" light came on. The car was running fine, the temperature gauge was normal so I just took it on home. After I got there I double checked the gas tank's cap as a loose cap will generate an error. The cap seemed okay so I decided I'd look into come morning. Besides, 28 degrees is too cold for a seasoned citizen to mess around in.

The next morning I dropped off the Grandson at school and drove on over to the Firestone store that has been doing my minor....oil work on both my wife's and my car. Since the oil only had 11% life left I decided I'd just go ahead and get an oil change, get them to tell me what the error code was and if it was serious, I'd take the car to the dealer who does my major repair work. If not I'd truck on down to Tunica for a couple days of poker playing.

The conversation went something like this:

Service guy, after getting my name:  "The Lucrene or the Regal?"

Me: Lucrene. Oil and whatever else.

Service Guy: Same oil we've been using?

Me: Yeah. And btw, there's a check engine light that came on last night. Tell me what the error code is.

Service Guy: So you want to purchase a diagnostic test?

Me: Purchase? No. Just tell me what the error code is and I'll decide who gets to fix it.

Service Guy: Sorry, Firestone policy won't let me do that.

Me: Huh? I mean, if I don't know what's wrong I can't decide if I want you guys to fix it or not.

Service Guy: Sorry, but that's Firestone Policy.

Me, remembering that after I had an error code reset on the wife's Regal and it never came back because it was just a glitch: Okay, just reset it. If it comes back on I'll see what's what.

Service Guy: Sorry, but that's against Firestone's Policy.

Me: Let me see. You've been servicing my two cars for quite a while and I've got this one here and all I want is for it to be serviced and the computer reset.

Service Guy: Sorry, Firestone's policy won't let me.

Me: Autozone will tell me what the code is for free.

Service Guy: Yeah. There's an Autozone right up the street. You can stop by there after we get the service work done.

Me: I got a better idea.

Service Guy: Sorry, but that's Firestone's policy.

Me: My idea is this. My policy is that I don't do business with companies that can't help me out a little.

Service Guy: Sorry, but that's Firestone's policy.

Me: Please don't take this personal 'cause I know you're just doing what you're told. But the next time you talk to your boss tell him a long term good customer is now an ex-customer and said that Firestone can kiss his foot.

So I drove out to the Chevy dealer who has been doing my major repair and had him change the oil. He checked the error code and announced it was telling me that the engine was running a little too cold. Good old code 128. Probable causes? Low coolant? Nope. Coolant fine. Thermostat not working correctly? Hmmm, temperature gauge looks exactly right. Temperature sending sensor?? Maybe.

I asked if driving it down to Tunica would hurt and he said no, but I shouldn't wait too long to replace the thermostat.... Only around $200 for that plus fresh coolant.

So I did. Nice trip. Only the "Check Engine" light stayed on. Came back to the dealer this PM and asked if they had reset the computer to see if the light would go out.

Well no, they hadn't.

Me. Let's do that.

They did.

The light went  out. We'll see if it stays out.

Moral of this story?? Double check anything a car's computer tells you.

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

“It’s the presumption that Obama knows how all these industries ought to be operating better than people who have spent their lives in those industries, and a general cockiness going back to before he was president, and the fact that he has no experience whatever in managing anything. Only someone who has never had the responsibility for managing anything could believe he could manage just about everything.” - Thomas Sowell in Reason Magazine

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