Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
# 12:04:00 PM:

A new car era

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Cars today don't drive much differently than those made 30 or 40 years ago. But underneath there are significant differences. Our Ford Focus wagon displayed a rather uninformative orange "check engine" light a few days ago, so we made an appointment to have it looked at.

In the interim, the light went off, then on, then (of course) off again before we went in to the dealer today. But Mike, the helpful guy at the service counter, said that the car's internal computer system would remember what had triggered the light, saving it in a log that the dealer's computer could retrieve. Try that with your '65 Valiant.

Anyway, the problem turned out to be a failed sensor, not any actual mechanical system that makes the car work. This is the third failed sensor in this car in the year and a half we've owned it. The only mechanical problem has been a loose parking brake cable. Nothing has prevented the car from going or stopping when we want. So as driving machines go, the Focus has been very reliable. As a piece of sensory equipment, it's not doing so well.


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