Piston Slap: Reverse Light My Way Home, General Motors!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap reverse light my way home general motors

Jon writes:


I read this column on lighting, thanks for the information! That leads me to a question…

What is up with Chevy/GM truck and SUV reverse lights!?!?!?! Why do they come on when their drivers use their lock remotes?????

It is crazy going through parking lots these days with all the SUV reverse lights coming on for no good reason. Help me understand please.

Sajeev answers:

Reversing lights, just like headlights, can be used for anything when parked. And headlights also remain lit on these vehicles, which has been a safety feature since at least the mid 1970s. Knowledge Drop time!

Peep the rheostat (Off, Max Delay) on an old automatic headlight system. There was about a minute (max) of headlight safety for a dimly lit parking space. Considering how many dimly lit streets there are at night, even in urban areas…considering how many 1970s cop shows had some seriously heavy shit go down in a dark parking garage, you better believe your 1977 Continental Mark V needs this system.

Maybe Starsky and Hutch would still be on TV if their damn low-brow Ford Torino had this Lincoln’s feature. You think long and hard about that, Son!

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

While this notion is a safety feature for the vehicle’s owner, you aren’t the only outsider complaining. I’m annoyed by them when looking for a spot, or looking to ensure someone won’t back into my ride.

So do this: slow down while approaching AND be on the lookout for the brake lights. Most of these vehicles are automatics, and most people crawl out of a spot while riding the brakes. So no brake lights, no driver inside the GM product.

[Image: Shutterstock user ARENA Creative]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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3 of 53 comments
  • DrGastro997 DrGastro997 on Mar 16, 2015

    Those reminder honks on GM cars are more annoying than the backup lights. I still don't understand how and why design engineers chose the honk over beeps.

  • Trichobezoar Trichobezoar on Mar 16, 2015

    Easy solution: back into your parking space. For everyone else, hey! I hear it's open season for ramming GM cars for the insurance! "Those lights? Yeah I ignored them since they're always on on those SUVs!+

    • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 17, 2015

      The legal bill will be in the hundreds of millions from the class action, and everyone who has an accident and claimed confusion will get a coupon for ten dollars off of a pair of Chevette floor mats while supplies last.

  • VoGhost We're at the point where the stock price is no longer relevant; focus on how the debt is priced.
  • MaintenanceCosts Nice color combo. Worth noting that this is not a conventional automatic but an automated manual, which gets you all the roughness of a real manual with none of the fun. Also not sure why everyone loves the V10 so much; it sounds more UPS truck than performance car except at the extreme high end of the tach. Having said that the E60's looks have aged VERY well; the car looks nicer now than it did when it was new.
  • Kcflyer just happy it's not black, white or silver. hooray for color choice
  • Matt Posky I paid a little under $300 bucks per month to park in Queens and was told by everyone else with a car that it was a great deal. Parking in Manhattan is typically far more expensive to rent and often involves waiting 20 minutes while someone fetches your car. Unless it was a secure garage where you yourself have 24 hour access directly to the vehicle, and it was less than a block away, there is no scenario in which I would actually purchase a parking spot in Manhattan.
  • Jeff S VoGhost--He is a Russian troll.