By on January 26, 2016

 

infotainment. shutterstock user Stanisic Vladimir

Bruce writes:

Hi Sajeev,

In the comments for “QOTD: Are All These Turbocharged Cars Going to Last?” there was a long discussion on whether dashboard entertainment systems were also a weak point in modern cars. Well, it’s turned out to be a weak point in my 2004 Acura TSX.

It’s a first-generation TSX with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a total hoot to drive, but the dash computer/radio has always been a problem. The high-mounted LED display failed and was fixed under a recall (the problem was a bad chip in the radio). It gave up the ghost again nine years later and the dealer threw up his hands at fixing it for free. Now the infotainment system constantly reboots rendering it unusable.

My question: Is it worth having this problem fixed on an 11-year old car?

Not having the infotainment system is more of a nuisance than anything else. The CD player works. I can adjust the radio and temperature controls using the knobs and buttons. I already use my phone to navigate because it has real-time traffic functionality. I can’t redirect the vents, adjust the bass, treble or balance, or see the clock or set temperature for the cabin, however.

Your thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

The perk of living in the Internet age — aside from this fantastic column and its magnificent author — is that almost anything can be repaired with Googling, including in-car entertainment (ICE). This video suggests cleaning the DVD disc to fix the rebooting issue.

This company rebuilds a host of Acura components, and specifically the non-navigation setup for $125-225. I’d contact them for a rebuild estimate on yours … but they aren’t the only game in town.

High tech auto infotainment repair shops are popping up in major cities, which aid local mechanics in making local repairs. I recently purchased a reconditioned Marc Levinson amp for my mother’s 2006 Lexus GS. It was silly money from the dealer (over $2,000) because it’s a rare Lexus option. So off I went to my trusty stereo repair shop in a not-so-pleasant part of town. Twenty-four hours later and $500 lighter, I had a rebuilt amp with a 90-day warranty.

I could have spent (a little) less buying a junkyard part from eBay, but who knows its lifespan.

I’ve had good luck with the cottage industry (?) around ICE repairs, so give it a shot.

[Photo courtesy: Shutterstock user Stanisic Vladimir]

Send your queries to [email protected]. 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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82 Comments on “Piston Slap: Cold Feelings About Depreciated ICE?...”


  • avatar
    qfrog

    This month I had module master rebuild a Saab info display for $80. I disassembled the unit on my own to have a look, poke and prod at the PCB/ribbon cable interface to see if adding a bit of pressure might restore the missing vertical line. Nope. After a few minutes of tinkering I came back to the conclusion that my Hakko and I had better things to do. Fixing the unit on my own to save $80 was simply not worth the effort. Upon return the unit worked as new and cost a few hundred dollars less than a new unit.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    The internet is your friend. Acurazine would be a good place to look for a shop or tips to get it working again, and if you live in a larger city, you may just find somebody local.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This dilemma will become more common over the next 20 years. The mechanicals of modern cars will still be running fine, but as the electronic frippery starts to fail, perfectly good machines may become uneconomic to maintain.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      Are we classing stereos as “electronic fripperies” now?

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        I’d classify a touch screen ICE that control major functions like climate control, adjustable suspensions, performance modes etc as a component that could potentially junk an otherwise perfectly running car once they fail, especially on low production run cars that won’t have a strong salvage yard base in the future. It’s frippery because most of the new electronic enhancements on cars these days are pretty much unnecessary gadgets that don’t really do much to improve the actual car.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Cadillac owners are going to have fun, fun, fun, with long term ownership of “touch only-haptic feedback” CUE, which (sometimes, sometimes not, depending on mood) controls audio, heating/cooling, cruise control, and everything else.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          There will almost always be replacement units available from somewhere. Low production run cars are more likely to retain enough value to be worth the cost of sourcing and installing the replacement.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            What about good ol’ Pick-n-Pull? Most have the ability to test out “electronic fripperies” and nearly all refund money within a reasonable amount of time for electronics that either don’t work or stop working. It’s a cheap and easy way to get exactly the part you need and sometimes you get lucky. I found a Navigation system stereo in a 2004 BMW E46 sedan that fit quite well within my 2000 E46 coupe.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          And yet the CRT screens in 1990 Rivieras controlling those functions are still workin!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Funny that.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think it was one of those times where GM was like “We’re doing something brand new, so we’re going to overbuild it and test the crap out of it.”

            Doesn’t happen too often, but another example I can think of is the FWD Toronado drive train for 66.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Testing? Like before product release? Crazy talk! We’ll just use the customers and dealers.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s Cadillac Style!

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Corey: I read “GM” and “test the crap out of it” and thought “Unitized Power Package” even before I read your next sentence.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “Are we classing stereos as ‘electronic fripperies’ now?”

        Now? Always have been. All you need is NPR and the Emergency Broadcast Notification System so mono is fine.

        This is only a test.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Eh, sometimes Radiolab does stuff in stereo. Whether or not that’s a good thing is another argument entirely…

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I googled Radiolab and listened to about 30 seconds of their year end special.

            Holy crap. I could just see the nose rings and pipsqueak bodies. Stream of goo-gooness airhead cliché-people.

            I refuse to believe that you identify with those puppies.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Here’s what the Radiolab guys look like:

            http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kwgs/files/styles/medium/public/radiolab%20hosts.jpg

            The year-end special of any program is almost never indicative of the regular programming. Radiolab is probably my least favorite program, but it’s better than silence when you’re baling straw from 2:30-9 in 100 degrees.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “baling straw from 2:30-9 in 100 degrees”

            Yeah, that’s what I meant.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think Dr. Z lives in 1949!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Heh, nope. Air-conditioned JD 7410 for me.

            http://blog.machinefinder.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/JD7410-IApic.jpg

            And the tractor is pulling this:

            http://www.masseyferguson.nl/images/stories/products/oogstmachines/mf2100/mf-1840.jpg

            And the baler is pulling this:

            http://www.rovicleers.co.za/Areas/Portal/Uploads/Public/ProductImages/01%20Hay%20accumulater%20L.png

            Which drops the bales in a 10-pack right on the ground. That 10-pack can be picked up and set on a rack or trailer. 98% of our straw (which this past year was over 10,000 bales) is sold right out of the field; we don’t even touch it aside from checking that the tension is good every 5 packs or so. If we didn’t have any one of those three beautiful machines, there’s no way we’d be out baling in the hottest part of the day.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So you’re basically sitting in a tall, single-passenger SUV with air con and a radio!

            Nice equipment pics – I never think about how modern farming is accomplished. Is there a license/certification required if you’re to operate such machinery on a commercial farm, for instance?

            Thinking on this from an insurance perspective, since that’s what I do.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “So you’re basically sitting in a tall, single-passenger SUV with air con and a radio!”

            Eeeee!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Disclaimer: None of those pics were our actual equipment, but were pretty close. Our 7410 (“Seventy-four ten”) has the muffler coming out the left side of the hood, rather than at the corner of the cab. I know, big difference.

            As far as insurance goes: I’m not too certain as to the actual bookwork of running the farm, so it’s probably a good thing I won’t be taking it over. All I know is the value of our equipment (somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) and land is insured through a trust my late grandfather set up.

            There’s almost no kind of training or certification needed to run most implements or trucks on farm property, since it all counts as off-road use. The expertise needed to run a 530 (“five-thirty”) with a hand clutch is apparantly the same as an 8300 (“eighty-three hunnerd”) with autosteer and electric shifting.

            If we bought a semi, it would require a CDL, though. Our largest truck right now is an old Ford L700, which is (I think) 24,500 GVWR.

            Now, if I was to start running the sprayer or the NH3 applicator, that would require a chem. application certificate.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks, all very interesting info.

            Farm Bureau started out doing insurance on stuff like you’re talking about, IIRC. They still run differently in that Farm Bureau of Indiana is entirely separate from Farm Bureau of Iowa.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I like “Radiolab.”

            Go figure.

            I also like “This American Life.”

            I am beyond pigeon-hole stereotypes, as I’m truly independent.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      I’m waiting for self driving cars with old electronics.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You win the internet. My parents’ next door neighbor bought a new Mercedes-Benz 300E in 1987. It was probably the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz engineering achievements at the peak of their focus. After a century of making cars, they produced something that used technologies they’d been perfecting for years. It had recirculating ball power steering, like every US market Mercedes Benz for decades. The engine was a simple 12-valve SOHC inline 6, addressing issues they’d had with their more complex DOHC 12-valve inline 6. The transmission was a four speed automatic, much like my Mercedes of a decade earlier. The rear suspension was the most radical design solution on the car, and that they’d been using on the smaller 190E for years. Germany would reunify and have to absorb a plethora of people broken by socialism, but that was still a couple of years out.

        The 1987 300E was a fantastic and conservative car built by a company with a complete commitment to quality and engineering that enjoyed pricing power. It was the sort of car that in diesel form would make sense to a taxi operator, who could amortize its immense cost over its lengthy service life. But you know what? My neighbor got a lemon. Everything went wrong on that car. Stuff you never think about broke in the first year. As the warranty ran its course, other stuff broke and some stuff broke again. Seeing the warranty invoice for the failed steering rack caused my neighbor to trade his car. He knew he didn’t want to be on the hook for keeping it on the road when the warranty ended.

        That was the best car made by the best car company to a standard that no longer exists. It was still a lemon. The idea that anyone is going to the hand the wheel over to Ford or Apple makes me laugh. How dumb is average? It may be pathetic, but autonomous cars are a reminder that half of everyone is dumber than that.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Maybe I just haven’t looked in to right places, but given the current system with touch screens to control everything, do they even *make* cars now with audio systems that aren’t integrated into everything else? Last one I did was my MK IV (2004) Golf where I replaced the stock auto-reverse cassette with something with A) bluetooth and 2) USB.

    It must be killing the low end aftermarket audio market. I say low end, because I’m assuming there is a way to make higher end equipment work, since like most things, there is a solution given enough $$$.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      True in that any problem can be solved with enough money thrown at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Hamilton Guy

      My 2015 Grand Caravan. The climate controls are separate and are physical knobs and switches. The entertainment system is just for entertainment, handfree calling other “fripperies”. The vehicle should function fine if it dies.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      On the ’14 Charger, I can control HVAC fan speed and temp with buttons, but air direction is only available through uConnect. Seat heaters, phone, and certain settings related to automatic locks/lights are also uConnect only.

      I believe that a lot of the performance settings on the SRT models are only available through the touch screen as well.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My wifes Volvo is a prime example of the problem. The “radio” is actually the gateway to about 1/2 of features of the car. Things like HVAC, door lock settings, lighting, etc. Long gone are the days of a deck+4 (simple DIN radio and 4 speakers). The aftermarket does have some dash integration type kits which offer HVAC controls along with audio & nav features, so there is some hope. As usual Crutchfield would be my go to source for such systems.

  • avatar
    cheezman88

    Oh boy i used to have this exact car, in black. It was so much more problematic than the reliability ratings suggest. Granted i bought it used at 70k miles, but i had the clutch master cylinder go out, power steering pump die, had a loud clunking sound everytime i shifted hard. On top of that, the 2004-2005 model years were susceptible to an imploding A/C compressor at any given moment that destroyed the entire A/C system. It was a $4,000 repair that Acura refused to recall until it was so late that most cars were out of warranty and all they offered was a 5-10% discount. I sold it fast.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Its funny how “amazing” Hondas Acuras are until you actually own one, or do a little research.

      I thought it was just the automatics that were trouble.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Those cars have a reputation for being prone to high oil consumption too (the “within spec” quart/1,000 miles).

      Many of Honda’s well-loved 6MTs have issues with 3rd gear too.

      Can you imagine this thread if you substituted Honda/Acura for anything US or German?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        If it were German everyone would simply laugh, and be happy that their hatred for expensive unreliable European cars is confirmed.

        If it were American, wed hear more about how Japanese cars were so much better 20 years ago, how they were superior to Cavaliers n stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          Haha, now you know why I continue to drive Chevy, but apparently there’s something to the reliability figures for Honda & Toyota, otherwise, fewer people would buy them.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            While I dont drive GM, my family drove GM quite often back in the 90’s, and even now we have a new Malibu in the driveway.

            Save for a rusty Sunbird we swiftly returned to the dealer for a refund, our GMs served us well. Though our “sporty-spec” Grand Prix would frequently loose its alignment on city streets.

            I mostly drive super unreliable, cheaty, swindly European cars, save for one example they’ve worked out pretty well.

  • avatar
    Reino

    When did ICE take on another meaning than ‘internal combustion engine’ around here?

    Anyways, my infotainment died on my BMW 5 series. It was a $1,200 fix. In runs everything from stereo and phone to the parking sensors. I agree that cars are too reliant on these central systems.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “When did ICE take on another meaning than ‘internal combustion engine’ around here?”

      This. Acronym ambiguity should be left to IT and the government.

    • 0 avatar
      Nellakwah

      Ha, I was thinking the same exact thing about that acronym. Internal Combustion Engine, all the way.

      I’ve heard infotainment a thousand times, I’ve maybe heard in-car entertainment once and it referred to DVD players in the back of a Honda Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Sajeev should have to run 50 laps as a penalty for using ICE as an acronym for electronic controls rather than internal combustion engine.

      Sanjeev, his evil twin, should get to give him both a noogie & a shine, when he finishes, also.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Soichiro must be rolling in his grave.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    That’s a really nice TSX. You’ll be really challenged to find a new vehicle with an MT that drives as nicely.
    I would definitely invest in repairing/replacing the entertainment system. Even if you do wind up selling the car, you’ll recoup your spend in resale value.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I got rid of that exact TSX, a red 2004 with Nav, in 2007 with the excuse to my wife that the warranty was ending and I didn’t want to be responsible for the large nav/stereo/climate unit out of warranty.

    In reality I saw my dream of buying an idiotic 2-seat roadster slipping away and decided to grab it while I still could. Bought another TSX, a 2011, several years later, this time without Nav.

  • avatar
    DubVBenz

    I have a 07 W211 OM642 Diesel Mercedes pretty well loaded up. Leveling/cornering bixenons, keyless entry/go, sat radio, bluetooth (phone only), steering wheel controls, 7-speed auto, pano roof, a nice info screen in the gauge cluster, etc.

    The problem is that all the infotainment stuff is tied together with a becker navigation system designed between 2000-2001 and introduced with the car’s release in 2002/2003. It does what it’s supposed to do, but is woefully outdated. In fact, it was woefully outdated when the car was new.

    I like the wrapper (the car), but would love to have some more modern things like reverse camera, streaming bluetooth music, better nav, traffic, etc. I’ve looked into aftermarket replacements, but they all have one of the following combinations of issues:

    Firstly, the Steering wheel controls and screen in Gauge Cluster become non-functional. They’re really very convenient as is.

    Second, Mercedes uses external amps for the speakers, and you’re not going to find a system that’s plug and play with them, so you’re looking at having to replace those as well, which involves rewiring a bunch of shit.

    Third, All systems exist on a fiberoptic loop network. My CD Changer, my Satellite Antenna module, etc. So you need to find something that’ll integrate with all of that, or rewire everything again

    Fourth, antennas for Nav and Satellite likely have to be rewired as well.

    So in the end, because everything is so tightly integrated to begin with, trying to update it ends up costing half as much as the car is currently worth….

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      There are plug and play solutions. Search Google. I have no experience with how well any of them work, or how good the reliability is on them however.

      • 0 avatar
        DubVBenz

        I’ve done a bunch of research. Many of them are poorly produced chinese systems that require a ton of workarounds and barely work in the end.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          At the end of the day, at least the system isn’t tied in to anything else like some cars. There is an IPod kit that replaces the CD changer in the fiber optic loop and works well. I don’t remember the company but we installed a few of them at a dealer I used to work at.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          I’ve been petty happy with one of those Chinese systems in my car. A pioneer headunit would offer more features, but less integration and terrible aesthetics. It replaced the stock Navi headunit in my 2002 M5. The system would have integrated with the factory amp and speakers, but I replaced/rewired anyway because they sounded terrible.

          I see your point though. While this work was worth the money on my car, it would not have been on a 14 year old 525i. Then again, the 525 wouldn’t have offered Nav in the first place.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    The resale value on the TSX is probably still good. Just, dump the car. Currently you can get a new Jetta 1.8T with over $5000 off sticker price. The 1.8T manual is a blast to drive and has all the updated infotainment you need. Insurance rates may actually go down on a new vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Even if he wants to dump the TSX he’ll take far more of a hit on trade if he doesn’t fix the broken unit first.

      I’d also pick an ’04 TSX against a new Jetta if you ask me which is going to be running well in 2021.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I agree with Sajeev, hack it till it works. Junkyards, Ebay, indy shops, DIY if you can read a circuitboard.

    Your plight highlights the future for many owners as good design and common sense was overtaken by poor design and ZOMG TECH TECH TECH some time ago. I mean seriously who builds a system where the CD player works (and I assume you can cycle through tracks) but the bass, treble, and balance have a separate interface? This is basic audio system functionality. I expect better from HMC and heck, Japanese engineering in general. Such a thing is out of the old GM playbook.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Lets not forget that the early 2000’s are when automakers began screwing up things as basic as gas pedals, transmissions, and corossion resistance (look up Nissans rusty floors).

      I dont fear new tech, I fear modern design.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Much of that isn’t a design but materials and production issue, IMO.

        I might say the Honda 5spd “glass” transmission was a design flaw but I’ve heard since it was a combination of poor design and cost savings on HMC’s part (HMC didn’t want to pay royalties on a patent and did its own half assed design or something to this effect).

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Possibly, but still, the industry was screwing up stuff they had been making for ages.

          With modern design I think designers are scared of levers, handles, knobs, all that stuff. They want everything “integrated” to keep details minimum.

  • avatar
    Fred

    The CD player broke in my 1999 Silverado and I had it repaired by a guy in Virginia. That was about 12 years ago. I only did that because I didn’t like any of the aftermarket units that I could afford at the time.

  • avatar
    chris724

    It’s funny that as the usable lifetime of cars gets longer, the lifetime of electronic do-dads gets shorter. Why would you want to lock in your electronics for the life of the car? My buddy has an ’02 Acura, and 14 years later, the in-dash navigation is a complete joke.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      I take the fact that OEMs don’t worry about the instant obsolescence of infotainment systems proves those systems really are “fripperies”.

      But excellent observation about 20-year cars delivered with 2-month geegaws.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    My Chrysler REQ radio can be pried from my cold, dead hands.

    It took me a while to find a previous-gen 200 Limited without the MyGig (REN) system. All I need is an aux port and that’s it.

    I don’t like the idea of touchscreen interfaces in my car. I’ve used them before, I don’t care for it. I like physical, tactile buttons.

    I also don’t like the fact that mechanical HDDs are used on the majority of ICE systems. A head-crash is inevitable from vibration and temperature variances; when that happens, a $50 2.5″ SATA HDD will suddenly cost $300-600 because most of them probably implement a proprietary filesystem instead of fat32, NTFS, ext3/4, and so on.

    • 0 avatar
      eamiller

      Sorry no. Nobody uses a spinning HDD for system operation any more (or probably ever). All system software is stored in high reliability flash (NOR, not NAND). There are systems which use the HDD for “jukebox” functionality, but those are pretty rare any more even.

      Also, those who do use an HDD in the system aren’t using a consumer grade disk, given the environment.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        The hard drives are definitely normal consumer grade parts. You are right about software not being loaded into them though.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The hard drives Lexus used in the ’07-’12 LS460, at least, are enterprise-grade parts, apparently with some kind of firmware trick built in. No one has yet succeeded in cloning one, but the number of failures in ’07 and ’08 cars is shockingly low given their age. I assume that any consumer HD is on borrowed time after three years of everyday use, but the vast majority of these are living eight years under car conditions without issues.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If one could replicate the firmware, what is that worth do you think?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Nav systems in the 98-05 GS which was part of the Nakachimi audio option is very reliable as well. You end up with blend door actuator issues on those, but that’s more a little plastic gear issue, and not related to the unit.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If it allows the Lexus HU to use a standard SATA 2.5″ HD or SSD, that would be worth quite a bit. Lexus dealers are asking truly ridiculous prices (close to four figures) for new units, and salvage units are all getting old so will have unknown lifespans.

            I’d experiment with it except that I really don’t want to screw my existing unit, which works perfectly, up.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’d have to know much more about it but what I would do is pull a Nav unit (or radio or whatever) out of a yard and hook it up to DC power to see if it would come up. Then you’ve got a test bed at least. Next you’d have to try and determine what’s different about its connector or system. Might just be encryption.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            4LSes are still very rare in salvage yards, and the few head units that show up for sale are very spendy. Someone’s going to have to bite the bullet for one just to play around with it. No one has yet to my knowledge. There is a hard drive on eBay; seller is asking $400 (!). The hardware appears to be a standard 30 GB 2.5″ PATA HD, old tech even in 2006.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            PATA to boot? Good luck ever seeing an SSD.

            I am genuinely curious though. Looking at the drive I see there’s no jumper which doesn’t really mean anything but I find interesting. So the drive will spin up and then be read by an IDE interface.

            My guess is either there is a custom BIOS which is able to read the drive or perhaps whatever image is on it is somehow encrypted. But because all of these navi things are so expensive on Ebay I bet few have tried to buy one and experiment the way I propose.

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-GENUINE-07-08-09-LEXUS-LS460-LS600H-NAVIGATION-HD-HARD-DRIVE-MODULE-FACTORY-/391365687659?hash=item5b1f36796b:g:u3AAAOSwUV9WmYDm&vxp=mtr

            Check this out, it looks like it is plugged in and working (unless it was photoshopped)

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEXUS-LS460-600H-HDD-HARD-DRIVE-GPS-NAVIGATION-2010-12-DISPLAY-MONITOR-/252219190482?hash=item3ab96f6cd2:g:d~4AAOSwHPlWdfZI&vxp=mtr

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “because most of them probably implement a proprietary filesystem instead of fat32, NTFS, ext3/4, and so on.”

      Naw.

      Even if someone’s not using flash for their main storage – see eamiller’s comment – (I think a few losers still ship rotary media for loading user music, but that’s on its way out too), they’ll be using a standard filesystem.

      Because it’s *far cheaper* than rolling their own on top of Windows Automotive or QNX or whatever else they might run as a bottom layer.

      Custom is fragile and expensive and pointless, so nobody cares.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    You can usually find either a rebuild service or a junkyard unit for not TOO much money even with newer cars. And these head units are really not hard for even a DIY novice to remove & replace. It’s just one more component that can fail and need replacement, like an alternator or an ECU. If you like the car, get it fixed and keep motoring.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    1st world problems here. I bought a 2009 Lexus IS 250. The HVAC controls are entirely touch screen and Siri is smarter than my nav system. Will it need fixed before I give it to my niece and she drives it to Clemson in 10 years? Probably. You got to pay if you want to play.

  • avatar
    thrashette

    This is actually a reason I admire Scion. Besides in the iA, bless Mazda’s heart, all of their stock head units look unintegrated and aftermarket, just begging you to replace them. I don’t think a car should ever be purchased for infotainment technology, when they can (or should) be easily replaced with aftermarket parts that do the job better or just as well, and with the specific features you want. How else will cars keep up with technology unless their current technology is easily replaced? Of course, I’m sure cars are now treading into the disposable consumer product territory. But if the economy were to crash, I’m sure a lot of us would appreciate things that WORK. I’d argue that a stripper car from 2002 is more future-proof than a modern one.

  • avatar
    dms123

    As a current owner of a 2004 tsx (nav model), this thread really hit home to me and I registered just to be able to post.

    We bought our automatic TSX navigation model new and have loved it ever since, great combination of interior, handling, and drive quality. However, a few months ago after 11 years of trouble free operation and just normal preventative maintenance, a bunch of things have bit us all at once:

    -Got hit by the infamous imploding AC issuer, the shrapnel took out the entire AC chain and the repair (from a local AC specialist with excellent reviews) was about $3000. Difficult decision to go ahead with that, but we really love the car and felt anything else as nice these days would cost quite a bit of money.

    I spoke with customer relations at Acura to try and have them help pay for it, but even with a polite appeal to the head supervisor, plus later on making polite posts on their Facebook and twitter page, they told me I was on my own.

    I asked why they helped pay for other victims of this issue with similar mileage and age, but not me, and they had no answer for me.

    I was able to (luckily) get my auto insurance to actually pay for $2000 of it though, they did not cover the new compressor part of the repair (because it was normal failure) but they did cover the other damage (because they saw that as actual “damage”.

    Once the AC saga was over with, two new issues popped up, one relevant to this forum thread:

    -The stereo’s amplifier went bad, stopped turning off when engine was off, causing a parasitic drain on the battery. The repair shop isolated the issue and disconnected the amp, which has fixed the issue. Now however my wife does not have radio in her car (to be fair her commute is very short, just a few minutes). I have located some replacement amps on eBay for $75ish and installing it on my own doesn’t seem too hard (I am definitely not a DIYer with cars), but doing so makes me nervous, since I worry maybe getting a used one will get the same issue over time and the battery might get harmed again.

    -The next issue that occurred was that the touchscreen system (I won’t call it ICE) stopped being able to load its firmware from the disc, we discovered this because it only needs to reload when the battery has been recharged or replaced.

    I have pulled the disc reader from the trunk and need to try cleaning the lens, will see if that helps. In the meantime we dont really need it, the AC works with 90% of its settings with the hardware controls, as does the radio (if I get a new amp). The clock was wrong but I fixed that by reseating the battery cable right at 1pm it resets to 1).

    The other thing that bugged us, that we discovered when we moved to Hawaii a year ago with the car, is that the 2004-20005 tsx navis dont work in alaska and hawaii, even with a nice updated disc, it’s a firmware issue.

    So that was really annoying as well, the dvd-rom disk certainly has room for the data and the GPS satellites certainly cover here, so no idea why they left those 2 states out. I know, 1st world problems :)

    Thanks for letting me vent!

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    I think integrating “tech” into vehicles is silly.

    1. The long lead times involved make it quickly obsolete soon after its ready for market.

    2. The whole dial/knob thing was perfected years ago and worked quite well.

    3. Integrated NAV usually works worse than a $200 Garmin voice activated nav unit. Why not simply include a spot and power supply in the dash for one, or just sell it with one?

    4. I’m old enough to remember when some cars had slide in DIN type stereos and you could build a far superior system for less money than a factory “upgrade”. How is the current method “progress”? Many systems literally almost cannot be upgraded, as they are so tied into the car and require custom harnesses. Some brands simply do not have the volume for these to be designed in the aftermarket, so you can never get much improvement w/o spending a ton.

    5. They need to come out and admit it. Car “tech” is mostly a salesroom sparkly thing for a public enamoured of computerized devices and touch screens in particular. I have Sync in a Ford. Sucks. I have Nav in a $50,000 European sport sedan. Sucks so bad it’s unused. A $30 device can give you bluetooth over the stereo. So why does it cost thousands in a new car?

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Saw title, thought ICE = Internal Combustion Engine. Either way about the Game Boy ‘ICE’, 1st gen TSX is/was an awesome car. Honda at their relative best.


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