By on January 2, 2013

Flashes and pulses.

I was staring at an archaic diagnostic system on a 1992 Volvo 940 wagon.  It was located underneath the hood, inside a plastic cover, with six little holes for each one of the six digits, along with a cheap plastic wand.

What came out was morse code. Three little reds, stop. One little red, stop. Two little reds, stop. Code 312. Time to visit the brickboard, where the code could be translated to about fifteen different potential issues.

21 model years later, and we’re still not quite there yet.

(Read More…)

By on April 18, 2012

 

Bryan writes:

Sajeev,

I bought a salvage-title 2007 Honda Fit with 73k miles. Since then I’ve put 10k miles on it.

The owner’s manual has no maintenance schedule. Instead, everything is driven by the “maintenance minder”. A small display shows alphanumeric codes when certain conditions are reached. For example, the “1A” service is oil, filter, and hose/boot checks. Other codes like “1C” and “2C” are more rigorous things like belts & plugs, trans fluid, etc. There is an infamous oil life monitor which, if followed, has me draining blackstrap molasses at enormous intervals.

I’m stumped as to the mileage or conditions that prompt these. Without any previous service history I don’t know when to change plugs (are they 30k or 100k plugs?), transmission fluids (either on a normal or severe schedule) or serpentine belt (it was nearly dust at 74k).

Is there a database that reveals the mileage behind these reminders? I’d like to keep the car as long as possible. I love it and I love car maintenance. How can I be a maintenance hypochondriac with a maintenance minder? (Read More…)

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