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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Shortly after pulling out of my driveway and tapping the brakes one morning I looked down to see the OBC informing me of "1 brake light fail". After I got over the coolness of having the car tell me precisely when a lamp has failed and realizing that it must be doing current sampling on that circuit every time I hit the brakes, I figured I'd just go to the dealer and pick up a lamp to replace it.

On the way there, I recalled that the Oil Service light had illuminated last week and since I'd been so busy at work lately I had kept forgetting to call my dealer for an appointment, so I figured I'd try to squeeze into their schedule for an oil service and just have them replace the bulb while they were at it.

I walked back into the shop to say hello to my mechanic and I told him that the car had been running fine since we did the plugs and idle valve. When I told him about the brake lamp, he recommended we replace all three, since the other two were likely to fail soon as well. After 5 years in operation, and the fact that they all illuminate at the same time -- thus have the same on-duty time -- I couldn't argue with that logic.

I also noted that I had started to feel a slight resistance about half-way through the door handle travel and some subtle resistance when I inserted my key into the door lock and turned it. He said he'd put some graphite in the lock and some grease in the locking mechanism. While I was at it, I asked him to put some silicone protectant on the door seals where they are exposed to light behind the glass.

This time I figured I'd wait for the service as I expected it to take only an hour to perform, and in the process saved the hassle of a loaner. They even sent the car through their wash bay, and cleaned all the nasty road salt off the car that had built up in only two days since I washed and waxed it.

The car is technically due for an Inspection II at 72000, but given all the work I've had done on the car in the last six months, and the fact that my mechanic always gives it a routine checkout when it comes in for service, I'm confident that I can delay that until 75000, at which time it will need another oil service anyway. Given that I'm putting about 1700 miles a month on the car, I figure that will be sometime in March or April.

Parts and labor (Oil Service plus 0.1 hour charge for lube & lamp replacement): $88. Total mileage, 70869.