Just As I Thought

Problem-Free Technology

The more complicated something is, the more difficult it is to fix. (Of course, this is why we have landfills full of high tech gadgets, cheaper to throw away than to fix.)
A few days ago, my Prius began to behave strangely. It started as I drove down the highway and got a phone call from my brother, but I couldn’t answer it using the car. The radio started to turn itself off and on. The touch screen, which displays fuel efficiency information, froze. Then it stopped working entirely, not displaying temperature or maps or, sometimes, anything at all. This condition came and went as I drove, sometimes rushing back to life by rapidly responding to all the previous button presses all at once, as if they’d been queued up waiting. It reminded me of my Comcast DVR, which often freezes then lets loose with a barrage because of the remote control buttons I’d pressed while it was frozen.
So, my Prius is having a first California service experience this morning. Luckily, I have no where to be today. But what worries me is that it could result in a lengthy wait for a computer or other parts, and I’ll be without my car for weeks, weeks during which I am purchasing a house.
But the spectre of having my car suddenly stop on the highway is a little more worrisome.


  • That’s what they make rental cars for.

    You can live for a bit with a regular car, it won’t kill you. Might even make you like the Pirus more.

  • Thankfully, I got my Prius back late this afternoon. I felt rather superior walking the mile to the dealer to pick it up; I mean, a shuttle service when I live only a mile away?
    Of course, soon I will be living 9 miles from the car dealer and my attitude might change.
    For those of you interested, here’s what happened:
    – The display screen system seems to have lost communication with the ECU (computer system), so it will be replaced as soon as the part comes in.
    – The well-publicized recall for the car — which can cause the car’s electric drive to shut down while driving — was dealt with via a software update.
    – Another recall because of a faulty brake light was fixed.
    Car repairs today — especially this hybrid car — are a series of big fixes, really. Makes me wonder my car manufacturers aren’t making more of an effort to sell “upgrades.” I’d gladly pay a nominal fee to have new features added to my car via software updates…

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