Time for a federal requirement that the ‘check engine’ light evolve?

“We can rebuild it. We have the technology. Better than before. Make it better, smarter, and actually tell us what the &*@# is wrong with the car!”

At least, that is what one WhiteHouse.gov petition is asking for – “require automakers to replace the nearly useless Check Engine Light with a display that actually explains what’s wrong.” There are a number of ways this could be accomplished but a previous mandate to require tire pressure monitoring systems resulted in systems vulnerable to hacking, imagine a system with even further control of the on-board computer.

If you agree that more information is needed beyond the generic “check engine” light, you can sign the petition.

A car’s generic “check engine” light makes it easier for dishonest mechanics to take advantage of unknowing customers. Considering other car features that are federally-mandated — like tire pressure sensors and airbag warning lights — wouldn’t adding one to actually help the consumer make sense? It may be the only type of federal-required feature that makes sense.

This is why we need a federal mandate that bans the generic “check engine” light in new cars and instead requires, on dash, OBD-II codes and a basic description. The only rational reasons it hasn’t happened yet range from a best-case scenario of simple manufacturer desire to build as cheaply as possible, to an actual deliberate campaign of forced ignorance in order to keep dealer network profit streams.

Categories : Hardware
Posted by Jason Hamilton | January 19, 2012  |  No Comment

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