That telltale scent of citrus

Technically, we don’t have self-driving cars yet. Tell that to Stephanie:

Tuesday, as I backed down my driveway, the car went dark. The engine turned off, brakes failed, steering locked but the radio continued to play.

Not a good sign:

I was now heading into rush-hour traffic while being entertained by the best of the 70’s, courtesy of XM Radio. This was the first time I realized that the car does not come equipped with an easy-access emergency brake. Who in their right mind hides an emergency brake? How are drivers expected to bring a car to a stop, in a crisis, without a clearly visible emergency brake? This is how: open the door, drag your foot along the ground, and jam the semi-locked foot break to the floor as hard as you can. Trust me, it works. I did it.

Fred Flintstone, white courtesy phone, please.

And unfortunately, she’s heard this part before:

I received a call from the service manager who was overseeing the diagnostics on my car. He told me that, once again, they were unsure of the root cause but he said the car has what they categorize as, phantom issues. This means they know there are issues, however, they can neither replicate nor diagnose the problem.

Thirty-thousand-dollar paperweight. I wonder if it’s new enough to qualify under the lemon law.


  1. Charles Pergiel »

    9 October 2014 · 12:09 pm

    Old sci-fi story has a group of oddballs flying (spacing?) out to deal with a phantom menace. One of this group’s special power is doubt. She doesn’t believe there is a barrier, therefor it vanishes. Or not.

    This story about the Subaru makes me wonder if the author is somehow, on a quantum level (meaning we can’t measure it), incompatible with her car.

    My Sebring has similar problems with weird stuff going on, but it’s old, and none of them are what you would call serious. The instrument lights turn off once in a while, and the electric door locks are intermittent at best, and that’s about it.

  2. CGHill »

    9 October 2014 · 7:39 pm

    The problem with most automotive electrickery these days is that it’s so damned hard to diagnose. Often as not, they’ll throw up their hands in despair and call for a whole new wiring harness.

    But I have to admit I’m intrigued by this quantum-level incompatibility. (A magical version of same is playing out in one of my pony stories: Twilight’s hubby seems to make her niece break into high-level barfage.) It would explain much drivel on automotive message boards.

  3. Jack Baruth »

    9 October 2014 · 9:03 pm

    Looks like the current generation so I’d say yes, absolutely, lemon law it.

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