In the past three years that I've owned my current car, an indicator light has popped up on the dashboard several times. According to the direction manual, this indicator light suggests that one of my tires is about to have a catastrophic blowout, and that I should immediately pull to the side of the road, move to a safe distance from the automobile, duck down, and call the authorities immediately.
The first time this happened, after checking the pressure in all the tires and finding nothing wrong, I brought the car to the shop where, after connecting the car to their magic diagnosticator and visually scanning the surface of each tire, they discovered a small nail in one of the tires. The second time this happened, they found nothing wrong but suggested I bump up the pressure a few pounds beyond what's suggested in the direction book. Now the light is back on, and I'm annoyed.
We live in an incredible world of technology. I could go out right now and buy myself a car that does some truly amazing things. These days cars can give you tun-by-turn directions with a map on screen. There are cars that will make cell phone calls for you. Find the nearest gas station. Call for help if you crash into a tree. For goodness sake, there are even cars that will PARK themselves now!
So will someone PLEASE tell me why, in this day and age of fantastical new automotive wizardry, I still need to bring my car to the shop just to find out what that little red light on the dashboard means?
I want a car that tells me how much metal is left on my brake rotors, and whether they need to be adjusted or completely replaced. I want a car that tells me exactly how low my oil level is. In quarts. I want to know when the last time it was that I changed my air filter. How dirty my transmission fluid is. And I don't want to have to bring my car to someone else to find this information out.
Really, what I want is an R2D2 unit in the back of my car that can constantly analyze the health of my vehicle, let me know if there's a problem, and give me the details of the fix. Is that too much to ask? Obviously, it isn't: