Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sentra - learning to ride or riding to learn?

Sure, my car throws out surprises every day. But its a veteran among its species, having celebrated the 12th birthday recently and I simply take each event as a good way to self-educate myself towards a forthcoming auto engineering degree. ;)

For e.g., a few weeks back the handbrake indicator light (on the dashboard) started turning on and off while driving. I found it was because the brake fluid needed a flush. Apparently the brake fluid starts getting concentrated with Cu after prolonged use and a concentration of 200+ ppm requires immediate attention. And that is what the sensor was letting me know. A simple temporary (cheap and effective, though not recommended) solution is to add fresh brake fluid and thus dilute the conc. of the entire volume.

Second: The other day my original key just broke in half! Granted, the metal part was showing some signs of wear and had started to bend a bit. I vaguely also remember straightening it out on the door once. But breaking in half? Metal fracture on a strong auto key? Totally unexpected!
Thanks for that keyhole in the passenger side and the fact that I had a spare key, I eventually got in and drove it back! But this incident should help me remember to double check even the keys before heading out on long trips.

Later, after a long crazy day at Universal's Islands of Adventure at Orlando, Woodlands, and catching Avatar on IMAX 3D I was shocked while driving back, because the vehicle was accelerating even with the foot off the gas! Total shocker! I was hoping it wasn't the accelerator pedal getting stuck on the carpet, a defective throttle position sensor or something worse.

But the real reason: I checked under the hood the next day and found a large nut stuck on the throttle line. How such a large nut got under the hood and wedged-in near the throttle body is something that baffles me. Still, an arcade solution for a digital problem, and All Izz Well!

Its never fathomable what one could learn from a vehicle with over a decade of running experience. And that is exactly the reason I like my ride. Happy 12th birthday Sentra!

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