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29th-Apr-2008 10:31 am
I still haven't recovered from PenguiCon weekend, and my skip is over 500. *sigh*

Just made my first appointment to get maintenance done on the new car -- various parts installed, the first oil change (I'll figure out how to do that later), a few spare keys made...

(The keys cost an OBSCENE amount. The keys themselves are grossly expensive, and if I want to be able to use them to drive the car they cost even more and take a half hour each to program.)

And I asked about disabling the automatic-on headlights. And they said that it's a safety issue, and government regulated, and they can't do that. (I had already figured out that they didn't make it easy on us.) This is going to be an issue "soon" if we take my car to do the Labor Day bridge walk -- and want to leave the camp site at 0-dark-thirty and I don't want to be rude to other campers. Grumble.

And while I can buy the shop manuals, it's no longer as friendly as it was 15 years ago. Instead of 2, there are now 5 of them, and they cost close to $150 each. I'm thinking maybe I should only buy the body (interior) and electrical ones, leaving the heavy lifting of the engine, suspension and transmission, and emission to the pros.
29th-Apr-2008 03:08 pm (UTC)

Headlights are government regulated, but having them come on automatically is not a requirement. (Unless they snuck that through since 2007.)

My 2005 Mustang has manual headlights. AFAIK the current Mustang's still have a switch you turn with your hand.
29th-Apr-2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
This car has a switch you can turn on and off... except there are daytime runners (low intensity on the bright lights?) during the day, and once it gets dark, the actual headlights come on (and changing the position of this switch does nothing). I _do_ believe in "always" driving with my headlights on, even during the day, but I know there are times when I want them off, and I want that control. After this appointment, I'll start digging into either doing the work myself or hiring someone more dilligently. (I think the 2008 model allowed you to control the lights, but that control was removed with the 2009.)
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
29th-Apr-2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
>I still haven't recovered from PenguiCon weekend....

Hmm, we didn't walk *that* far...
29th-Apr-2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
Heheheh. The walk was GRAND. (Thanks again!) But I spent the weekend without the puter, so my IV drip of LJ was detatched. (I rather think you knew that, of course...)
29th-Apr-2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
I have heard other people say they have the same issue with the headlights. I can turn mine off (2001 Pontiac) but the orange ones on the sides (the name of which I just can't seem to remember just now) I can't manually turn off. Not quite as annoying as full on headlights, but still...
29th-Apr-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
"Running lights."
29th-Apr-2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
You need sunglasses for your headlights. Maybe a stack of colored overhead foils with small magnets to hold them on the car (as long as you are going slow).
29th-Apr-2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Oooooh, now there's an idea.

Hmmm... If there is enough metal on the front of the car to handle that...
29th-Apr-2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
I need to figure out how to disable mine, too, because I go to astronomy gatherings.
29th-Apr-2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
That's one of the reasons I want to as well... although with being "always tired" and those darned meetings usually being after dark (and half the year too darned cold) for some reason, and not terribly close to my house, I've not been in a while.

The spouse's car which is a few years older is such that if the e-brake is on, even ever so slightly, the lights go out -- and one can usually drive with one click on at least for short distances. But my car is just a touch more clever than that. (But you might try that, if you've not already.)
29th-Apr-2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
I bought a used, ex-rental car, but only one radio keyfob was available that was programmed to unlock the car remotely. The salesman hunted around, and gave me a second keyfob NOT attuned to my car. I would have to come back, and pay an extra fee, to get the second fob reprogrammed.

I called around other Pontiac dealers, and found that the cost for doing this was pretty stiff anywhere.

I talked to a couple of people and began googling. Eventually found instructions for reprogramming things myself. Actually, the fob emits a particular signal; you tell the car to respond to that fob (and your other fob, and....)

It's done with a goofy sequence of turning the ignition key twice, locking the driver's door three times, punching the fob's "unlock" button, etc.

I don't know whether this is relevant to your own situation, but I thought it might be good to menion it.
29th-Apr-2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
Hmph. No fob on my car, it's just the key that is chipped. And it seems that it really does take a beastly amount of time. I implied that I might be willing to take the half hour if they could do all 3 at once, but the parts guy seemed to think it would need to be serial, and half an hour each.

Spouse's car has a fob, and the manual (heh... which I'll bet didn't come with the used beastie) details how to program it. I wasn't looking forward to needing a fob for my car and one for his, (since just because I'm unlocking my car doesn't mean I want to unlock his too, and I thought it might be ugly to have only one keyed to both cars) but I've evaded that for one more car-season.

Other chipped systems I've seen it really needs to be THE key in the ignition that is programmed -- putting one cut the same in, and holding a chipped one RIGHT THERE is not good enough.

If I learn that there's an easier way, I will kick myself mightily, but I think that right now I'm wedded to the dealer's system.
29th-Apr-2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
I just read through the 49 C.F.R. 571.108, which is the section of the federal regulations concerning vehicle lighting. Running lights are permitted, but not required. That was enacted so that American car makers could just put the things on all their cars, when Canada began to require them and the U.S., at the time, didn't permit them. (Aftermarket was ok; original wasn't. Don't ask for logic; there is none.) There is no requirement that I could find that they come on automatically.

For that matter, I got them set for manual operation when I bought my current mommy-van, a 2004 Dodge Caravan. I asked for it, and didn't get a murmur of objection from the dealer. They just asked me to sign a safety waiver, which I did. I suspect that the language of the administrative code has left them scratching their heads and trying to be safe rather than sorry.
29th-Apr-2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think I just might copy that to a document which I will print out and bring to the appointment on Friday and push a little bit harder.
29th-Apr-2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
If I ever buy another new car (which is unlikely) I'll make sure that the headlights are capable of being turned off as a condition of sale. I'm betting they'll figure out a way to do it if it means making a sale.
We already say before signing that one of the things they'll do before delivery is to turn off all the idiotic automatic door locking crap.

It's too bad all the companies don't do keys like Ford does. I just have a generic Ford RFID key cut like any key for I think around $35, then it takes only a minute for me to program the car to allow it.

There's really no excuse for a more expensive system, other than "our service departments are a good way to make money."

Honestly, if the keys cost very much, I'd just cut the RFID chip out of one key that was working, tape or glue it close enough to the receiver to work, and just have plain old keys cut (for Fords, plain steel keys, like just to open the door or trunk, cost a buck). Then they would start the car too.
29th-Apr-2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
I don't know if cutting out the chip is always a good idea. I've been told (by a body shop owner) that some of the most recent models have a corresponding chip in the ignition that will disable the car if they don't get the correct signal from the key.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
30th-Apr-2008 02:23 am (UTC)
Let me know if you get the stealer, er dealer, to change the lights. Hey, if you turn the switch to the "parking lights" position do the DRL headlights go off?

If no joy, maybe you and I can find a way to hack the system. There is probably an elegant way to do it via the CAN bus, by sniffing out the message that turns off those lights and making some device that sends that message. It's either a lot of work, or an interesting and educational project, depending on how you look at it. Mmm, I wonder if the device that could do this would have lots of other applications for many car hackers...

Of course there is also a simpler hack, involving a pair of wirecutters and a manual switch. Less engineering effort and less elegance.

Re the manuals, in a year or so, about when the warrantee runs out, Haynes should have an aftermarket manual that's more like $25. That might be the reasonable choice.
30th-Apr-2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Nope. None of the 3 positions for the light switch has any effect on the DRLs -- or the "headlights on" after dark. (Would be nice if a single fuse would cause my car to behave the way I want it to.)

Mmmmmaybe... When you get to the computers in cars, it's way over my head (but I'm _always_ game to learn. And if you can market it, more power to you... just let me know if you want me to help publicize it or keep my head down :-))

If we're going to cut wires and put in a switch, I'd rather it be: Let the lights do what they're designed to do 90+% of the time, but if I flip this switch, either give me control (preferable), or just turn them off (scary in its potential failure mode)... I even have a space for a switch -- like where the "turn off the traction override" switch would be if I had that. And I'd be fine with that switch glowing when I activated it.

The only time the lights stay off (or give me control? I need to play more) is if the e-brake is on when the car is started, and has not been released. I'm wondering how the car would react if it just thought the e-brake was "on" all the time. Some electrician's tape for the dash, and I'm all set... But I may want a way to undo that at will in case the dealer has a cow...

Haynes is a good idea... But I'm hoping to do the headlight hack "sooner" and I remember really liking the manuals for my '93. I have to think the Real Toyota Manuals will have more info than Haynes, regardless of how good Haynes is. (Decisions, decisions...)

MANY thanks.
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