So it appears we have stumped the band.
A while back, as noted in this space, our minivan decided to start talking to us. We’d get in, start it up with the fancy push-button starter that seems to be standard on new cars these days but which mostly reminds me of the Futuristic 1950s, and about halfway down the driveway an automated female voice would tell us that “the HFT is okay.”
Sometimes this was a one-time thing. Sometimes it went on for miles. But all was well.
I got a few suggestions from friends as to what to do about this, but a) none of them seemed to work when I tried them, and b) since the HFT was okay this didn’t seem too critical. Call me when it’s not okay, I thought, and resolved to ignore the whole issue. I’m very good at ignoring mechanical or project-related issues, as Kim will tell you, so I figured that was that.
This particular minivan also has a nifty little feature where it tells you when to change the oil. It keeps a running tab on the percentage of useful life that the oil has (and how it knows that I have no idea, but since it doesn’t ask me to replace the oil nearly as frequently as I was always led to believe oil needed to be changed I am happy to follow its recommendations), and when it hits 15% the swinging mechanical arm descends from the ceiling, bitch-slaps me, and points to the little wrench icon on the dashboard.
Well, no. But I’m sure that’s coming in next year’s model.
Since the oil change light went on at almost exactly the same moment that both of our key fob batteries decided to die (how oddly, profitably, synchronistic, I thought), it was clearly time to call the dealership.
Because you have to get your oil changed at the dealership when it is still under warranty, otherwise the warranty is void and the swinging mechanical bitch-slap arm is licensed to give you noogies whenever you hit highway speed. And who needs that?
Given that we were going to the dealership anyway, we figured it would be a good time to investigate the HFT issue as well. So I called over to make an appointment.
They were fine with the oil change. They do that every day, after all. The key fob thing didn’t faze them a bit. But the HFT?
“What’s an HFT?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I kind of hoped you would tell me.”
“Never heard of it. Are you sure it’s not HFL? That would be ‘Hands-Free Link,’ which is the Bluetooth system we put in your car without you asking for it.”
“No, pretty sure I can tell the difference between a T and an L. I am a college graduate. They covered that during my sophomore year.”
“It does seem to be okay, if that’s any help.”
“Well, bring it in. We’ll investigate and see what we can find.”
I brought the van in yesterday.
Admittedly, it seems to have stopped telling us about the HFT. Sometime last week, when the key fob warning began to appear on the dashboard, the HFT apparently dropped down to a lower priority and there have been no warnings since. I guess you only get one warning at a time, and how does it prioritize those is what I want to know.
“Hmmm,” it thinks. “Your key fob battery needs to be replaced, your brake lines have been sliced by masked assassins, and your radio is permanently stuck on Adult Contemporary With John Tesh. Better tell you about the key fob. The other things will just worry you.”
Those zany computer engineers!
I spent a good half hour, in several combined increments, discussing the issue with several different people at the dealership, including the head of the Maintenance Department. Nobody has any idea what this is about, and apparently the folks at Corporate are stonewalling them. They said they’d get back to me if they found out anything, but I’m guessing there are Corporate Ninjas storming the dealership even now in a vain attempt to keep this information from going pubic.
Too late, Corporate Ninjas! Behold the power of the blog!
You know, that sounded a whole lot better in 2011.
So we continue to drive on, secure in the knowledge that the HFT remains okay. It’s good to have something to hold onto in this parlous world.