Ever have the "check engine light" illuminate your dashboard? Not much you can do about it, huh?
Lifts engine cover. Yep, it's an engine. Check!
I remember having that light come up on me. Car seemed fine. I hadn't heard anything unusual. Gas mileage was great. I suspected something pretty serious, having never had that light come on after miles and miles and miles of trouble free driving.
Maintainance. No problems. Check the fluids. Replace parts when necessary. Standard maintainance.
I anticipated a big fee at the garage. Brought it to the mechanic. Found out that the light went on automatically when I reached a certain mileage point. Left angry at the car, its manufacturer, the mechanic, and myself.
Wired looks at the ever increasingly computerized automobile in an article titled Drivers Want Code to Their Cars. Some of the horror stories that are uncovered in the article show a considerable lack of usability and customer service.
As cars get more complex and computerized, are non-dealer mechanics at risk of losing the ability to work on those cars?