Ignoring Auto Check

George Harris harchris at smokesignal.net
Sun Apr 13 08:45:25 EDT 2003

There's another aspect to this that no one has mentioned yet. I have
been driving older cars and trying with partial success to fix them up.
But some things like the flashing light for brake warning that comes on
for a number of reasons like low Pentosin level, or low pressure because
of a bad bomb, seem to be a constant irritant. I check the levels
regularly and top up. I have had to teach the family to ignore these
warning lights or they wouldn't be able to drive any of my cars :-( Well
it came back to haunt me when my oldest son who is not mechanically
inclined ignored the oil light on the Jetta and it was a real problem.
the drain plug had dropped out. He continued driving thinking it was
just another silly warning light malfunctioning. I have just finished
the engine rebuild, and yes the car is running very well thank you.


Brett Dikeman wrote:
> At 1:40 AM -0400 4/13/03, cobram at juno.com wrote:
>> Brett Dikeman <brett at cloud9.net> writes:
>>>  By the way, "red triangle", if you read the owner's manual, means
>>>  "stop driving the car NOW"- it implies immediate danger to vehicle
>>>  components or to your safety; that's why it is accompanied by
>>>  several screeches.  Yellow = "something's wrong but no damage likely".
>> Not necessarily, on some type 44's the red triangle will flash and the
>> autocheck will squeel for a low hydraulic fluid level.  Not a reason to
>> hit the eject button in my book.
> I beg to differ.  If it runs out of enough hydraulic fluid(say,
> because a hose burst and the car's doing its impression of a Pentosin
> Volcano, pumping the fluid out quicker'n you can say "Green Gold"),
> you will end up with drastically reduced stopping power unless you've
> got great leg muscles(and even then, when you go for the brakes, you
> expect a certain reaction; you never expect the pedal to be rock hard
> and not do much in the way of stopping the car, so your reaction time
> increases drastically even if you do have the strength), steering
> won't be very easy, and you stand a good chance of doing damage to
> the pump.
>   Translation: you become a 3,000lb+ brick on a rollerskate.  Maybe
> you're driving on an empty country road doing 30mph, and things are
> gonna be OK.  Or, maybe you're cruising through rush-hour traffic at
> 75 in close quarters, and you become that evening's news story.  Audi
> splattered on back of SUV, SUV owner does not notice until he gets
> home...more at 11.
> "It squeals on low fluid level" can be said about the coolant tank
> sensor, and plenty of people ignore it on that basis.  It's rather
> foolish to do so.  I had the auto-check light come on one afternoon
> last fall, for coolant level.  I though "eh, maybe it's just low."
> Then I stopped myself, and thought "this is a very expensive engine.
> I'm going to stop and check things out."  I immediately pulled over
> and popped the hood.
> Lo and behold, the coolant tank's empty and the car's pissing coolant
> on the ground from a break in the aux radiator.  Had I continued
> home, or even another 2-3 minutes, I would have fried the engine.
> NEVER ignore auto-check, and NEVER second-guess the red triangle, it
> -really- -does- mean "You need to STOP and check me out.  NOW."  The
> owner's manual flat-out tells you it means there's a dangerous
> situation, and the reasoning is quite clear.
> Ask pilots- ignoring warning systems can, and in fact does, on a
> -very- regular basis, kill lots of people.  Things aren't as dramatic
> with cars as they are with planes, but the fact remains- ignoring
> warning systems is an EXCELLENT way to get burned(and look pretty
> stupid in the process.)
> All of this does, however, remind me of a Far Side cartoon.  From the
> cockpit of a jet, one of the pilots:
> "AAAA!  The fuel light's on, we're all gonna DIE!  Oh wait, that's
> the intercom light, nevermind."
> B
> --
> ----
> "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier,
>    just so long as I'm the dictator." - George W. Bush
> http://www.users.cloud9.net/~brett/

More information about the quattro mailing list