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Ask a Kid!


I drive a 10-year-old Honda that I love – would never have anything other than a Honda in the future. But months ago I started having an electrical problem in the car where the radio suddenly sounded staticky (a new word?) and turned off whenever it felt like it. It came back on sporadically – or not.


First the radio/CD player

No big deal, right? I use my radio/CD player mostly for audio books, but the same thing started happening when I had CDs in there. When I had the car in for an oil change, I mentioned the problem and was told I’d need to leave it for several days for them to observe what happened. But what’s to observe? The radio/CD player goes on/off at will and unpredictably. So I didn’t leave it for several days.


My adult daughter suggested that I turn down the volume so as not to bother the neighbors because the sound came on often at all hours of the day or night. I guess I have the volume turned up. I agreed and made this adjustment.


Then I went to Nashville – love, love Nashville and my relatives who live there – and left my car sitting in my driveway for four days while I was gone. Apparently, the radio/CD player had gone off and on so much during that time that it killed the battery. I had to get a charge when I got home because the car was dead – wouldn’t start at all.


Then the power windows

A few weeks later on my way to work, I noticed that the windows didn’t go down at all except, inexplicably, the driver’s window. Oh, no, another electrical problem. I decided I would indeed need to leave the car at the Honda dealer for them to observe the problem because this was becoming intolerable and even unsafe (see previous post about the danger of safety. I’m not a big fan of taking drastic and onerous action to provide “safety”).


A few days later, I was driving my daughter to the train station and she tried to open the passenger side window, which didn’t work. She asked me, “What’s up with the window?” I said, “I have to take the car in and leave it for several days for them to diagnose the electrical problem that’s now making the windows not work, in addition to the radio and CD player not working. I looked it up online and found that it’s all related – radio, windows, other electrical problems.”


She said, “Did you check the child safety lock for the windows?” “Where is that?” I asked, after driving this car for eight years and being the mother of three children who don’t need safety locks anymore. “Right there where the windows go down,” she explained to me, slowly realizing, as my son had when he encouraged me not to use my cell phone like just a “stick,” that it’s easy for me and I daresay others to miss the way technology works.

Bottom line: If something doesn’t work, before you call the repairman or make an appointment for your car, ask a kid. He or she will undoubtedly be able to solve it for you in less than three seconds and without any money being exchanged.