Toyota Highlander Hybrid – Safety Not in the Details – Dashboard icons

Posted in Vehicle Safety at 10:10 am

I love the idea of my hybrid – gas station visits no longer require trips to the bank with a wheelbarrow (just small knapsacks) and if I’m sitting waiting for teenagers the electric motor means I’m not generating smog.

 But is it really more important to know that maintenance is required than my daughter left her door open?  The Maintenance Required icon is deemed much more important than open doors or low gas. It stays on continuously with an occasional short burst of the real warning. 

Why would anyone ignore a Maintenance Required light on a new car? I wouldn’t have considered my husband’s romantic impulse to get the car serviced cause to turn the car into a dysfunctional disaster.

 My husband, in said romantic mood, decided to save me time by getting the car serviced. He consulted the manual (must be a male thing – I just take it to a mechanic and let them do what is needed.) Reading that the car needed an oil change for the 15,000 service, he took it to the rapid-and-cheap-oil-change place.

Again, I would have taken it to the dealer who does it for free, but I’m a girl & I like romantic impulses.  Rapid-and-Cheap tells my husband that he also needs a fuel oil injector cleaning. Hubby immediately dismisses this as a money-grubbing, unnecessary, bait & switch type claim by Rapid-and-Cheap. (My husband is brilliant – top ivy-league school, writes programs others claim are impossible, scout leader, and handyman-extraordinaire. No one is going to cheat him out of $39.) Off he drives with Maintenance Required still showing but happy knowing that the car has been serviced.

I resolve to do the next service a little early so romantic impulses get channeled in other directions (fixing the light in the laundry perhaps?) and stop looking at the unchanging dashboard. I eventually figure out that real warning messages are flashing for a second or 2 every minute – fortunately before the door flew open and my daughter flew out. (Note to Toyota – in other words she didn’t – I’m not suing you but I wouldn’t mind a little more critical thinking about your safety system.)   

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