I'd been wanting to find out how the airbags in my wife's corolla worked for some time. So, on a sunny, November day in Queen Creek, I slammed it into the back of a Chevy 2500 pickup. The airbags worked great. Kiri and I were thrilled. Our car, which was insured with liability only, was totaled.
My beautiful spray paint and duct tape-clad civic had been out for the count for a few weeks so I thought I'd take the civic to the shop and ride out our car problems in style. Diagnosis: 3 dead cylinders (more damage than the car was worth). Long story short, we needed a car pronto. We borrowed a car and frantically began the hunt. We found an '02 Sonata and, foolishly believing that Hyundai had mended their crapish ways, plopped down a chunk of money that we didn't have on a fixer-upper. The brakes and CV joints were bad, but otherwise the car appeared to be mechanically sound. After making the necessary repairs (with some serious help from the brother-in-law), I found a dent in the engine compartment indicating the car might have been wrecked. A few small things didn't quite work right on the car so I decided to change some fuses. You can imagine my delight when I crawled up under my steering wheel to find that the airbag idiot light fuse was missing. I pulled another, less important fuse to fill the vacancy and watched the airbag idiot light come on. At this point, I didn't even know if the car had airbags. Quick note: if you ever want to pull a fast one on someone, just pull the "my car is broken" indicator light fuse and watch your car go from piecer to steal. I called a dealer and was told that 9 times out of 10, an airbag error light is caused by a bad connection under one of the front seats (the seats have pressure sensors). I bought a can of electrical connection cleaner from Checker, unbolted my seats and cleaned and reseated every connection under the front seats. Much to my dismay, the stupid airbag light still stayed on. Clutching my empty wallet, I took the car to the dealer. $95 later, I was driving home without the stupid airbag light. Turns out that the car had some 18 history codes. All they needed to do was clear the codes and the airbag system was as good as new. Not only did the dealer's mechanic fix my annoying light (convincing me the car was safe enough to trust my wife and child in), he also did one of those six million point inspections and didn't recommend any service besides changing the air filter. If a dealer can't find another way to juice my wallet, I think I'm sitting pretty good. I stopped by Walmart and picked up an air filter and now have a completely different attitude toward my Hyundai junk heap. It's still completely gutless, gas guzzling piece, but in a safer, I didn't get ripped off so bad sort of way.