My Car Thinks I Live in Canada

We’re planning to drive to Reno for WorldCon. This means 9 hours, in my car, across a desert. A pre-road trip check up was definitely on the schedule. It became urgently on the schedule when the air conditioner stopped blowing cold and started blowing warm. Since I was taking my car in anyway, I decided to make a list off all the issues it has to see whether they could be fixed and how much it would cost. My list looked like this:

Air Conditioner!
oil change
tire rotation
tune up
windshield wipers too small
windshield wipers range of motion
sliding door jammed shut (for over a year now.)
back hatch handle broke off
Odometer showing kilometers instead of miles.

In the actual event, I forgot to mention the back hatch handle, so that isn’t fixed. Everything else has been addressed. The wiper range of motion was addressed twice when I returned to make clear that having a five-inch-wide swath of unwiped windshield on the edges was exactly the problem I wanted fixed. I don’t need extra blind spots. The sliding door now opens for the first time in over a year. This will make carpooling and loading much easier. I hope it stays fixed this time.

The most amusing fix was the odometer. At some point, (a year ago? two years ago?) it started showing kilometers instead of miles. I’m really not sure anymore when it happened or what pre-dated the change. It may have been the same disastrous cracked windshield replacement which caused the problems with the wipers and during which the glass company put in the wrong window, then put in the right window but didn’t seal it, then finally got the window right but broke the wipers. Yes, I think I’ll blame them.

Having the odometer proclaim kilometers is a mild annoyance. It means that I can’t use the odometer to count miles during road trips without also doing math. It means that any time I take the car in to be serviced it appears to have traveled twice as far as it really has. The mechanics at the dealership looked at it and told me that there must be a short in the control block which is setting the defaults to Canadian. I think this is tech speak for “I have no clue, but if we replace this really expensive part I bet the problem will go away.” Then they showed me a magic method for inducing the car to show mileage when the engine is turned off. I say magic because the mechanic demonstrated and it looked simple, but I’ve been completely unable to reproduce the feat at home.

So my car thinks we’re in Canada, but I don’t mind because it blows cold, has a squeaky-clean windshield, and the side door now opens.