Friday, October 16, 2009

Short Circuit Accelerator Pedal: Episode VI Return of the Vroomy

2 weeks has passed since the last episode. Vroomy had been dissected and her innards pushed and prodded by experts and a panel of parts suppliers. After much detailed checking, Vroomy has returned. As suspected, it was a wiring problem. According to the report shown to me, one of the cables was actually not inserted properly into a socket. So sometimes it would lose connectivity and that caused the voltage drop and engine light to come on.

Driving feels seriously different now. Before, it felt like I could not control the acceleration. It felt like it was either disconnected or accelerating too strongly. Now I can control the acceleration much more accurately.

Thanks to the guys at Center of Excellence for taking a serious look at my car and finding the root cause of the problem. Also thanks to them for providing me a car to use for the past two weeks.

Since I drove the old saga, I could see a huge difference in the old generation and the new. The old saga although had those huge exhausts, seemed severely underpowered compared to Vroomy. For e.g. even on a flat road, I could not get the car moving from 1st gear without having to first step on the accelerator. With Vroomy, I actually don't have to press the accelerator to get it moving. Oh and that loud sound that came from the exhausts actually caused the alarm of the car parked next to me to go off! TWICE! hahaha Sound of Thunder! Shifting gears in the old car was also very different. I had to move the gear handles a lot more to get them in gear compared to the shorter movement in Vroomy. The gear changing was a lot easier tho. Not as much resistance. Although the car had only seen 6k km of roads, the parts in the old saga were already rattling a lot! Hopefully Vroomy will continue to give me a quiet ride.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Short Circuit Accelerator Pedal: Episode V Jerk Strikes Back

Vader: "Luke.. I am your father"
Luke: "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...."

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.. it happened again.. and much like the movie it leaves you feeling depressed that the good guys didn't win.

This time it happened in Subang Jaya so since it was close to the Center of Excellence, I went straight there and showed them the engine light on condition.

At first they looked at the car and wanted me to come again on Monday because they couldn't do much today anyway and they didn't have a car for me. "You mean you want me to drive a car that you yourself admitted is a safety problem?!"
After many Fbombs thrown by urs truly to the service manager and customer complaints guy, we agreed that I would get a loan car immediately and that this would be their last chance to fix it. They would have to prepare a detailed report of everything they have checked and changed. And if it happens again after this time, the manager gave me permission to take more serious action against them.

So to find out what action I could take, I went to the National Consumers Complaints Centre website there were already similar complaints against Proton but for different problems.

Similar Complaint: "If the car which bought by the consumer has problem ( major) and after numerous complaint and fixing it or repaired the car but problem still persistent, than the consumer able to get back a new car or refund. "

I also sent in a complaint of my own detailing the events and asking for advice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Getting An Educationism

They say driving is statistically more dangerous than flying. I think it's because of 2 things.

1) Pilots have significantly more training before they are allowed in the airspace. We would have a lot more air crashes if all pilots had to do was fly for 20 hours and pay the examiner 50 bucks. They are taught (I hope) how to handle difficult situations and how to make quick decisions that will keep the hundreds of passengers safe in those situations. Like if some ducks fly into u.

2) Planes can't afford to breakdown while in the air. So the pilots/engineers have to check it regularly before traveling and be able to identify potential problems.

So basically we need more training lah..

Defensive driving involves identifying potentially dangerous situations, how to anticipate and avoid them. Basically you have to assume that everyone else on the road is stupid and what might go wrong will go wrong.. wait a minute.. haha then you might be forced to stay at home.. Of course they teach u all the skidding stuff too during the course but usually it's the anticipation skills that you should get out of defensive driving because then you won't get in a situation where you need to use the skidding stuff..

So now you can avoid all the idiots on the road. But how bout your car? Driving is one of the most dangerous things you could do in your life and you don't know the first thing about the car? Part of safety is also knowing how to take care of that 1 Ton hunk of metal on wheels. Of course you can leave it to the guy who services your car. But the universal truth is.. just as things that go up must come down, most mechanics can't be trusted :P. So at least you should be able to tell if something is wrong with your car, simple maintenance, and know if the mechanic is taking you for a ride.

So if you get an education at least you can assume that everyone else is stupid except you.. If you don't then you're just like everyone else..

Autoworld is organizing 2 courses in the next couple of months:

1) The Safety and Defensive Driving Course:

Date : 8th November 2009 (Sunday)
Time : 8.30am – 5.00pm

Fees : MYR 380 per person

Theory : Kelab Golf Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (KGSAAS)
Practical : Shah Alam Stadium

here are articles on the last course they organized:

2) The "I Love My Car" Car Care & Maintenance Workshop

Date : 31st October, 2009 (Saturday)
Time : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Fees : MYR 199 per person (99 for members of Autoworld)
Venue : The Otomotif College
No. 10 Jalan 19/1, Seksyen 19, 46300 Petaling Jaya.
Selangor, Malaysia

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mirror Mirror on the wall.. who's the widest of them all?

Staying Safe In Your Car:
Driver Blind Spots

Blindspots are dangerous. Especially on our roads where motorbikes are allowed to ride in the middle lane of the federal highway! Being able to see everything is definitely comforting as it gives you more confidence when changing lanes. So when I saw this huge mother of a mirror I knew I had to have it.

It's made by a Japanese company called Napolex. They make quite a few car accessories. They have many different sizes and it comes in tinted versions for glare reduction. I just got the biggest one :P

peekaboo! i can see you!

Original Mirror

New W I D E Mirror

Blocks the visors tho..

And of course because I got the Concave version, things do appear further

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Short Circuit Accelerator Pedal: Episode IV A New Hop

ok.. so not writing in the blog that it was fixed still didn't prevent it from happening again. So in Episode 3, the service center in Section 13 had a good look at it and the problem actually happened while they test drove the car. So they opened up the dashboard to look at all the cabling. After a bit of pulling and tugging they said they changed the "cable bracket"(?) and it's fixed. So I took it home.

Fast forward 8 days later and once more the engine warning light came on and the car started jerking or "Hop-ing" again... since I was around PJ, I drove straight to Section 13 praying they would be opened. But they don't work on Sunday.

So after a call to Proton, there was a Authorized Service Center opened in Old Klang Road. So off I went. Once again the engine error code was "Pedal Pot Low Voltage". They cleared the code, unplugged and replugged the pedal connector and sent me on my way. Seems fine. But then again it always appears fine for awhile. Even if I switch my engine off for awhile and start it again, the engine light will disappear and the jerking will be gone. That makes it harder to diagnose.

So on Monday morning, I decided to send it to where I would assume would be the most no. of experts. The mothership! that huge ass space ship looking building next to KESAS highway. The Proton Center of Excellence. Yes. that's really what it's called. If you call yourself that you had better be Excellent eh?

So they tell me after test driving it that they couldn't find any problems. I explain to them the whole story about how I had been to a Proton Service Center every week for the past 5 weeks and they tell me they'll do a more detailed check but I would have to leave my car there. Since I didn't have any car they told me they don't lend out replacement cars anymore as a policy cos ppl never came back with it. (I would take the car that works over one that doesn't too u know)..
They had a driver send me home. which was cool i guess. But it was the least they could do since I had already taken so many half days leaves to go get the car fixed.

Now it's Tuesday evening and they just called me and said that they still couldn't find any problems. They just reset the ECU. Great! I could have done that myself. That will last me another week. Center of Excellence.. really?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Short Circuit Accelerator Pedal: Episode 3 Revenge of The Sick

ok so my car must be connected to the world wide web.. cos exactly 2 hours after I posted part deux, the car jerked and the engine light came on again.. maybe next time if it's fixed i won't be posting about it..

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Short Circuit Accelerator Pedal: Part deux

On Monday the service center guy said it will come tomorrow.
On Tuesday the service center guy said it was supposed to arrive today but it wasn't on the lorry. (?!?) Did it fall off?? :P I should compile a book of all the excuses I hear.. I think it'll make a good read for when you're feeling down and need a pick-me-up..
On Wednesday it arrived so I went back to the service center on Thursday morning to get it fixed. Within 1.5 hours, I was back to zooming on the roads..