Why Do Automakers Make Life So Difficult?
It should have been so simple to fix. At least that's what I thought when the light bulb to my rear turn signal stopped working. But alas, it wasn't. I've got a VW Beetle convertible (yes I know, it's not a car known for its reliability but it's cute--and if you know me, you'd know it is just my size; I'm only five feet). There didn't seem to be any way to get to the bulb to change it--not even by going through the cramped trunk.
I checked my owner's manual and sure enough--here's what it says: "It is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to replace vehicle light bulbs since in many cases other parts of the car must first be removed before you are able to get to the bulb....For your safety, we recommend that you have your authorized Volkswagen dealer replace any bulbs for you, since your dealer has necessary tools, the correct bulbs and the expertise."
Great--not only is the dealer far from my house, but there's also no such thing as a "short" visit to the dealer; at least I've never had that experience. I decided to try out my handy dandy service station nearby and fortunately even though they were booked up for days, they replaced the bulb on the spot and for only $10. The station manager said there are a lot of cars (PT Cruiser for one) that are even harder to work on when it comes to replacing bulbs. He also said he sees lots of customers try to do it themselves, only to have hundreds of dollars in repair work later.
Oh why can't car companies make the little things a little easier?
And while I'm complaining, why do the owner's manuals have to post dire warnings on each and every page? Even when there's not an item to warn the car owner about on a particular page, my VW manual says things like "Always heed WARNINGS on next page." My favorite warning in the Beetle book is about the vase next to the steering wheel. I'm sure you've seen Beetle ads where the vase is holding a fresh flower. People always ask if I do that in my car (I don't, although I have put other mementos in it). But in spite of the ad, here's what the manual says: "WARNING The vase should always be empty whenever you drive the car. In case of sudden braking, any water or object in the vase could spill on you or onto the dashboard surprising you and causing loss of vehicle control."
February 22, 2006; 8:50 AM ET
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