Crying Wolf

Posted By on 13th December 2019

It’s no secret that I love my car. We’ve had MX5’s for over 25 years, but this 2017 model is by far the best, packed as it is with gadgets and gizmos. It’s array of dashboard warning lights is particularly impressive.

A few weeks ago one of them came on whilst I was driving, which was alarming to say the least, nothing like this had ever happened before in all my years of driving an MX5. I stopped and consulted the handbook.

When you’re in a panic one orange exclamation mark in a circle looks pretty much like another and I thought I had a problem with my breaks.

I drove very carefully to the local dealer in Grimsby where it transpired I’d picked the wrong ‘exclamation mark’ from the handbook and in fact the light was indicating a problem with my tyres not the brakes.

The chap was very helpful and said I wasn’t the first person to make this mistake. He took my car round the back, checked the tyre pressures, returning a few minutes later saying there was absolutely nothing wrong with them and he couldn’t understand why the warning light had come on.

A few weeks later the exact same thing happened, but this time I didn’t panic as much, came home, checked the pressures myself and once again they were all fine.

Then last weekend on my way to Huddersfield it came on again, but as the car felt to be driving normally, I ignored it. In fact I ignored it throughout the entire weekend and all the way back home on the motorway Sunday evening, though I did inspect the tyres visually before I set off.

Imagine my horror when on Monday morning I got up to find my rear passenger tyre as flat as a pancake, thanks to what turned out to be a large nail embedded deep within the tread.

Several hours and £87 for a new tyre later I was back on the road. Might have dodged a bullet there!

Next day I was driving to Scunthorpe and the warning light came on again. I think my exact words were “You cannot be serious” followed by other McEnroe inspired expletives!

I was quite near to Tescos so in I went with my 50p to check my tyre pressures. Nothing wrong with them.

Now I know that this warning system is designed to enhance the driving experience and keep me safe, alerting me to possible abnormalities in my tyre pressures, but I have to say it’s caused me quite a lot of stress over the last few weeks.

In fact it’s because it appeared to ‘cry wolf’ the first couple of times that led me to completely ignore it on the third occasion, which is when it could actually have killed me!

And then just to add insult to (near) injury it ‘cried wolf’ again.

I’ve always enjoyed driving, but still find going long distances on my own challenging and can do without additional things to stress about. Though I have to say Mazda’s own roadside assistance which came with the vehicle and helped me on Monday is most impressive.

Perhaps I’ll have to take these warnings more seriously in the future.

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