Things Our Cars Should Tell Us

I used to think Knight Rider’s sweet talking ride KITT would be the ultimate. (Please forgive the ’80s David Hasselhoff reference.)

Now, I’m not so sure. For one, it’s a 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am – not exactly the best family car for a mother of two. Plus, the whole talking car concept isn’t the be all, end all. My Toyota Prius gives me not so subtle hints all the time. There’s the obnoxious beeping that progressively gets louder and faster to signal the need to buckle up … even when it’s just my heavy purse in the passenger seat, perceived to be a person.

You don’t even have to take mental notes on maintenance anymore. Your car has it under control. Thing is, you have to take your car’s cue. It can’t do everything on its own.

I foolishly ignored the “low keys battery warning” for my smart key fob that unlocks the driver side door when it’s near. No need to rummage around for keys in your purse. It’s a blessing for a busy Mom, juggling several bags including the one so heavy my car thinks it’s a passenger.

Another lifesaver? It’s impossible to lock your keys inside. I know this because I would have done it on several occasions. Except my car won’t let me. It sounds the alarm literally. Click. Locked. Followed by an immediate unlocking, flashing lights and fanfare to punctuate my stupidity. So my key fob battery finally died. Uh oh. Click. Nothing. “Why didn’t I listen to you? How am I going to get home from work?” I mumble.

I approach the door, hopeful my car recognizes the key. Yes! But, the real test: Will it still drive? The fob is the kind you don’t actually put in the ignition. The Prius detects the key and won’t drive without it. Thank goodness. She starts right up, although there’s a scary looking “key not detected” warning on the whole time.

I drive straight to get a key battery at the drugstore, afraid to turn off my car. Phew! They have it in stock, and I’m on my merry way, doing internal handstands.

I’m actually feeling pretty good about myself until the next day when I suffer sticker shock. There it is, in black and white. My registration, dated July 2012. What? Why didn’t my car tell me that I’ve been driving around with an expired registration for an entire year?

Thankfully, I was never ticketed – because I drive a sensible Prius, not a 1982 Trans-Am.