Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cracked Windshields And Unexpected, Unintentioned Repairs

Never be in too much of a hurry to get something fixed that isn't essential.  A few weeks back, the automatic headlights on the Jaguar started behaving oddly.  They would stop part-way through the drive to work, even if it was still dark out.  Then, after ten minutes.  Finally, they stopped working at all, and I had to turn the headlights on and off when I started and stopped the car.  (First World Problem, especially driving a Jaguar.)

I had been putting it off until the next oil change, figuring that I would drop the car off, pay too much for an oil change, and way too much to have them replace the rearview mirror that contains the light sensor.  It might just be a loose connection, but I do not have enormous confidence that a Jaguar mechanic would spend the time finding it.  It probably would not be any cheaper, once you figure their labor rate, than replacing the mirror.

Anyway, Safelite repaired a rock chip on the windshield in early January.  The insurance company covers the entire cost, because the repair is dramatically cheaper than a new windshield, and most of the time, that is enough.  (Our cars experience rock chip problems a lot because of the roads we drive on to and from Boise.) 

Normally, these repairs work well.  In this case, the crack grew.  Safelite came out and replaced the windshield.  Because the windshield had to come out, the rearview mirror had to come off.  When they put it back together, what do you know?  The automatic headlights work again!


  1. I've lost count of the number of times I've taken apart an electronic item to troubleshoot a problem, found nothing at all discernibly wrong, and then found upon reassembly that it worked reliably again.

  2. Corrosion on contacts. Back in the days of the early PCs, we would use an eraser across the daughter board connectors, and it was amazing how often it solved problems.

  3. That sort of thing might explain why Toyota (e.g.) puts their light sensors on the dash...