Embedded chip failures in vehicles - what's the work-around?

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Please, don't give me the old "a good pair of hiking boots" line.

If we can't determine or discover, in advance, just which vehicles will experience embedded chip problems...

Is there anyone out there who knows whether there are any work-around's to embedded chip failures in vehicles?

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), October 27, 1999


There are documented methods to perform a "vehicle management computer" or "engine management computer" memory reset in the appropriate shop manual (or shop manuals) for your car or truck.

Generally the procedure is something like disconnecting the battery for 24 hours, disconnecting only the battery ground cable for "X" number of minutes or hours, or disconnecting the battery cables from the battery and clipping them together for a minimum period of time.

What you need to do is to research what your vehicle's manufacturer calls for. Check with a good garage or a friendly dealership service department to find out what is needed. If all else fails you can buy the correct service manuals from the dealer, or if you're really lucky you just have to buy a Chilton's manual.

But understand that some vehicles may take a special device to plug in and command the computer reset. I've been told that some late- model, heavy-duty pickups must use this method and that trying the battery disconnect method will cause the vehicle to NOT to start without towing the truck to a dealership service department and then using their computerized test stand to reset the truck's computer.


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), October 27, 1999.

WHHAATT?? You can't disconnect the battery on a new truck with out towing it to a dealership? That's extortion cuz it means only a dealer can do almost any work on it. And what if your battery dies cause you left the lights on or something? What a rip-off !

WHICH trucks? Please ? This is very important to me because I am right now looking for a new truck !

-- biker (y2kbiker@hotmail.com), October 27, 1999.


I have been working on and around cars for over 20 years, and I have yet to see a date sensitive controller in an automobile or truck. Embeddeds in autos are ODOMETER based.

About the only date sensitive items I know of would be your high-end stereos, your On-star tracing system, or your satellite-based anti- theft system.

To get back to your question though, the only workaround I would know about is to have a pre-1980 spare vehicle parked in your driveway. Or a good bicycle in the garage...

There are greater things to worry about than embeddeds in your auto. I would be more worried about "embedding" a lot of food and water in my domicile... Of course this is, as always, strictly MO.


The Dog

-- The Dog (DesertDog@-sand.com), October 27, 1999.

Thanks Wild Weasel and Dog (all this advice is coming from the animal kingdom, eh?)

I'll get back to you if my mechanic (husband) has any further questions.

You da best.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), October 29, 1999.

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