Dear Fiat Poop Mobile Manufacturers:

Thank you for making me a fun car to drive. Please enroll in a technical communication class. Your manual sucks.

The Fiat Pop glared a warning light, a yellow triangle with an exclamation point and no clear indication of what it meant. The manual said GENERIC WARNING LIGHT, to which I replied with a generic WTF? On an entirely separate page in the manual is a list of problems about which I had been generically warned. On the list was something about a broken oil pressure sensor. Skary!!!!1! Not a good thing for a new car under 4k miles. Or any car, for that matter.

It took some discussion board surfing to determine the Pop needed an oil change. The car is about 500 miles shy of the change recommended by the Carmax reminder sticker, so that didn’t make sense. When I restarted the car – after finding the needed information online – I got the dashboard message telling me to change the engine oil. Reminders are great, but only when they make sense.

Here is what I learned from my adventures in warning light confusion:

(a) I’m not the only one confused;

(b) new cars use synthetic oil that you change every 8k or so;

(c) American car culture is heavily invested in the idea of changing oil every 3.5k even though it’s unnecessary and environmentally wasteful;

(d) Fiat has the oil change warning set at 3.5k for Americans just like me!;

(e) The warning light mileage trigger can be changed, but the manual does not explain how.

I’m the road that drives away then follows you back home ~ Foo Fighters

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