Accessories as You Like Them

Cars today are jam packed with whistles and bells of every manner. This is true both literally and figuratively. Of course we the consumers have brought this upon ourselves because we like being surrounded by fancy features.

The number of warning lights, chimes, beeps, and other sights and sounds has reached a level where most people don’t even know what some of them mean. Many times theses warning buzzers will sound at times that can make the driver completely insane.

All new cars and trucks have many other features that are now more automated then they used to be. Things like power door locks that lock automatically when the vehicle exceeds five miles per hour, and unlock the doors when the transmission is shifted back into park are very common on all new cars.

Something most people do not know is that many of these features can be customized in the way they operate. If you don’t like the way the seat belt warning beeps at you every thirty second when you are not wearing your seat belt, it can be set to a mode that only allows the light to come on once after the car is first started and then shut off never to bother you again.

Things like automatic doors locks can be completely disabled if you like. Maybe you want the doors to lock when you shift into drive instead of when you hit 5 miles per hour. Most cars can have this type of thing changed very easily.

Since everything on cars and trucks today is computer controlled, it is very simple to give the computer different instructions on how and when to automatically activate one system or another. Besides programming things like power windows and door locks, other things can be changed such as what size tire you have on the vehicle. The size of the tire relates to function and accuracy of the speedometer. If you have a truck on which you install bigger tires your speedometer is now going to be off a couple of miles per hour. However, the bigger tire size can be programmed into the computer that calculates speed and then your speedometer will be accurate again.

Generally speaking there are two different ways to program these features. The easiest and perhaps best way is to use a scan tool. This is the device that the auto shop uses to communicate with the various computers on your vehicle for diagnostic purposes. On today’s cars these tools can be used for programming purposes as well. The factory scan tool that the dealerships have will always have to most capability when it comes to making these types of changes.

These tools can not only be used to program the function of a warning light or buzzer, but they can also be used to program major accessories. A feature such as cruise control can easily be added to a vehicle that did not come equipped with it from the factory. All that must be done is to have the switch installed in the steering wheel or the dash, and then use the scan tool to tell the engine control computer to enable cruise control programming. All of the other hardware the cruise control needs to operate is already there serving other purposes. With the correct switches and the correct programming, these components can then be used by the computer to provide cruise control.
The other way to make more minor changes to accessories is to follow a special programming sequence. Using things such as the ignition switch and power window or door lock switches, or maybe the park brake lever or climate control buttons. An example of how a programming sequences would work with these devices might be something such as: turn on the ignition switch, hit the unlock button, turn the ignition switch off, turn the ignition switch back on, hit the lock button, then pull and release the park brake lever two times and listen for the dash to beep at you. Once the dash beeps at you the vehicle is in programming mode and you can push the fan speed up switch to make your selection. Once the selection is made, turn the ignition switch off to reset the system.

This sounds like some kind of crazy secret code and perhaps it is, but it provides a way to program these features without having to use a special scan tool. Once in a while the owner’s manual will actually tell you how to do some of these things but most of the time it won’t. These programming sequences can usually be found online, but the best place to find them is in the factory service manual. Sometimes even this will not have the information on programming. Sometimes these things are only known to the engineers.

For example a few auto manufacturers who shall remain nameless, have some models equipped with navigation systems and rear seat DVD players. When movies are played and showing on the screen for the rear seat passengers, if you know the proper programming sequence you can make the movie play on the navigation screen where front seat passengers can also see it. The manufacturers made this possible for the purpose of performing network data bus diagnostics. The service manual won’t tell you any of this but the information is easily found online.

So if you have some whistle or bell on your vehicle that annoys you, or just doesn't work the way you wish it would. Do a little research and find out if it can be changed. If you paid so much money for this car you ought to have the accessories work the way you would like them too. 

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