Too many bells and whistles?

Now, don’t get me wrong. Jenny loves her car and she has no interest in getting a different one. She drives it back and forth to work in Oxford and it has never let her down.

She’s rolled up more than 80,000 miles, and it still looks about as nice as the day she first drove it off the dealer’s lot.
It’s a 2008 Nissan Altima with all the bells and whistles.
That’s the problem – it might have too many bells and whistles. There seems to be an electronic sensor light for everything.
For the last couple of weeks she had been worrying about whether something was wrong with the car.
A warning light comes on every time she starts the car that says to check the oil and oil filter.
She was so worried that she looked it up in the car’s manual. The manual said it meant it was time to get the oil and filter changed.
That can’t be right, I thought, because we recently had the car serviced at the Nissan dealer in Tupelo. Sunday I went out and checked the sticker the dealer had put in the corner of the windshield. It only had been about 2,500 miles since the oil change.
The dealer probably forgot to reset the gadget when the oil was changed, I said. We usually wait until about 5,000 miles anyway because she puts the mileage on so quickly.
She was annoyed because it’s not the only warning light that comes on in her car. Once in a while, she gets a “low tire pressure” light.
It’s a general warning because her car does not give a readout of the exact pressure in each tire.
When it comes on, she sends our son Joe out with a tire gauge to check her tires. They’re never low.
She has asked the dealer to fix it, but it still happens.
“I get so many warnings that if something really was wrong with the car, I probably would ignore the light,” she said.
Somehow, knowing Jenny, I doubt that.
But a colleague I worked with years ago in South Carolina found a way to deal with a defective warning light. He had one of those big old sedans – a Buick or Oldsmobile or something – and a bright red “check engine” light came on and stayed on every time he started the car.
He complained about it for weeks, saying it was so bright that it was distracting when he drove at night, but he didn’t want to pay a dealer to fix it.
Then, one day he announced he had fixed the problem himself. Knowing he had no more talent for fixing cars than me, I was skeptical.
We went out to his car, and he started it up. No annoying light. Then I noticed he had put a small strip of black electrical tape on the speedometer glass over where the light was.
Whatever works, I guess.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at