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Shock and Yaw

Posted by Amy in General

I love cars. Not just race cars but I am a fan of cars in general. If I had unlimited funds (or was insanely wealthy at the very least) I would have a classic car collection. I know I have mentioned this before and am pretty darn sure I went into gory details as to which cars I would have in my collection  (split window vette! Nomad!) and why somewhere on this blog before. Unfortunately I an not insanely wealthy or have unlimited funds…so I have my every day car, a 2008 Chevy HHR LT and that is it. I actually was originally going to buy a Toyota pickup (ie a Tacoma). I had a Toyota Rav4 that was perfect for me it was fairly reliable for most of it’s life (200,000 miles). But then it started to have some issues starting.  Personally I think it was a problem with the fuel pump or filter but damned if they would listen to me at Toyota…they played the hunt and peck and change this thingy and that doohickey to the tune of 300+ bucks at a time and by the time I was nearly $1 grand into trying to fix the problem and still having the same freaking issue I decided it might just be cheaper for me in the long run to go for a new car.  About that  time I needed to drive to southern California.  Because the Rav decided it would only start *sometimes* I rented a car.  I ended up getting an HHR from the rental company and I fell in love with it.  Thus a couple months later- I went to my local Chevy dealership and drove off with a silver HHR.

I take very good care of my car: A loving car wash often enough to keep her shiny, an oil change every 3,000 miles and all the recommended services (yeah I know I am getting gouged at the dealer but…I am a girl and while I know just enough about cars to have a sense when I am getting bs’d about something, I honestly don’t know that much about cars and their, um working parts).

A couple of weekends ago the weather turned from dreary to lovely.  I gathered up my parents and a bazillion tons of camera equipment and we went for a drive to take pictures.  We ended up going over a fairly steep grade in our adventures and on the descending side of the grade my car developed a nasty vibration every time I applied even the tinest bit of brake.  The HHR had nearly 50k miles on it.  My dad said it was probably brake related. I called when we got to our destination and made an appointment to take the HHR  in to be fixed.  The problem was indeed the brakes and had a brake job.  All better right? Well kind of.

A week to the day later from the brake job? I am circling the parking lot at work like a shark working a school of anchovies as I look for a spot to open up when my car start dinging at me and a warning light on my dashboard comes on and my digital read out kindly states SERVICE ESC.  Well being the PANIC! PANIC! THE WHEELS ARE GONNA FALL OFF!!! kind of person that I am…I called OnStar and they ran a diagnostic (awesome they can do that while you are driving around looking for a parking spot).  I mean that is what I pay them the big bucks for right? So they can tell me what’s going on with my car and send help should I crash or something.  Well OnStar told me I needed to take my car in because there was a problem with the stabilitrack on the car (the electronic stability controls- you know the system that keeps you from sliding all over in slippery conditions- ie the bane of wanna be drifters everywhere).  So again because I am a PANIC! PANIC! THE WHEELS ARE GONNA FALL OFF!!! kinda person I call Chevy and make an appointment for the next day to take it back to have this looked out.

Diagnosis: Malfunctioning yaw rate sensor.  I nearly asked when I traded in my car for a freaking sailboat.  Because doesn’t a yaw sensor sound like it belongs on a sailboat?  Anyway thanks to what I have learned watching NASCAR my entire life I had a fairly good idea what that probably did just based on the name alone.  But I asked my service adviser anyway.  He chuckled and said “I had a feeling you were going to ask that!” (I think he could sense that I am a PANIC! PANIC! THE WHEELS ARE GONNA FALL OFF!!! AND ITS GOING TO COST ME A FORTUNE TO FIX! type of person when I brought it in right away).  He tried to put it in a way I could understand…which was nice. So if you are wondering? The yaw sensor on an HHR with ESC is what tells the ESC when the back end is scooting around on you (as if you are a loose race car).  Luckily for me it was covered under the extended warranty (yey extended warranty). But yeah…so here’s to hoping nothing else on my car wants to go haywire for a bit.

Mostly? I had to tell you the story because, well, is that not the coolest title for a post? I hate titles and usually have a hard time titling them.  But this post was all about the title.

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One Response

  • Hi! I am Markeisha McCall with OnStar communications. I enjoyed reading your post, “Shock and Yaw”, especially since I can be a PANIC! PANIC! person too! And yes, it is a great post title! Thanks for sharing your experience with OnStar’s On-Demand Diagnostics feature. We’re glad to help keep your Chevrolet HHR in top form!

    As I’m sure you know, in addition to our On-Demand Diagnostics checks; there is OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics – a diagnostics report e-mailed to you each month with the status of your vehicle’s operating systems (oil life, tire pressure, etc) – so you are always in the know! Anyways, I just wanted to thank you again for the informative and funny post. Feel free to push our button anytime – live advisors are available 24/7/365!

    Warm regards,

    Markeisha McCall, OnStar

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