This one was washed

Here’s a Prius II key fob disassembled after having gone through the wash.


This fob isn’t worthless.  You can still use the key in the driver’s door key cylinder. (I’m not sure if there is a passenger door key cylinder…) And the passive transponder still works to start the car as long as the fob is put into the slot.  But I don’t think there’s any chance of the remote functions and SmartKey capability being brought back to life– much cheaper and more reliable to get a new one.

(BTW, you can tell that this is a SmartKey because of the silver Toyota logo.  For non-SmartKey Prii, the logo is just embossed in black.)

Not your average brake squeal

Sometimes I take pictures of automotive curiosities and by the time I get around to looking at them again I’ve forgotten what’s curious about them. It took me a minute to notice what was wrong with these disc brakes. I’ll give you a hint: My co-worker Hans who was working on this Jeep Grand Cherokee was told by the customer that the brakes were squealing.


It’s not entirely clear from the photo exactly what’s going on, but the bottom end of the shim between the brake pad and the caliper has rotated toward the hub and started to wear a groove in the “hat” part of the rotor.  If that groove had managed to cut all the way through, the caliper would have grabbed hold of the rotor and stopped it, but the wheel would have kept on turning.


Cabin Air Filter

Most cars manufactured since around 2000 have an air filter for the HVAC system, the cabin air filter. It is pretty standard to locate these on the right side of the car inside the dash, accessible by removing the glove box or lowering it beyond its normal travel. I work mostly on Toyota and Honda small passenger vehicles and I believe they all follow this pattern. A few exceptions that I can think of are the Ford Escape, VW Jetta and Think, all of which have cabin filters accessed from under the hood (still on the right side of the car).

It’s usually a quick and easy check to do, so I always include it unless the customer is in a real hurry. But it seems that the word has not gotten out to all of the service shops and technicians. For some cars visiting Hawthorne Auto Clinic for the first time I may find a relatively new, clean air filter. But the other times… Continue reading Cabin Air Filter