Paperclip Diagnostics

The trusty paperclip. Man’s best friend. I’ve been having a minor fault on my car (Vauxhall Omega) for a while now. The ECU (computer, basically) will light up on the dashboard with a fault and sometimes the car will stall. If you take the car and a loaded wallet to your nearest Vauxhall garage, they’ll diagnose it in return for lots of money. You can get it diagnosed with any garage that carries a small testing kit (about £50) too.

Today, I looked on Google and found this PDF that instructs you to put a paperclip between two pins in your car. The dashboard will then indicate, through a series of flashes and pauses, which fault(s) have been logged. Amazing and free!

Turns out that I have a high voltage on the oxygen sensor circuit. Google once again comes to the rescue; this means that there’s too much oxygen in the system! Hooray, fixing can now commence.

The next stage would be a car that self-diagnoses itself, then repairs itself automatically – if the oxygen intake is too wide why can’t it just close itself a bit, or am I being naive?