Loose Tacoma shift knob, what to do?

I just had my truck washed at a “typical” car wash: drop it off at one end, they vacuum it, it runs through the car wash on a conveyor and they finish drying it at the end. People drive it at each end although just for a moment.

I’ve been using this car wash for years and it’s under new ownership and they’re doing a great job. The owner is right in there doing all the various jobs so everyone’s paying close attention.

I drove away and noticed that the shift knob was loose. Odd, this is a 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup and it’s never been loose before. Oh dear. Wondered if the guy who vacuumed it and got it started on the conveyor struggled with it. It’s an automatic, nothing to really struggle with.

What to do?

Bring it back and complain? Maybe but not sure what that would accomplish.

Make an appointment with Toyota to have it fixed? Can’t imagine the fix would be too tough.

Or, search the internet to see if others have had this issue and what they’ve done.

I typed the following into Safari (defaulting to Google search):

“2016 Toyota Tacoma loose shift knob”

The first hit was this one:

Tacoma World: Automatic Shift Knob loose!

I read through it, found this:

“If you push down on the plastic ring at the top of the leather skirt it’ll pop off, then see if you can screw the knob on tighter and snap the skirt back on.”

I went back outside to the truck, did exactly as the commenter said, and fixed it.

I’m not boasting or attempting to pat myself on the back for having fixed this minor issue, I’m pointing out that the web coupled with an intelligent search query can provide amazing support very quickly.

Underlying this is Google and the fact that it does an amazing job of indexing all the various pieces of text information on the web. In fact, this post will no doubt be part of future search results for loose Tacoma shift knobs.

NUMMI 2015

NUMMI 2015

This is a brilliant segment of This American Life in collaboration with Frank Langfitt and NPR news.

A car plant in Fremont California that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. Frank Langfitt explains why GM didn’t learn the lessons—until it was too late.

Wikipedia has a nice history of the NUMMI plant.

The NUMMI plant was bought by Tesla and their cars are now made there. Here’s a video of production of the Tesla Model S in the same plant.

Automatic Link

This is an incredible invention: Plug Automatic Link into your car’s data port and it shares all kinds of data on your car’s health and your driving habits with an app on your smartphone.

You can find out if your car or phone is supported here (you don’t need to go through with the pre-order).

For more details check out the Automatic Labs site.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

How to get a stuck CD out of a Toyota Tacoma

Even though I’ve had an iPod since they came out and sometimes use mine in my truck, I generally make CD mixes to play in my 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

This morning a CD that I’d left in the truck’s stereo wouldn’t play and wouldn’t eject. In other words it was stuck and the stereo was showing an error code (03) on its LCD.

After messing with it for a while I called the local Toyota dealer who told me that they’d have to remove the stereo from the truck and send it out and it could cost a minimum of $200. I also called two car stereo dealerships who gave me high quotes although not that much.

A bit of searching on the web and I found a few obscure notes in forums saying that in some cases, disconnecting the car/truck battery and then reconnecting it will eject the CD. The theory here is that if you disconnect the battery and then reconnect it everything electrical in the vehicle will revert to its default state on power up.

I wasn’t hopeful this would work but I figured I’d try it.

Opened the hood, un-bolted the red, positive terminal from the battery, left it off for a few seconds, bolted it back, got in the truck and put key in, turned it one click to get power to stereo and amazingly the CD popped out without me even hitting the eject button.

I wonder if the Toyota dealer would have done this and still charged me the $200? They certainly could have told me to try it if they had any sense of customer service.

I can’t guarantee that this will work in all cases but it sure doesn’t hurt to try it no matter what kind of car or truck you have.