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June 29, 2007 12:03 AM

Broken: Chevy Impala A/C control

Chevy07Doug Schaefer points out:

This is a photo of the HVAC controls on a 2007 Chevy Impala car I rented.  The position indicator on the 3 control dials is a small blue LED in the chrome trim ring of the dial.

At night, this is very readable and easy to see.  However, during the day, the blue LED is very hard to find in all the chrome reflections - it takes a concentrated effort to tell where the dial is pointed.


Those pesky knobs...who needs 'em. Voice commands are all thats needed (and what we need nowadays) to control peripherals and functions of the vehicle (with the exception of actual driving). Like Star Trek or something ("Computer: Play music...classic rock").

Oh yeah, and I do agree that the design of the knob is broken. Maybe a line to the back of the knob would have been better, or a contrasting color against the silver would have been easier to see, with an LED on the front edge for visibility at night.

Posted by: ashleyriot_vs at June 29, 2007 06:55 AM

This is easy to fix, however, if you own this car. All you have to do is draw a line with a sharpie on the knob behind the LED. But, since this is a rental, I suppose that would be a problem.

Posted by: Sir Kha at June 29, 2007 10:33 AM

get over it... as long as it looks good it doesnt have to do anything. isnt that how people think these days?

Posted by: ragingbullxxx at June 29, 2007 11:55 AM

Oh man..this reminds me of one of the Family Guy episode..the talking car that Peter drove: "In Russia, car drives you"

Posted by: krizpiyo at June 29, 2007 12:36 PM

Another easy fix, even for a rental: Get some masking tape and put a thin strip on the knob to indicate where the LED is. However, this shouldn't need fixing in the first place.

Posted by: trekkie4christ at June 29, 2007 12:41 PM

This is off-topic, but krizpiyo's comment reminded me of 6/19's Achewood strip ( ) -- I just am wondering what the origin of this "In Russia, [opposite here]" gag is.

Posted by: tandy1000tl2 at June 29, 2007 02:09 PM

How do these kinds of things get overlooked by people when designing the cars? Do they say, "This looks cool" and put on blue LEDs without even testing to make sure it works well. This is probably one reason why Chevrolet (not to mention the other American car companies) are loosing business to European and Asian automakers, like Toyota, Honda, and BMW.

Posted by: jon at June 29, 2007 03:13 PM

For the left and center knob, you don't really need a marker, it's simply "clockwise equals more fan or more heat". I can understand the problem with the right knob, where you want to know the precise setting.

Posted by: klew at June 29, 2007 04:52 PM

_@_v - 80s comedian and russian expat yakof smirnoff was the originator of the "in russia xxx" bit. end of the cold war pretty much bolloxed his act.

_@_v - when asked by johnny carson what his favourite thing about america was he replied "warning shots. in russia they shoot you, that's warning for next guy!"

_@_v - when asked by his father-in-law, upon receiving u.s. citizenship what he didn't like about america, "those damn foreigners... coming in and stealing our jobs"

Posted by: she-snailie_@_v at June 29, 2007 05:58 PM

In my opinion, these types of controls for a/c are entirely broken, regardless of the visibility of the setting of the knobs. Nearly every rental car I've had has had some variation of the 3-knob a/c control setup and it is impossible to set them to maintain a comfortable temperature in the car. Why they can't just have a setting for temperature (like my personal car) is beyond me.

Posted by: ebob at June 29, 2007 07:08 PM

Wow, what a pain! Still, the fixes that some have posted are pretty useful.


Posted by: Maxaxle at June 29, 2007 07:11 PM

That's my rental. The tape and marker ideas are good ones except:

A - I wouldn't want to deface my own car. I'd just live with it (but I wouldn't buy an Impala anyway).

B - The inside (face) of the knobs don't turn, only the outside (a fact I failed to include). In fact, the center of the R & L knobs are also buttons (AC & rear defrost, respectively). So marking the face wouldn't help and the ring is pretty thin. The rings need a physical, raised pointer with the LED on it.

Thanks for publishing my find.

Posted by: salguod at June 30, 2007 07:57 PM

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