Hacking The Car

I recently purchased a new (ish) car. The name of the new vehicle has yet to be decided  but some things did need to be sorted out.

As a safety feature the car beeps an alarm inside the car while in reverse. There aren’t parking sensors so this was purely to warn the driver that you aren’t going to move forward when you depress the go pedal. This beeping was annoying. Googling around soon led to two potential ways to fix it.

If the Prius is pre-2010 then you can use the following method:

Step 1: Depress the brake pedal and hold it there.
Step 2: Press the Start/Stop button to turn on the engine.
Step 3: Push the Odometer button. Push the button on your dash designated Trip/Odometer until “ODO” is displayed on the screen. If it is already displaying this, you will have to cycle through the options to refresh it by pressing the button a total of three times.
Step 4: Press the Start/Stop button. Press the Start/Stop button to turn off the engine of your Prius.
Step 5: Press the Start/Stop button again. With your foot still on the brake, press the Start/Stop button again, and your engine will restart.
Step 6: Push and hold the Odometer button: Push the Trip/Odometer button again and do not release it.
Step 7: Press the park button. While still depressing the Trip/Odometer button, put your Prius in reverse, then immediately push the Park button. Do not release the Trip/Odometer button until this is complete.
Step 8: Push the Trip/Odometer button. Instead of the usual miles traveled on the odometer display, there should be the text “b on.” Push the Trip/Odometer button until the dashboard displays the text “b off.”
Step 9: Press the Start/Stop button again. Press the Start/Stop button again to turn your Prius’ engine off. The reverse beep is now disabled, and you will not hear it again in future trips.

This, I think, is the car equivalent of ctrl-alt-del and using reg-edit and BIOS simultaneously. Now, I can follow instructions, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing this. My car is registered as a “59” but apparently it was a 2010 model as when I looked under the dash there was a OBD2 connector.

It turns out that car manufacturers have standardised the laptop connections to the car and its CPU. This makes sense and it also allows people to connect their own devices and customise or fix or break their own car.

So, I invited a friend over who tries does hack his own car and attempt to improve or fix it. He has a Bluetooth and WiFi connector and I downloaded the Carista app on my phone. After connecting the adaptor to the car and then getting the phone secure connection running the app decided to run some diagnostics tests.

After a short while I was able to pay for a week’s subscription to the Carista app and then able to change the settings.

My car no longer constantly beeps when reversing. It beeps once. Which is good.

I also turned off the seat belt alarm. That would beep constantly too if the driver didn’t have a seat belt on. I always wear my seat belt so this noise isn’t needed either.