Registered Behavioral Automotive Technician (RBAT) Chuck Staker is puzzled.
During his time at Applied Behavioral Automotive Analysis & Repair (ABAAR, LLC), he’s seen a lot of vehicles. But he says he’s never had any issues — until now.
“I just don’t get it. I’ve tried everything: numerous interventions, using fuel as a reinforcer, Discrete Trial Training. Nothing seems to get this car to comply!”
ABAAR provides eight hours of therapy to a variety of cars on the automotive spectrum. “We work very hard to train the vehicle to have quiet brakes, quiet tires and quiet exhaust, practicing with service stories that parents can also do at home,” Staker said.
The sedan, a 2018 Fortillac, was brought in by its parents, David and Margot Johnson, after a recommendation from their auto insurance provider. “We didn’t know where else to turn. Our sweet little sedan means well but has some clear deficits. We’re worried it will fall behind its peers in the J.D. Power rankings.”
Such deficits include rejection of any fuel that’s not a specific octane, refusal to move before 8 a.m. and a high-pitched squealing when braking, among other markers.
“We’ve had many cars come in here, for example, obsessed with their passengers wearing seat belts,” Staker remarked. “A lot will yell or scream; some just shut down until their demands are met. Such obsessions cannot be allowed to override proper vehicular behavior.”
Despite offering a gallon of its favorite fuel as a token reward for compliance, Staker noted that the sedan’s disobedience continues. “Developmentally Disabled Vehicles (DDVs) like this can be incredibly defiant; a lot of that is due to their developmental age. This car in particular is chronologically five, but developmentally it’s not even two years old.”
Even though their sedan ignores passenger comfort, refuses to align its headlights and actively blocks attempts to connect using Bluetooth, the Johnsons say the work done by Staker and ABAAR is worth it.
“We just want our sedan to be more normal, like other people’s vehicles. Without this therapy, what would happen to it when we die?”