Seems those lights are there for a reason
During an oil change, I had a chance to examine the undercarriage with a mechanic who pointed out yellow paint on the front rack - a sure sign that it's been whacked. As low-slung as the Maggies are, I know I've whacked it a few times and am on my third protector (the big cardboard piece under the radiator and engine).
He also pointed out that the right boot was leaking steering fluid and said the tie rod was bent. Not only would this explain the lights, but a dead sensor also contributes and will disable the cruise control.
RX: New Rack & Pinion, new sensor - about $1,100. It also needs new tires and a tune-up. The gas gauge, FM antenna/reception problem will have to be examined as will a passenger seat motor (front-to-rear motion). It also needs four new struts for the hatch and hood. Add a detail and it'll be like new probably for around $2,500.
On first take that sounds like a lot of money for a car with 70,000 miles. But it's six years old and will probably be my last car. I'd much rather pay a big hit like that once every five years and little hits as they occur - and still have a car that I really like - than to be making the $500-$600/monthly payments.
So, for the rest of you who've have chimed in on this problem, thanks! And for those still hoping a fuse will fix all your problems, maybe you should ask them to put it on a rack next time you get your oil changed. I will get a second opinion, and I might get the cost down, but in the long run, I think the diagnosis is probably pretty close to right.
I sure wish it as just a 10-cent fuse! Thanks to TNech for his patience and advice.
Last edited by cpmgrp; 12-16-2010 at 02:33 PM.