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They don't make cars like they used to

Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at 11:44 PM

I suppose we bought cars with remotes when they first started making them available. It's surprising how much we depend on them.

We were out of town this weekend. As we were going from the car to church Sunday morning, my husband remarked that he couldn't get the car to beep to show that he had locked it. When we came out of church he pushed the button on the remote before we got to the car, and the lights didn't flash. He knew something was wrong. However, the car was unlocked. We later figured out that it was unlocked because it was never locked. We assumed the battery had died in his remote. I was going to let him use mine. However, I had changed to a smaller purse for church and realized my keys were in the big purse in the trunk. Would you believe you can't open the trunk of my car by using a key? I opened the glove box inside the car and pushed the magic button to pop the trunk. I found my keys quite easily, but that remote didn't work either. In the meantime, my husband was looking the trunk over for a hidden lock. It wasn't there. He could not believe there was no trunk lock. So, we were confined to opening the car with a key in the door and the trunk with the button in the glove box. Once my husband was going to open my door first. There is no lock on the passenger door either.

I called Pirtle & Howerton's service department Monday morning, and the person I talked with said it sounded as if the car's control for the remotes needed to be reprogrammed. That meant it was a car problem and not a remote problem. That afternoon we saw a small GM dealership and stopped to ask for their assistance. They had never heard of this happening before, but they were glad to check it out. We have this button on the dash that we push to program different features of the car. First they worked with that. They checked om the computer for the location of the fuses (underneath the back seat), removed the fuse for this particular function, replaced it, and the feature reset itself. It was not only great that they got the remotes to work again, but they didn't charge us. I think they were glad to know what to do if they see the problem again.

On the way home today we noticed the compass wasn't working. It showed CAL on the panel. I looked up info about the compass and decided it needed to be recalibrated. The way to do that (according to the manual) is to drive in a circle at 5 mph until it resets itself. That sounds like a joke put in there to trick people. My husband went to a church parking lot, drove in a circle to the left (it didn't say which direction), and indeed the compass started to work again. Our son (former Coast Guard guy) told me tonight that is the way they set the compass on a boat. I learn something new every day.

For 2 days we unlocked the car the old fashioned way. It wasn't a problem at all. A lot of people still drive cars without remotes. I do recall bygone days of having to stand in the rain while unlocking doors, but in this case it would be door.

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Weird, I had the same thing happen to me this week.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Apr 9, 2008, at 11:32 AM

yea we have a van and the only door on it with a lock is the drivers so if remote quits me and my 3 small kids are stuck in the rain till i getto that side unlock then go back around van to open their door. makes having a 4 door van kinda useless sometimes.if the van remote dies you have to reset the power sliding doors also it can be a pain!

-- Posted by jdw931 on Wed, Apr 9, 2008, at 9:42 AM

In cars past, we had to know due North to reset the compass. First time I heard of the circle thing. Interesting indeed.

Innovations are great, until they aren't, Then the tried and true comes to the rescue. That is, as long as this still IS a tried a true method, like the door locks slowly disappearing.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Apr 9, 2008, at 8:26 AM

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