I had an interesting day yesterday.
I love my car. What I love most is that my car has a bunch of cool gadgetry that makes my driving experience better than farfegnugen. But every once and awhile, some of that cool gadgetry goes Inspector Gadget on me.
The other day was my remote door locks. I have a nifty little feature called Passive Keyless Entry, PKE for short. PKE “senses” the presence of the keyfob and unlocks the door(s) when you approach and then locks the doors when you turn off the car, close the door and walk away.
The fob also has buttons for unlocking/locking the doors and popping the rear hatch. I realized things weren’t working the day I turned off the car, pulled the keys out of the ignition and the doors locked me in and then the hatch popped open. Taking the car to the dealer, I found that I had a VERY expensive problem or an even MORE expensive alternative. So luckily for me, I just had the VERY expensive issue.
After a week or so, the car was ready to go. The keyfobs were reprogrammed to the car and the mechanic demonstrated that everything worked as it should… and that my rear hatch shouldn’t pop as I’m driving down the highway. Of course, two days later, Tina needed to get in the passenger side of the car and we realized that the passenger door didn’t unlock with the driver’s door – which it used to do up to this point.
Tina feels like I’m not attentive as a result… and I’m pissed because I felt that the repair folks didn’t do their job and I was taking the heat. I grabbed the car’s manual, checked the appropriate pages, and saw how there were three PKE settings: Off, Driver’s Door Only, Both Doors. I followed the instructions to change the settings to Both Doors. But it didn’t work. Nor did it work the next dozen times I tried. Now you’ve got the background to understand what happened next.
As luck would have it, a lot of my interviewing trips were coming up, so I didn’t have time to take it back to the dealer until yesterday. When I talked with the mechanic again, his response was “the car doesn’t do that…” and “it’s not something I can set up for you…”. I pulled out the manual again, showed him where it said it was an easy setting to change.
After a half-hour of talking with other folks there who were supposedly “experts” on this particular vehicle, it was time to call Second Level Support from the Auto Manufacturer because no one there supposedly knew that the PKE system could unlock both doors. After ANOTHER half-hour, we found that there were a few possibilities… most likely it was a short between the ignition and the remote system receiver that was replaced during those expensive repairs. Of course, the only way to prove it was to rip open the dash board and test the wire. So I decided to live with the idea that the system only unlocks the one door for the moment.
But my favorite quote of the day came as I was getting back into the car to go home. The mechanic was smiling, joking about the extent to which they’d have to go to test that one piece of wire. And then, still smiling, he says “you’re the only one who wants that setting… everyone else wants us to turn it off so that only one door unlocks…”.
And I drove off… but wait a minute, didn’t we start this adventure by him telling me that such a setting doesn’t exist?