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Old 3rd December 2010, 10:58   #1
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Default When Remote Locking Fails

Almost all cars today are fitted with some kind off remote/central locking system, more often than not, doubling up as a burglar alarm.

The remotes of these central locking system operate on batteries, which are prone to discharge and die (often without much warning), thus effectively locking owners out of their cars (unless they are willing to set of the blaring sirens/alarms by unlocking the car with the key).


I'm posting this, because I was stuck in a similar dilemma just a few days ago: drove to the neighborhood market slightly late in the evening (around 10 pm) to grab a quick dinner, after dinner I walked up to the car and pressed the unlock button - no response, I walked closer and pressed again, nothing - for a while I thought maybe I was pressing the wrong button (It was dark so I could'nt actually see the buttons). So used my cellphone as a torch and pressed again - nothing at all - I was more confused than worried - was'nt really expecting something like this... Went back into the market (relatively well lit and shielded from the wind) and did a quick investigation of the remote - and noticed that the small (really really minuscule - the size of a needle head) light at the bottom of the remote was'nt lighting up - figured the battery was dead - opened the remote removed the battery and kinda rubbed it between my palms - hoping the warmth would revive the battery enough to unlock my car - but to no avail... Luckily the market is within the colony and relatively safe even at night, so after spending about half an hour trying to get the car unlocked with the help of a couple of shopkeepers and security guards, I left the car parked there and decided to go back home and fetch the spare remote - walked back home, picked up a torch and the spare remote and then walked back to the market (no convenient public transport in gurgaon at night!!). Sure enough the car unlocked without a hitch (with the spare remote of course) and I drove back home. Got the battery replaced the next day for 80 bucks from the local watch repair guy and the remote is as good as new

Well I was lucky enough that this happened close to home and I had the spare remote handy, but should'nt these remotes have some kind of a low battery warning so that people aren't stranded because of something so ridiculously trivial.

Also, what is the recommended procedure incase someone is stuck - is it better to open the car with the key and then somehow disarm the sirens? or is there some kind of emergency unlock procedure built into these systems.

Like I said I was lucky to be able to access my spare remote - but I would like this thread to act as a reference for others stuck in a similar situation (which I'm sure is not that uncommon)

Last edited by adisag : 3rd December 2010 at 10:59.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:07   #2
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Yes, sometimes it is a problem.
But you can use the key to unlock the doors, but you will not be able to start the car as the immobilizer will still be active.
I was in a similar situation. So now I keep a spare battery in my car at all times. In case the battery dies, I can use the spare in the car.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:15   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedmiester View Post
Yes, sometimes it is a problem.
But you can use the key to unlock the doors, but you will not be able to start the car as the immobilizer will still be active.
I was in a similar situation. So now I keep a spare battery in my car at all times. In case the battery dies, I can use the spare in the car.
Sure The doors will unlock - but the sirens will go off right?? Is there a way the sirens can be switched off - If not, you'll just end up exhausting your cars battery as well as have a bunch of irate neighbors/bystanders wondering what you are upto.

I like the idea of carrying a spare battery in the car though - you can unlock manually and then deactivate the sirens once you've got the remote battery swapped.

Last edited by adisag : 3rd December 2010 at 11:17.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:22   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adisag View Post
Got the battery replaced the next day for 80 bucks from the local watch repair guy
Hmmm...I don't have a remote lock & hence I'm not sure about it much. So I assume here that the remote has a small watch size battery that ran out of life right? If that's the case, why not carry a spare battery in the wallet along with the coins?

But why not inform the near bystanders or may be even a cop & then use the car keys to open up the car? Yes, let the alarm blare, no issues. After getting in the car, one can prove their identify by showing the RC, license right?

PS - Don't ask me what if someone leaves the wallet in the car
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:23   #5
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That is exactly what happened with me a week ago in whitefield forum mall. We had been to late night movie and after the movie when i approach the car and trying to release the lock for some reason my keyless entry just didnt bother to work. I was shocked and confused as to what to do. I went through the same exercies as you ADISAG thinking i must be pressing the wrong key. But no, it was not working. So i made a mistake by trying to unlocking the door using key and there it goes...it just started making all kinds of sounds.

The security out there was staring at me as if i have come to steal the car or something, luckily he didnt ask any questions. sturggled for almost 15 minutes with the background sound of car alarm. Such a annoying situation. Finally, somehow it stopped and as SPEEDMIESTER mentioned, car just refuses to start with the alarm ON.

After 15 minutes of sturggle things were under control.

The best part, next morning i had parked my car down the road which is easily around 150 mtrs from my place and spare key was at home. Now picture a situation;

I was near the car (which was locked) and it was parked almost 150 mtrs away from my house, I called up my people at home and asked them to take the spare key and press unlock button from there and i held the phone near the car and BOOOMMMM...it just unlocked.

I had heard about something like this, but when i tried it personally it was amazingly super. A happy man walked away without having to be worrying about the battery exhaust issues (hopefully) May be you can try this out*
* provided somebody is at home who have an access to spare key
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:27   #6
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This is one solution I found on the web.

*********

Today I tried to unlock my C3 and... no dice.
This has happened many times before so I wasn't too worried - just open the door with the key and when you put the key in the ignition it should stop the alarm and let you re-sync as detailed above. At least, that's what SHOULD happen. Not today. Not for me.

The alarm kept going and the immobilizer stayed active. Clearly the car wasn't recognizing the transponder in the key.

After an emergency visit from my genius mechanic, I have this tip to add for anyone who gets the same problem:

1) unlock the driver's door with the key and LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN THROUGHOUT THIS PROCEDURE (alarm will sound as soon as you open the door)
2) reach over and pop the bonnet
3) disconnect the battery negative (nice and easy as there's a clip on it)
4) leave it off and wait 30 seconds
5) with the negative still disconnected, put the key in the ignition and switch to the ON position
6) reconnect the battery negative

After this you should have a car with the alarm and immobilizer turned off again and the key should now be recognized by the car (allowing you to start it).

I just drove to my nearest Maplin to replace the remote battery and after re-syncing it everything was back to normal.

*********

Citroen Keyfob Fails To Lock/unlock - Citroen owners club

Murthy
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:30   #7
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@ Aargee - agreed on carrying a spare battery (learnt the lesson the hard way), but as far as unlocking the car and having the siren blare up is concerned - I reckon it will keep blaring until either the remote unlocking is pressed (not possible as the battery is dead) or the alarm is disconnected by opening the bonnet and disconnecting some wires etc..
So either you know which wires to disconnect (a degree in car jacking would help ) or you drive all the way home with the sirens blaring ... Painful.

PS -
a) I often do leave my wallet in the car
b) You must be one of the very few who does not use central locking

@ Gavinimurthy - Makes sense - our first step to the above mentioned degree in car jacking ... Thanks

Last edited by adisag : 3rd December 2010 at 11:33.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:34   #8
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Every car comes with two sets of keys and central locking device.
Ideally you should use this alternatively once a month or twice a month and change the battery of both over a period of time say 1.5 years or 2 years and not wait till the battery dies completly. I know this is a pain but you do not have to follow a strict regime to change the keys.
This info should be available in most of the car manuals as best practice.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:55   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post

But why not inform the near bystanders or may be even a cop & then use the car keys to open up the car? Yes, let the alarm blare, no issues. After getting in the car, one can prove their identify by showing the RC, license right?
The problem with modern cars is that there is a code that is transmittted to the CPU once you insert the key into the ignition slot. That code should match with the one stored in the CPU for the engine to start.

I am not sure if the transmission of the code to the CPU takes place when the remote battery is dead.

Murthy
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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:01   #10
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I don't think that the battery would die without any symptoms. The range of the remote would reduce before it gives up completely.

It would be a good idea to have an approximate idea of how long the battery lasts in the remote. Best would be to put in a new set of batteries every 2 years, even if the current ones are still working.

Most remote locking systems would give some indication on low battery, check your user manual for the same. For example, my locking system would beep once when the car is unlocked (under normal condition), but would beep 4 times (IIRC) if it senses some anomaly like low battery / alarm going off etc.

Also your user manual would mention how to stop the alarm if you happen to open the car with the key.

As mentioned above by someone, we should keep using both keys and both remotes, rotating them at regular intervals.

Finally, when going on a long drive, always keep spare key and remote with your co-passenger.

Rohan
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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:10   #11
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A bit but brilliantly timed and appropriate (is this the work of google spies?)

New Japanese Button Battery Generates Power From Vibrations - this showed up on my RSS feed a few minutes ago...

Kind off kills the problem mentioned at its very root
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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:30   #12
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What if is spare remote is kept inside car and door is opened with key? (Assume that remote that driver is carrying has dead battery) Will the siren go on in this case?

One more option: Take one spare battery and stick it to inside bumper or any other external place with very good adhesive tape. It can be used when battery become dead. One of my friend used to stick his car's duplicate key at some hidden place in car's body. He had bad habit of leaving car key inside after locking.

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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:35   #13
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I guess like Emergency Exit in buses there should be an "Emergency Entry" for such vehicles. :-)

Jokes apart, without changing the key remotes every month mine worked for almost 3.5 years

Its Nippon provided by MS

Things Observed: When the battery is about to die, the remote locking/unlocking would start behaving weird; (1) Locking/Unlocking range will be reduced. (2) locking/unlocking will need multiple key presses even when near to door.

Yes, one can use the keys to get in and fetch the spare remote placed inside car but then what's the use of having spare key. I guess it is to be kept safe at home for emergency.

What if you dont have spare remote in hand and you get in with help of key? The Siren will keep blowing. I guess at this point of time we can cut off the circuit from the fuse box under the hood.

Still a clear way would be to understand the early 2 signs and change the battery
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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:43   #14
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I had such an experience recently in one of the mall while returning after a late night movie. When i tried unlocked it just refused i tried couple fo time. Gave up, and unlocked the car with the key and then all kinds of wiered sound started. It was such a annoying situation and security was staring at me, thinking i am trying to steal the car.

I did manage to unlock the door and sat in tried starting the car (thinking it would stop the alarm) but returned with no luck, even car refused to start. After 10-12 continous alarming, finally it stopped (i dont know what all i did) i even tried resetting it.

Next morning went near the car which was parked almost 150 mtrs away from my place. I called my people at home and asked them to press the unlock button on the spare key and i held the phone near the car and BOOMMMM. car was unlocked.

I had read about it long ago, but tried it and it worked for me. Dont know if iw as lucky enough for it to work or it works technically!!!

You could try that as well*
*provided somebody is at home and has an access to spare key.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 12:53   #15
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Simple solution - Open the car manually, open the hood, disconnect the central locking wire, which is connected to your battery, your central locking system is disabled, put the key in ignition and bingo.
I learnt this when my Autocop system stopped working and called customer care.
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