Sunday, July 4, 2010

Your car security system and the monsoons

I am sharing this bad experience with other car owners - if you have a remote security system for your car, be careful in the monsoons!

This weekend, I dropped my car security remote into a puddle in the rain. Now, I have butterfingers and it is not the first time I have dropped things (cell phone, MP3 player, camera - hope my Dad is not reading this!). The remote peversely worked fine immediately after that and I drove off to Pune down the expressway. Then disaster struck when I stopped at the Food Court for a snack and toilet break. The remote went completely dead and refused to unlock the car. I was forced to use the key and I set off a siren which went on for 20 minutes. The Food Court crowd watched disinterestedly as I struggled and finally drove off with lights flashing and sirens blaring (alternate howling and singing) feeling like a cross between a thief and some action movie stunt girl . After some time, the Nippon Security system decided that either the car had been stolen or that no one cared and mercifully fell silent till I reached Pune. Then again, the moment I cut the engine and opened the door, the sirens starter blaring again, till Dad disconnected the car battery. We called the Maruti Nippon service. Thankfully, the engineer arrived in a few hours and solved the problem. Basically the battery in the remote had died (Dad feels it might have short circuited or gotten spoilt because I dropped it and it got wet). We replaced the battery and everything worked fine.



Moral of the story
1) Don't drop your car remote in the monsoon, and protect it from getting wet. If you insist on your right to be clumsy (I do!), then carry your duplicate remote with you, especially on long distance journeys. Follow this precaution at least during the rains.If you are uncomfortable with carrying both sets of car keys with you, detach the spare key and carry only the spare remote.
2) Keep the number of your service center accessible in the car.
3) Familiarise yourself with the security system manual or get your security system provider to give you a demo. I feel it is essential to learn how to disable your security system in an emergency. (In the case of the Nippon system provided with my Ritz, it is disabled by switching the ignition on, then pressing the disarm button in the car and then switching off the ignition. Repeating this cycle seven times disarms the security system and silences the siren). Also remember that once the car has been locked using the remote and then unlocked using only the key, the siren will stay activated. If you locked using the remote, you MUST unlock with the remote, or follow the disarm code for the system.
4) In case all else fails, open the bonnet and disconnect the battery. This will cut all power and at least your neighbours will not kill you for causing noise pollution. Once you have done this, you can call a service engineer to come and sort out the problem.
5) From the Nippon service engineer - avoid carrying the remote in a handbag or in a pocket where it can brush against other things, because if the buttons gets pressed repeatedly, it drains the battery.

Question : If we can have water resistant watches, why can't we have water resistant remotes?