Shit I Learn From Experience – Locked Out of Vehicle

Shit That Happened

I drive quite a cars/trucks that have key fob push button start. In theory, if the key fob is within 25′, the vehicle unlocks when you put your hand on the handle, in theory. Because I own and drive so many different vehicles, I tend to leave the fob in the vehicle, as the vehicle is in a locked garage. It makes it easier to move them around. If I carried all of the keys and fobs to my 31 vehicles on one key chain, I’d have to have annual Hernia surgery.

One of my cars, a Challenger RT, must have a loose power lock switch – as twice I’ve been locked out at a gas station from just closing the door. Boom, door locks. Since it’s a 2009, it was before the hand on handle unlocking the door. The two times I was locked out, someone was close by with the second key. I’ve learned to take key or leave door open when gassing up.

However, today I was driving my Ram 3500 Dually from my race shop to my lake house. They’re a little more than 100 miles apart. I take back roads and take my three dogs with me in the truck. I stopped at the only gas station on these back roads, which was about 1/2 way. I was filling with diesel, my dogs were sucking up the ac (95 degrees) and listening to Pink Floyd from my iPhone – played through the truck’s stereo via Bluetooth.

When I was done filling, I grabbed the door handle to open, and it was locked. Apparently one of the knucklehead Schnauzers stepped on the power lock while watching me. I tried the other three doors and none of them would unlock either. I could see the fob on the console – but the doors wouldn’t unlock. I’m guessing that if you lock from inside when engine is running, it disregards unlocking from outside as a car jacking preventative. My spare set was 50 miles away at race shop, and no one was there. My wife was at the lake house, which was 50 miles from me, and 100 from shop. My truck is equipped with Uconnect, but I’m a cheap bastard who isn’t seeing the value of the $20 a month. Besides, my iPhone was in the truck entertaining my dogs with Dark Side of The Moon. No phone or apps access.

So I asked someone filling up in the other aisle if I could use their phone. They agreed, and I called my wife told her my situation, gave her my address and what I was driving, and asked her to use the AAA app I installed on her phone to get me lock out service. A little over an hour later some kid showed up saying he was only one in miles who will come to where I was at, and since it was Saturday evening he really didn’t want to be there. However, AAA told him if he didn’t go, they’d stop using him. Five minutes after he showed I was back on the road.

So What Did I Learn That I’d Like To Pass Along, and To Spare Others of This Grief?

  • Renew your AAA subscription every year. Someday you’ll need it and the pressure they can put to bear on their vendors 24/7. I have it because I have so many vehicles, and I’m not changing rear tires on my dually if I don’t have to. Have the app installed on all family members phones. It would have taken three hours for my wife to get the spare key and she would have been pissed.
  • Don’t assume that your vehicle will unlock with a wave of your hand if the fob is inside. If the door is locked from the inside, the software assumes that someone inside has a reason to block all access from the outside. Take your fob with you or leave your door open when filling.
  • Take your phone with you. The dog’s will survive a few minutes without Pink Floyd. Since there is no such thing as a pay phone, your phone is your lifeline. It has the Uconnect/On Star app to get doors unlocked. It has the Uber app if you need to get other keys. It gets you help. It gives you Internet access to search for a solution. It’s GPS allows you to send a pin point of where you’re at to help.
  • Do be a cheap bastard on the Uconnect or On-Star service.
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