My car tried to eat me this weekend. Well, it tried to trap me in its bowels, which is close enough. It was definitely a Stephen King moment in my life which is typically devoid of horror movie motifs. I prefer to think of my life as an offbeat comedy, somewhat lacking in major plot developments, but featuring lovable characters, not killer cars.
Last Saturday around seven I got in my car to grab some dinner, turned on the engine, and suddenly heard a horrible CHUNKA!-CHUNKA!-CHUNKA! sound, like squirrels were pelting my car with walnuts, which would have been just one more reason I’d be glad to be moving out of this neighborhood already. After I took about two seconds to FREAK THE HELL OUT, I turned off the engine and the sound continued, which is when I finally figured out I wasn’t being attacked by the local wildlife. Instead, my power locks were having an epileptic seizure.
To make things worse, turning off the engine and removing my keys from the ignition did nothing to stop the problem, which makes sense if you think about it. If working locks depended on having your key in the ignition, we’d all have to become a locksmiths to get back inside our cars. And if we were all locksmiths, why bother having locks at all?
So, there I was, sitting in the parking lot on the weekend at an hour when most mechanics were probably closed, in car that was both locked and unlocked like some twisted Schrodinger’s cat experiment I did not choose to be a part of. My first instinct was to ignore the problem and deal with it later, because that’s always my first instinct. But I couldn’t really abandon my car in this state. Someone could break in and steal my collection of CDS from the 90’s! Also, I was really hungry, and I didn’t want to drive to Panera like this.
So do you know what I did? I READ THE MANUAL. I know. Horrors! As someone who works with computers, reading the manual is looked down upon with scorn. It’s like admitting you don’t already know the answers to everything. It’s awful. But I did it. I figured there must be a fuse somewhere that I could yank to disable the power locks, hopefully without disabling everything electrical in my car because I really didn’t want to lose all my radio presets. I was able to locate the fuse box on the passenger’s side of the main console, find the fuse pullers velcroed to the back of the fuse box panel, and I pulled the right fuse (on the second try, sorry, cigarette lighter). And the seizure ended. Yay!
At this point I wanted to give myself a round of applause for exorcising the devil from my car without having to call a priest. There really is something empowering about fixing a problem you’ve never encountered in a field you know next to nothing about, all while listening to a horrible CHUNKA!-CHUNKA!-CHUNKA! sound. I owned that car! Which is only proper, because I actually do own it. Self-reliance is a powerful drug.
Now let me speak the question I’m sure is on your mind, “Jennette, are you still able to unlock your door with your key fob?” The answer is, YES! By some miracle I am still able to unlock the driver’s door with my key fob, though the same can’t be said for the rest of the doors. But who cares about those doors? After I pulled that fuse I was struck with the terror that from now on I might have to unlock my car door WITH A KEY. How awful that would have been! I might as well start getting off the couch to flip through the TV channels.
I should probably take the car to a mechanic to make sure this incident isn’t the first sign that something is wrong with my entire electrical system. Thankfully I can drive there without my car beat-boxing the whole way.
Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says
Too funny! I was confused at first as I thought the title was My CAT tried to eat me. I’m thinking, “Oh, what did Java Bean do now!”
How smart! I bet once you replace the fuse with a new one, the whole thing will be back to its
A cat attempting to eat you is nothing worth blogging about, Debbi. Eventually they will all think about it. It’s the risk we take by allowing small predators in our homes!
I have the opposite problem: I can unlock every door except for the driver’s door. I am a bit disturbed by the fact that your car has bowels, though.
And one should ALWAYS read the documentation. You never know what gems of wisdom might lurk therein. Why, only last week I typed “to enable the feature, click Enable.’ I am sure that these words will someday help a user figure out the UI.
Brittany Marten says
That is amazing. I would have just called my husband and maybe cried and hollered into the phone, “I promise I didn’t do anything to it,” till he come home to solve the problem. I’m such a bad stereotype.
About a year ago, when I was in a parking lot and my electronic key stopped working. I stood outside the car for about a minute and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get into my car ever again, until I remembered that people have actually been using their actual key to manually unlock the doors! How archaic and quaint.
It feels so great to fix a problem yourself! Awesome! All that chunka-chunka knows would have been nerve wracking.
Do take it to the mechanic though. It could very well be the sign of the beginning of computer failure (this happened to me).
Nancy V says
Hey! My trusty older RAV 4 was doing this last winter. Drove me nuts! Instead of getting it checked out though, I traded it in on a whim on Xmas eve! It really was time to trade, but the locks ‘sealed’ the deal. Please post later on what you find out was wrong. I am just curious what makes them go wacky!
Oh jeez. This post brought back all the memories I thought I repressed from my late ’95 Buick LeSabre which I referred to (with all affection of course) as G-ma. Oh G-ma. The fob / power to the locks / some kind of car thing broke in the last months I owned her (not to mention the AC / the tape player [yes, tape player] / cupholder / etc) and I had to MANUALLY unlock my doors every freakin day. So annoying. Here’s a toast to the guy that invented key fobs and that fact that you fixed your car! Badass!
Turns out the switch itself in the driver’s side door was broken. They switched the switch and my car is no longer possessed. Yay!
I am ridiculously impressed that you fixed your own car! I can barely pop the hood open!