This Saturday, whilst returning from Alton Towers with the family, something very weird happened at Warwick Service station on the M40 (South).
We parked the car up and went in for a short break for a cuppa tea etc. On the way in, I noticed a number of car alarms going off in the car park - which always worries me as Motorway service stations are notorious for break-ins here in the UK. Anyway, nothing seemed overly amis so we went in for our break.
Whilst sitting in the services having our cuppa, a bloke comes up to me out of the blue, and asks 'do I own a Rover?', no I say, I've got a Mini - and I see he's holding a set of keys. "have you found someone's key's?" I ask - "no" he says, "my alarm clicker battery has gone flat - and I can't get into my car...." - nightmare.
So, I can't help him, and off he walks to ask other people if they have the same clicker for their car (he evidently wanted to borrow their battery so that he could disable his alarm system)....
Anyway, I go back out to the car (noticing another couple of car alarms going off....) and guess what? - yep, my own remote unlocking fails to open the car.... flat battery in my key? Guess I'll try the back up option - I also have a Clifford system with a keyfob which will open the car - and yes, your right, thats 'flat' too....
So I open the car with my key (setting off the alarm - just like the other people in the car park), immidiatly thinking of course that somehow the battery has drained on both the key and the remote fob....
Which obviously, in hindsight, isn't correct. Something must have been blocking/jamming the keyfob signals.... makes you wonder if the criminal element have some kind of system that prevents people from locking/unlocking their car properly - thus allowing them to rob cars that have inadvertantly been left unlocked....
Anyone else experience this...? Any other thoughts as to what was happening...?
It has never personally happened to me, allthough I have read about similar 'jamming' instances before.
I'm not sure average criminals are that advanced, allthough professional car thiefs may have such devices.
I would put it more down to a wierd electrical field/current near to the service station. Maybes the recent humid weather has created a static current around that area, or thier is a electrical generator near by.
Well there are always 'susposious' people at the motorway services.... but nothing overly unusual.
It wasn't hot or humid at the time, no 'electrical storm' type events. Its also a large car park and there seemed to be car alarms going off accross it - not like we were parked under the automatic door sensors or anything.
The feeling that I got that no one was trying to 'copy' a code, but rather someone was 'flooding' the frequencies so that the car simply remaind unlocked when you pointed a plipper at it as you walked away (I'm careful to see that the car is always positivly locked - but how many people press the button as they are walking away and not actually double checking its locking properly...)
plus of course, if you've got car alarms constantly going off, the real attempt to steal from a car could well go un-noticed.
Could be a perfectly simple and innocent explanation. Could equally be something 'new' and sinister going on....
All sounds very odd! My MCS remote suddenly wouldn't owrk the other week. I had popped into see my brother on the way to my parents house - had just done 65 miles on the motorway so key was "charged" - and went in for a coffee, left keys in my handbag. Came out and the car wouldn't unlock. Had to unlock the car manually and set the alarm off. No reason for my keys not to have worked as the button ahdn't been pressed to put it out of synch with the car. Not happened since but did think it was odd at the sime.
I wonder if there was an electricity pylon or something like that that could interfere with the remote locsk near that service station - not techie enough to know how they work so this could be a total improbability!
That's how they work - they use these devices at the same time as you're holding down the plip to read the code. The frequencies are emitted at different levels in order to find one that locks on to someones remote. On modern cars they wouldn't be that successful but on older ones they would be able to do it.
There was an old trick that I believe started out in Essex a few years back where thieves targeted cars in pub carparks. They would set off the alarm 3 or 4 times and after the owner either refused to go back again thinking it was a false alarm, or switched off the alarm thinking it was faulty, they would wait until it was all clear to break into/steal the cars.
Only thing I can think of is a Radar Jammer in someones car is blocking the signals to open the doors, in the Gumball 2005 someone had so many electrcal jamming gizmos that when he pulled into a service station the automatic flushing toilets wouldent flush
Don't know about the car alarm parts, but my brothers drive has some sort of dampening field on it. There hasn't been a car parked in his drive that hasn't suffered from being unable to open using the remote. He has has Wi-Fi and TV signal broadcast boxes so we've always assumed it's some sort of interference from those. Its a real PITA walking around the car trying the key over and over to see IF it will unlock the car.
Also has this happen once in a busy Shell garage in Northampton a couple of years ago. Locked it when going in to pay and spent a few frantic minutes trying to unlock it again using the remote.
Perhaps the alarms were going off as people opened up their cars manually using the keys?
Although this has never happened to me in my mini - it used to happen all the time in my old Golf and it drove me potty. Would fill up with petrol, lock the car with the remote to go pay and then when I came back couldn't unlock or deactivate the immobiliser.
Got stuck many many times - v. embarassing!
Once called out the AA and the bloke told me that this often happened with certain makes of car at services and was caused by MOBILE PHONE TRANSMITTERS often hidden in forecourt signs.
To get round it i now just lock with the key at services but if it happens to u just get in if you can and then try and push the car away from the forecourt to another area and try again.
Pain in the **** tho!!
The biggest cause of this is the new police digital radio system - their transmitters block most remote controls & is a major cause of problems at the moment. We get dozens of calls from the same car park in Ainsdale - only since the police transsmitter was put up
The frequencies sold off by the government were too close together
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