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Feline-Instigated Auto Locking

2729 Views 16 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  xcel
A useful story...

I've been installing stuff in my '02 (see my Gallery thread), and experienced an unusual if probably predictable problem. According to the users manual, the MDX is designed to prevent lockouts when the key is left in the ignition. But note that there is a difference between 'in the ignition' and 'in the car'!

I had the moonroof tilted back, all other windows closed, and the car unlocked -- due to its location in my garage, I had been opening and closing the doors as I gathered and installed each new toy.

When I was working on my driver's door speaker upgrade, my cat Morton jumped through the open driver's door to 'help'. (For folks who don't have cats, 'helping' usually means hanging out in close proximity, usually by lying down on top of the item on which the most attention is focused , in this case instruction sheets, key tools, or the item to-be-installed.) Morton nosed around a bit, sniffing all of the unfamiliar smells of the new car. He eventually settled down on the floor in the back seat.

Meanwhile, I had taken off the speaker cover, unscrewed the stock Bose speaker, and had just succeeded in gently disconnecting the wire connections when the phone rang. I got up, closed the car door, and answered the phone. The call led to another tangent task, so it was a half hour or so before I returned to the car.

Which was now locked. Morton was on the driver's seat, meowing to get out. I saw that my keychain was on top of the closed cup-holder on the wood-trimmed center console, with the fob's dangerously large lock button face-up.

Now, it's possible that I had unintentionally locked the car in my work on the door speaker. But I'm pretty sure that I didn't. The most likely scenario is that Morton stepped on the key fob and activated the one-click door locks. Folks with cats (or dogs, kids, or even an understanding of Murphy's law) will know that if this action was possible, it happened.

I had only had the 'X for a couple of days. I had not yet gone to AAA to get a plastic wallet-key made for just such an event. My wife was at work, and had not remembered (or been asked) to remove from her purse the three extra keys I had made at the dealership when we picked up the car. Not wanting to disturb my wife at work 45 minutes away, I called AAA, comforted Morton as best I could, and waited.

After about a half hour, the AAA guy showed up and began working energetically with various slim-jim devices. I, meanwhile, assembled one of his tools into a metal rod about 6' long, with plastic-coated ends in an L and a hook shape. This I fed gently down through the tilted moonroof toward my keys. I managed to connect and hook the keys twice, but they slid off the hook on the way up to the moonroof. The second time, they dropped between the seat and the console, nearly invisible and completely irretrievable.

Meanwhile, in his frustration at not being able to hook the latch by sliding implements down along the window, the AAA guy was escalating his tempo and abandoning his restraint. When he began pushing in the rubber gasket at the top of the door, saying 'Oh, these marks will wash off...'', I called a halt and sent him packing.

I then called my wife to apprise her of the situation. While we both knew that Morton would be fine in the car for the few hours until she would return after work, Debbie decided to plead for an early release, which she was granted. A while later, she was home, Morton was released from the car, and I proceeded to salt the spare keys in various useful places.

This morning, I'm going to AAA to get the wallet-key. You might want to do the same.

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Hi Marne,

Good story! I have a rule to myself (too may rules, Uhh. May be it is the software guy thing): when working on the vehicle, always roll down the window first. I have a fair share of lockouts :D
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