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#1
Old 09-02-2013, 09:54 AM
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No mechanical car door key. Battery dead as a doornail. How open door?

This hasn't happened yet, but a friend of mine just bought a 2007 Lincoln Town Car and asked me about this because I work at auto auctions in my semi retirement, and am supposed to be an "expert" on this kind of stuff. Haven't a clue on this one and the owner's manual doesn't address it.

Opening doors is all electronic, no outside insert for a key. Doors can be opened many ways..key fob numerical code on door etc......but no mechanical way to overide it except door handle on inside. Do have ignition and trunk keys.

Friend asked me ....OK battery is dead as a doornail (left lights on or something). All doors are locked. How do you get in the car?

Maybe there is some kind of chip or something that will allow the electronics to work with a dead battery?

Would just remove the neg terminal of the battery and see what happens, but friend doesn't want me to do that.

I'm sure Lincoln wouldn't have such a potentially dangerous thing (suppose a kid was inside?)
#2
Old 09-02-2013, 10:00 AM
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Why don't you call a Lincoln dealer and ask the service department?
#3
Old 09-02-2013, 10:03 AM
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if a kid is inside and can't open it from inside, you break a window.
#4
Old 09-02-2013, 10:04 AM
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Is there a mechanical lock for the boot (trunk)? Some BMWs have the same problem and the cure is to open the boot and apply 12 volts to the terminals in the interior light. That gives enough power to operate the door locks.

http://automotiveforums.com/t396...oors_open.html

Last edited by bob++; 09-02-2013 at 10:05 AM.
#5
Old 09-02-2013, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
Is there a mechanical lock for the boot (trunk)? Some BMWs have the same problem and the cure is to open the boot and apply 12 volts to the terminals in the interior light. That gives enough power to operate the door locks.

http://automotiveforums.com/t396...oors_open.html
That would work because there is a mechanical key for the trunk.....would have to cut into some wires and have to be on a constant on circuit in order to back feed to the door electronics.

Still think if I disconnect the neg terminal, will find that the door electronics still work due to some kind of microchip. Maybe can talk friend into letting me try that.

It is hard to actually talk to a mechanic at a dealership and the salesmen will tell you the first thing that pops into their minds.
#6
Old 09-02-2013, 10:24 AM
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If you follow the link - you will see that finding and using the terminals in the light fitting will avoid any cutting.
#7
Old 09-02-2013, 10:34 AM
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I'm not a car guy..but I am an embedded systems guy.
Having a separate microchip to control the locks doesn't remove the need for power. If the battery is well and truly dead, it won't help.

It is possible, however, that a severely depleted battery would provide enough power to run such a microchip, but not do anything else useful. The lock almost definitely needs more power to actually move it - magnet, motor, etc.
#8
Old 09-02-2013, 10:37 AM
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If you can get to the battery terminals, what's stopping you from jacking in a new battery through jumper cables and opening the door however it needs to be opened?
#9
Old 09-02-2013, 10:47 AM
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On my kids 1997 LTC the hood is a mechanical latch. If it's the same on a 2007 LTC simply pop the hood and give the battery juice. The electronic keypad next to the key will then operate. You can also use a slim jim to pop the lock.

Last edited by astro; 09-02-2013 at 10:48 AM.
#10
Old 09-02-2013, 11:04 AM
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The guy bought a $40,000 book, and threw in a free car and he never opened the book. ( the book in question is the owners manual. RTFB)
Anyway every proximity key car I have ever seen has a keyway somewhere to get in. Usually in the drivers door. Sometimes the keyway is covered by a plastic cover.
The remote has the key that will open this door. Usually it is part of the remote typically the metal part where you attach it to you key ring. Look for a small push button or slide switch.
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#11
Old 09-02-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
The guy bought a $40,000 book, and threw in a free car and he never opened the book. ( the book in question is the owners manual. RTFB)
Anyway every proximity key car I have ever seen has a keyway somewhere to get in. Usually in the drivers door. Sometimes the keyway is covered by a plastic cover.
The remote has the key that will open this door. Usually it is part of the remote typically the metal part where you attach it to you key ring. Look for a small push button or slide switch.
I agree with all of this, Rick - and BTW, does "5150" mean anything to ya? - but if the vehicle battery is dead, no proximity override is going to do much good.
#12
Old 09-02-2013, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
If you can get to the battery terminals, what's stopping you from jacking in a new battery through jumper cables and opening the door however it needs to be opened?
Hood release is inside car. My old 72 Dart wasn't like that but times have changed.

Only way to get to power is through trunk and inside light. That would work
#13
Old 09-02-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
The guy bought a $40,000 book, and threw in a free car and he never opened the book. ( the book in question is the owners manual. RTFB)
Anyway every proximity key car I have ever seen has a keyway somewhere to get in. Usually in the drivers door. Sometimes the keyway is covered by a plastic cover.
The remote has the key that will open this door. Usually it is part of the remote typically the metal part where you attach it to you key ring. Look for a small push button or slide switch.
Nothing on drivers door. Looked for that key on fob like Mercedes and I think BMW has. Not there on Lincoln.
#14
Old 09-02-2013, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital is the new Analog View Post
I'm not a car guy..but I am an embedded systems guy.
Having a separate microchip to control the locks doesn't remove the need for power. If the battery is well and truly dead, it won't help.

It is possible, however, that a severely depleted battery would provide enough power to run such a microchip, but not do anything else useful. The lock almost definitely needs more power to actually move it - magnet, motor, etc.
I doubted a microchip would have enough power. I know it is enough to retain an odometer reading, but that would take very little power.
#15
Old 09-02-2013, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for all the replies and sorry for my stupidity. I had another chance to look at my friend's car and there is a place for a mechanical key in the driver's door handle.

Don't know how I missed that the first time I looked at it.
#16
Old 09-02-2013, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
Thanks for all the replies and sorry for my stupidity. I had another chance to look at my friend's car and there is a place for a mechanical key in the driver's door handle.

Don't know how I missed that the first time I looked at it.
Told ya.
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#17
Old 09-02-2013, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
I agree with all of this, Rick - and BTW, does "5150" mean anything to ya? - but if the vehicle battery is dead, no proximity override is going to do much good.
Sure does. I deal with them daily.
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#18
Old 09-02-2013, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Sure does. I deal with them daily.
Maybe we're talking across the point - if you mean a mechanical override key, sure. But any kind of proximity override requiring power in the vehicle, nope. Your post wasn't clear which one you meant.
#19
Old 09-02-2013, 11:55 AM
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Rick: Are you thinking of the 5150 police code? 'Cause that's what it means to me.
#20
Old 09-02-2013, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital is the new Analog View Post
I'm not a car guy..but I am an embedded systems guy...
Good pick-up line.
#21
Old 09-02-2013, 01:21 PM
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Rick, see PM if you have a minute.
#22
Old 09-02-2013, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Rick: Are you thinking of the 5150 police code? 'Cause that's what it means to me.
5150 a danger to themselves or others. You would be amazed at the stupidity of some drivers.
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#23
Old 09-02-2013, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
if a kid is inside and can't open it from inside, you break a window.
Using, as your tool, the head of the dealer who sold you this car. Or your own head, for being stupid enough to buy such a car. (If, in fact, breaking a window is what it takes.) Or the head of the engineers who designed such a car.

I've wondered similar things myself, and I would hesitate to buy a newer car without checking out questions like this. (And, I admit I haven't read all the posts in this thread yet to see if there's actually an answer.) But I've certainly read plenty of horror stories of various sorts related to these electronic access systems.

Okay, now I'll read this thread.
#24
Old 09-02-2013, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Using, as your tool, the head of the dealer who sold you this car. Or your own head, for being stupid enough to buy such a car. (If, in fact, breaking a window is what it takes.) Or the head of the engineers who designed such a car.

I've wondered similar things myself, and I would hesitate to buy a newer car without checking out questions like this. (And, I admit I haven't read all the posts in this thread yet to see if there's actually an answer.) But I've certainly read plenty of horror stories of various sorts related to these electronic access systems.

Okay, now I'll read this thread.
Before you go for the head of the dealer, how about you fire up that third brain cell and THINK for about 10 seconds and you will realize just how stupid and far fetched this scenario is.
First off you are telling me that the battery was fine and unlocked the car just fine, you put the kid in the car closed the door and the battery had plenty of power to re-lock the car (at this point regardless of anything else you are no longer in the running for parent of the year) and then magically instantly the battery goes dead? I have never seen this in over 40 years in the auto repair business. In other words not gonna happen.
Next assuming the child isn't an infant how about you ask them to pull the inner door handle and umm open the door? Boy that was tough.
Fact is you are far more likely to lock your traditional key in the car than you are to lock a proximity key in the car.

Like I said 5150.
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#25
Old 09-02-2013, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
I doubted a microchip would have enough power. I know it is enough to retain an odometer reading, but that would take very little power.
You're still mixing the controller and the power source. The typical use of the word microchip has absolutely no power. It needs power from something else - a battery of some sort in this case - so it can think. It's job is to take inputs to react to the outside world - a key turn, an RF signal of a key nearby - and drive outputs to cause something to happen - turn a motor on to mechanically unlock the door.

Think of it this way. Take your standard digital watch. Take the battery out. It still have a microchip in it, but it isn't telling time anymore because it has no power.

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Good pick-up line.
You'd think so, right? Been using it for years, and still single!


#26
Old 09-02-2013, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
It is hard to actually talk to a mechanic at a dealership and the salesmen will tell you the first thing that pops into their minds.
I see you've fixed the problem, but this response is just nonsense.
#27
Old 09-03-2013, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
It is hard to actually talk to a mechanic at a dealership and the salesmen will tell you the first thing that pops into their minds.
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
I see you've fixed the problem, but this response is just nonsense.
Maybe where you live, But for those of us in the rest of the USA, Salesmen will say ANYTHING.

In my experience, service managers will seldom let you talk to an actual mechanic. The service manager may or may not be a mechanic. Is there grease under his/her fingernails? If not they are probably not real a mechanic.
#28
Old 09-03-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 48Willys View Post
Maybe where you live, But for those of us in the rest of the USA, Salesmen will say ANYTHING.

In my experience, service managers will seldom let you talk to an actual mechanic. The service manager may or may not be a mechanic. Is there grease under his/her fingernails? If not they are probably not real a mechanic.
There is a very valid reason for that. I pay my technicians to repair cars not answer questions. Answering question for people that are too lazy to RTFM belongs to (pick one) the salesman, service advisor or me the service manager.
FTR even my dumbest salesman knows the answer to this question.
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#29
Old 09-03-2013, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital is the new Analog View Post
You're still mixing the controller and the power source. The typical use of the word microchip has absolutely no power. It needs power from something else - a battery of some sort in this case - so it can think. It's job is to take inputs to react to the outside world - a key turn, an RF signal of a key nearby - and drive outputs to cause something to happen - turn a motor on to mechanically unlock the door.

Think of it this way. Take your standard digital watch. Take the battery out. It still have a microchip in it, but it isn't telling time anymore because it has no power.



You'd think so, right? Been using it for years, and still single!


Now I am real confused..

So how does a digital odometer keep its memory for days weeks or months (maybe years) with a dead or disconnected battery? I figured it was some kind of micro chip.

If not that, what?
#30
Old 09-03-2013, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
FTR even my dumbest salesman knows the answer to this question.
This reminds me of a story I heard once:

Some guy was giving Charlie Watts the business and Mick says, "Hey! Leave my drummer alone!"

Charlie shoots back with, "I'm not his drummer! He's my singer!"
#31
Old 09-03-2013, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Using, as your tool, the head of the dealer who sold you this car. Or your own head, for being stupid enough to buy such a car. (If, in fact, breaking a window is what it takes.) Or the head of the engineers who designed such a car.

I've wondered similar things myself, and I would hesitate to buy a newer car without checking out questions like this. (And, I admit I haven't read all the posts in this thread yet to see if there's actually an answer.) But I've certainly read plenty of horror stories of various sorts related to these electronic access systems.

Okay, now I'll read this thread.
Well it doesn't pertain to the Lincoln I was posting about....that was just not paying enough attention on my part the first time I looked at it. My bad

It does seem to pertain to some BMW's with battery under hood and no mechanical way to open a locked car door (except for opening the trunk, tapping into the trunk light with a portable jump box or jumper cable)

I was wrong about Lincoln but what was BMW thinking?
#32
Old 09-03-2013, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
Now I am real confused..

So how does a digital odometer keep its memory for days weeks or months (maybe years) with a dead or disconnected battery? I figured it was some kind of micro chip.

If not that, what?
You can store information in memory, like your camera stores images on the memory card. That requires no power and will last effectively as long as we want to store information. But it doesn't store power and it can't do any work.

If you want power to do work (such as open a door lock) you'll need either a capacitor or battery in the system.
#33
Old 09-03-2013, 04:29 PM
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Makes more sense now Thanks.
#34
Old 09-03-2013, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
Makes more sense now Thanks.
Come to think of it although most of my electronic stuff wii lose their memory if power goes out and no back up battery.....

But my DVR will keep all of its memory if power goes out. A lot of memory there too and no back up battery.
#35
Old 09-03-2013, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
It does seem to pertain to some BMW's with battery under hood and no mechanical way to open a locked car door (except for opening the trunk, tapping into the trunk light with a portable jump box or jumper cable)
A quick search online shows that there is a mechanical way to open the locks using the key when the battery is dead, but it's just not very well known. Or the mechanical key mechanism is in a poor state from not being used. I haven't looked at the newest models but all the ones I've seen with a quick search online have a physical key as well as keyless entry. Can you show an image of a BMW with no physical key?
#36
Old 09-03-2013, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
But my DVR will keep all of its memory if power goes out. A lot of memory there too and no back up battery.
Your DVR is saving to a hard disk drive or solid state memory which don't require power for long term storage. There are other forms of volatile memory which get reset when they lose power but are more suited for some applications.
#37
Old 09-03-2013, 04:55 PM
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IIRC from my 2005 Corvette, there is a cable in the trunk (not exactly a trunk, since it was the coupe model, so more like a hatchback) that you could pull that would unlock the driver door. Not an electrical cable, a hardwired heavy-duty cable.

The '05 had a "feature" where if you didn't leave it in reverse (stick shift), the dash stayed illuminated. I drained my battery three times over my 2-year ownership.
#38
Old 09-03-2013, 05:02 PM
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I once parked my car next to a curb that was so high I couldn't open my door, so I had to climb out the passenger's door. It was only after I returned to the car that I realized there was no keyhole in the passenger door, and my power locks didn't work. D'oh!

Luckily I was able to get the driver's door open 3-4 inches and use an umbrella to manually unlock the passenger door.
#39
Old 09-03-2013, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
A quick search online shows that there is a mechanical way to open the locks using the key when the battery is dead, but it's just not very well known. Or the mechanical key mechanism is in a poor state from not being used. I haven't looked at the newest models but all the ones I've seen with a quick search online have a physical key as well as keyless entry. Can you show an image of a BMW with no physical key?
It wasn't me. I got it from a link on post #4. Just trusted that link was being accurate about BMW's
#40
Old 09-03-2013, 06:19 PM
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I was wrong about Lincoln but what was BMW thinking?
Whatever BMW was thinking is magnitudes better than Lincoln. Best damn cars I've ever owned.
#41
Old 09-03-2013, 06:26 PM
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Well it does seem from the link that it was just one model year--1988 actually so I guess BMW fixed that screw up pretty quickly.
#42
Old 09-03-2013, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
It wasn't me. I got it from a link on post #4. Just trusted that link was being accurate about BMW's
That link talks about inserting the key and turning in the lock. The problem is the lock mechanism isn't working. I don't think anyone recently has made a car without a physical key.
#43
Old 09-03-2013, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Before you go for the head of the dealer, how about you fire up that third brain cell and THINK for about 10 seconds and you will realize just how stupid and far fetched this scenario is.
First off you are telling me that the battery was fine and unlocked the car just fine, you put the kid in the car closed the door and the battery had plenty of power to re-lock the car (at this point regardless of anything else you are no longer in the running for parent of the year) and then magically instantly the battery goes dead? I have never seen this in over 40 years in the auto repair business. In other words not gonna happen.
Next assuming the child isn't an infant how about you ask them to pull the inner door handle and umm open the door? Boy that was tough.
Fact is you are far more likely to lock your traditional key in the car than you are to lock a proximity key in the car.

Like I said 5150.
I can't find any google reference to it now (too many infants in cars stories are drowning it out ) but wasn't there a case a couple of years ago where the parents left their ten-year-old or so son sleeping in the car overnight ... and when he woke up he couldn't get the door open because there was no mechanism to open a locked door from the inside?
#44
Old 09-04-2013, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
I can't find any google reference to it now (too many infants in cars stories are drowning it out ) but wasn't there a case a couple of years ago where the parents left their ten-year-old or so son sleeping in the car overnight ... and when he woke up he couldn't get the door open because there was no mechanism to open a locked door from the inside?
When I was a truck driver working for an agency I got to drive a lot of old trucks as well as some nice new ones. One day I jumped into a tractor unit and hooked up a trailer. When I went to get out, the handle on the inside of the door didn't work. Ok, wind the window down...

No handle - electric windows that didn't work. So use the passenger door... There was no handle at all on that side, I assume someone had cannibalised it to attempt a repair to the driver's door.

I was at the far side of a large trailer park and no one in sight, so I phoned my agency (at 6am...) and they phoned the firm to come and rescue me. "Just keep the window open," the guy said. I took my bag and walked off the site
#45
Old 09-04-2013, 04:20 AM
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That happens at auto auctions a lot with some of the old clunkers we see. Toyotas especially have a bad habit of the interior door handles breaking off...cheap plastic or something. Have never understood why Toyota has never really fixed that problem as they are known for quality.

Anyway some guys have come close to dying because of that. Get in car to start it. Close door. Fond the car has a dead battery. Try and open the door to find a jump box. Both inside door handles are broken off. Power windows don't work because battery dead. Can't sound horn because battery is dead. It is middle of July and temps in mid 90's. You start screaming for help because you know you only have a few minutes to live. In my case somebody has always walked by close enough to hear my screams and open door from outside.

I keep thinking I should always have something in my pocket to break a car window because of those stupid Toyotas. Quality my ass.
#46
Old 09-04-2013, 09:15 AM
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Umm, how about you start the car up before you close the door? Or is that too easy of a solution?
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#47
Old 09-04-2013, 10:23 AM
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True enough. Should leave any car door open til you find out if is a jump too. I always also write JUMP on the drivers side window on any cars I find to be jumps. Many workers don't though and many dealers get irate if anything is written on a window.

I also always write no power steering, brakes weak, 2 footer, wasps and/or roaches in car, key problem, security problem (and how to override), car has super high idle, car surges, very low on gas, tranny probs, anything I can think of for any car I get into...to help the next fellow out.

I have gotten into trouble for doing that. I don't care. I do it anyway and haven't got fired yet. Kind of silly anyway. I know dealers don't like negatives written on the windows of their cars. But the driver's window is DOWN when driven thru the auction so nobody sees what I wrote there. After the car is sold, it is good thing for the buyer to know. He's going to find these things out soon anyway.

So many cars are iffy as far as being jumps when you get inside to start them. And speed in moving cars is paramount on days when you are setting up for the next sale. Work too slow and you're out of a job.

So you get on a hurry and forget stuff, which could be deadly. I really should keep one of those window shatterers in my pocket though.
#48
Old 09-04-2013, 10:35 AM
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Auto auctions all emphasize safety of course. But they can be pretty callous.

I remember one time a dealer had a heart attack and died in the middle of an auction. Did the auction stop? No way ...car auctions don't stop for anything almost.

Drivers just drove around the body ...and later on the ambulance and the body.

I am high jacking my own thread it seems. If mods don't like it, tell me and I'll stop.
#49
Old 09-04-2013, 03:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 754
Quote:
Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
Anyway some guys have come close to dying because of that. Get in car to start it. Close door. Fond the car has a dead battery. Try and open the door to find a jump box. Both inside door handles are broken off. Power windows don't work because battery dead. Can't sound horn because battery is dead. It is middle of July and temps in mid 90's. You start screaming for help because you know you only have a few minutes to live. In my case somebody has always walked by close enough to hear my screams and open door from outside.
A few minutes to live? Maybe if you're an infant. I'm sure it would be uncomfortable, and you would certainly want out before long, but I don't think it's immediately life-threatening.

I've personally driven a beater car where the power windows broke and the blower motor didn't work for a time, and in the middle of summer (temps as described above), I regularly drove it back and forth to work. It was hot in the car, but I never came close to dying...
#50
Old 09-04-2013, 06:08 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Umm, how about you start the car up before you close the door? Or is that too easy of a solution?
Sorry Rick.. Am responding to a different post than yours. Don't know how to change that now. But there is a specific post I am responding to about heat In cars being killers.

I'm not sure if you are comparing apples to oranges. In Florida in the mid summer months the temps can get in the low 90's with super high humidity. So you can sweat all you want and doesn't do anything but make you sticky and miserable.

You can't touch an ignition key without burning your fingers without gloves. You can't touch the steering wheel without burning your hands without gloves. If you are wearing shorts, which all of us do, you burn the inside of your thighs on leather.

I don't use gloves because I lose sensitivity so I very quickly turn the ignition key and let go. I steer by touching and releasing the steering wheel quickly over and over again. Probably should give it up and wear gloves like most others do. I suffer with the burnt inner thighs...part of the job and I like shorts.

Used to work AC/refrig before my retirement and crawled through many super hot attics and came close to passing out many times.

A closed up car especially with black upholstery sitting for hours in the low 90's outside temps in Florida is worse than any attic I ever crawled through as far as heat. Been there done that and cars at auto auctions can be killers. And very quick killers. Once you have passed out, you are a goner unless someone happens by to rescue you.

Last edited by ombre12; 09-04-2013 at 06:08 PM.
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