Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Anti-Owner Radio

The hubster decided to bring out more of the Germanic genes from his little girl on Sunday, so after dinner he let her help him wipe down his car windows. I know from a reliable source and a study conducted with my former boss (n=2, so statistically sound results) that Germans have a thing about their cars and washing them. On a Sunday. All that was missing was sauerkraut.

But I shouldn't complain, as they eventually got around to my minivan. Ian pulled out the shop vac and started to attack my vehicle with a vengeance. I was in there re-installing the carseat that we'd taken to Vancouver. I couldn't stand the rough treatment so I decided to vacuum it myself, as Giselle climbed in to wipe down the dashboard dust with an even dirtier cloth. Both vehicles were in tip top shape, mine at least on the inside as we went in for the evening.

Yesterday was a nothing day; I decided to let Liam play with his friends while I puttered around the house a bit, did some vacuuming, finished up the laundry, dishes, surfed the net, blogged in between. I did have some stuff to get at Walmart, but it's so much easier to do without the kids that I decided to wait until after dinner to go out on my own.

As 9 PM rolls around I decide I better go out; hop in the van, turn ignition and NOTHING. Battery dead. As a doornail. I'm annoyed. Ian suggests that I call CAA in the morning and get them to charge it. I say, "no, I need my stuff tonight; besides, we can just charge it with your car". I didn't want to be stuck without a car (although technically I already had been, as the car's battery drained throughout the day). I took his car out for my errands, and when I got home, he hooked the cars up and left the van on the driveway running for me. I thought it was a good idea to take it out for a spin on the highway for a bit, to give the battery more of a charge. Ian suggested I pop by Tim's to get a coffee or tea, and have a leisurely drive. What a great idea!

So excited to have some time with me, myself and I, in the car, with some tunes.... hey, why is my Maroon 5 CD hanging out, and why won't it let me push it back in? What is this four letter word "CODE" flashing at me? I try to turn on the radio - also a no-go. Hurriedly I pull out the owners manual, look in the index and see "radio, anti-theft system". Turning to the page I read ..." state of the art anti-theft system ... blah, blah... should have received a card with the serial number of your radio and the 4-digit code, should your battery ever be disconnected from your radio, blah,blah... If you lose your card, just phone the dealer with the serial number of the radio and you can get your code..."

Oh, other four-letter word.

Couldn't find the card, don't know if we ever had one. It was Ian's company car so we bought it from the leasing company. Uh, and how are you supposed to get the serial number of the INSTALLED radio?!Fat chance of doing anything about it at night.

So for my troubles, I figured I deserved a chocolate-glazed donut along with my coffee. Driving along the highway with the lovely evening in front of my windshield, not a whisper other than the smooth hum of engine, I felt a zen-like quality permeating from within.

Well, thank goodness for Google. Turns out there are message boards galore and hundreds of other disgruntled Honda owners who've experienced the same problem. Advice and experiences ranged from "the dealer will take your radio out for $100, then they'll give you the code" to "check your ashtray, under the trunk, in the fuse box, glove compartment etc... ". Some people have been without a radio/ music for months (well, that's a bit much) but what a headache! I spent a good part of the evening doing my research, found the number and tried it this morning. Eureka, it worked! What a great criminal mind!

Pretty thoughtful of Honda to install such an effective anti-theft device for any owner who wants to steal their own sound system.


BeachMama said...

Argh. Gotta hate those code things on the new cars. Why can't they just make things simple like they used to? Thanks for the tip thought as my sister has the same van, so I will pass along the info just in case her battery ever dies and she finds herself in the same situation.

Yay for the Timmy's drive thru though :)

Cherry said...

As soon as you mentioned "CODE" I knew you had a Honda.
My radio was recalled because it would go into that "CODE" state randomly. I got to know the code very well. But now they replaced the radio and guess what? They didn't give me that little card this time. Lovely!
So how did you go about finding the code?

Karen MEG said...

I looked for a white sticker with a 5 digit code, found it in my glove compartment.
Others have found theirs in trunks, bottom of the ashtray, in the fusebox under the hood. Glad I didn't have to do that.
Apparently you can get the serial number of your radio by pressing the 1 and 6 buttons and then turning on your radio. First four digits come up, then the next 4. You can call your dealer or Honda's customer service line and they can give it to the code based on that and your VIN. Whew!

bec said...

I have gone through this 3 times with mine. Erk. So frustrating!!! Hopefully since we got a new battery (the previous battery was a lemon), we won't go through this again. Luckily I was able to find my access code for the radio...what I wasn't able to find (without finally calling the dealership) was the phone number for roadside assistance!!!

It's a good thing to be forewarned about this "code" business for those who haven't encountered this--just in case. Important to know that in some, maybe all, cases you have a limited amount of chances to enter the code correctly...Before clueing in and bothering to look for the code card, I had entered random numbers. Silly me. Almost locked myself out of my own radio entirely!


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