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What the FOB?

I love how vehicles are becoming more techie than I will ever be, and as long as everything works, all is well. Unfortunately, last week, I fell victim to technology, and boy, did I learn a lesson. My car, like most new cars, has a FOB (Frequency Operated Button) and a start button instead of a key. This has worked well for the 18 months I have had the vehicle. The FOB has a pin (which is an emergency key) inside it. I have my house keys attached to the pin and quite often leave them in the car. Big mistake! Last Sunday, we ventured out to buy some Christmas goodies. It was pouring and quite cold. After spending 45 minutes or so shopping, we returned to the car outside only to find my FOB did not work and the pin, with my house keys attached, was locked in the car. The rain was pouring down. We decided to grab a coffee and plan the next move. Unfortunately, very little was open on a Sunday morning, and a two-block trek landed me in a convenience store, where the coffee was nice and hot. I called the dealer, fortunately I have his cell, and he said to use the pin in the FOB. I explained it was in the car and there was silence at the other end. A simple, “Oh, that’s a problem,” was his response, and he went on to explain the battery was dead and I needed to bring it in. My next call was to Brian’s Towing, who said they would come out right away. I walked back to the car and was getting pretty wet. Brian’s showed up and opened the car in 30 seconds, without the slightest damage. Unfortunately, none of the electronics work if the FOB doesn’t. This means I was unable to unlock the driver’s door and ended up crawling over the console to press the brake and push the start button. Apparently the FOB is designed to reserve enough power to start the car, after the battery is dead. Needless to say, I was not happy, but I had no one to blame other than myself. When I arrived home, I decided to check YouTube to see if I could replace the battery myself. Interestingly enough it was a simple process, but had to be completed within 30 seconds otherwise the FOB would have to be reset by the dealer. Screwdriver in hand, YouTube on pause and stopwatch ready, I set out to complete the process. 18 seconds and voila! I was pretty proud of myself. Unfortunately, it still did not work and when I looked at the packaging for the battery, I realized it had expired in 2017. Finally, after buying a new battery and going through the replacement process again, the car started, and all was well again. Did I learn a lesson about never removing the pin from the FOB again? You bet I did. Now, where did I put my keys?

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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