I admit it, I had fun writing this headline. That’s because this post is not about understanding new vehicle technology in general – it’s about door locks on my Chevrolet Volt and other new vehicles specifically.
Last night we went to the San Francisco Giants baseball game and parked in a valet parking lot. The attendant told me to leave the key fob remote in the car (so he could park it), which I did. After the game (and a gratifying Giants victory) we returned to the lot – and saw my car up on rollers.
The parking attendant, who three hours earlier had seemed like a nice guy, had grown horns and a tail – he was not happy. As soon as he saw me he accused me of taking the key fob instead of leaving it. Apparently, the attendants were locked out of the car and had to put it up on rollers to move it out of the way – I’m sure that was not a lot of fun for him.
I explained that I’d done just what he told me to – I left the key fob in the car. And I added that I left the car unlocked. He and I had a lot more words for each other, with him threatening to charge me $50 for taking the key fob before I victoriously opened the car and showed him the key fob right in the cupholder.
He finally relented and took the car off the rollers and we left.
So what happened?
My car’s lock technology automatically locks the vehicle after a period of time when I leave the car and take the key fob. But when I’m in the car, the doors do not automatically lock. So my thought was that, by leaving the key fob in the car, the doors would not lock.
But, I guess after some period of time, to save battery life, the fob remote turns itself off. And after it turns off, the car senses that there is no fob in the car and that the doors are not locked, and the car locks itself. That seems to be what the experts are saying.
So, in hindsight, I should have handed my key fob to the attendant and not left it in the vehicle. But the attendant deals with cars, keys, and key fobs every day. Shouldn’t he have asked me to hand him the fob rather than tell me to leave it in the car?
Oh well, live and learn. But it’s another example of how technology is changing the car experience – usually, but not always, for the better.
UPDATE, 6/26/16: Went to another Giants game and parked in the same lot. The very same attendant came over to me – I don’t think he recognized me. Before he had a chance to tell me what to do with the fob, I handed it to him. Problem solved. Well, almost. The Giants lost.