I AM FLATTENING the charge on our two electronic key fobs because I have seen cars lock themselves when the fobs are totally charged. Although I have never experienced this problem, I watched a 2005 VW Passat lock itself on the main street of my town today. The problem got complicated because a three-month-old child was strapped in the back of the car. It got more complicated when the distraught mom did not have a spare set of keys anywhere on the continent. And then matters got as bad as they could when the local locksmith was more than 50 miles away at a wedding. A local policeman could not smash the driver's window with his baton. A friendly handyman offered a claw hammer and within five whacks, the street was filled with fresh glass shards. This is not an unusual occurrence.
People forget things when interrupted, so it's relatively easy to lock your keys inside your car when distracted. It's also easy to forget your keys or to forget your combination keystrokes. Shortly after arriving in Ireland, I sat inside a BMW 750 valued at more than 100,000 Irish punts with its 5.4 litre V-12 locked down because the owner could not remember the combination that unlocked the ignition. In 1999, I heard the spanner brothers on the radio talking about how to prevent an auto-locking car. They suggested defeating the electronic locking system but maintaining the vacuum locking mechanism.
Owners of Chrysler Voyagers report that their doors lock automatically after a few minutes if keys are left in the ignition. That feature prevents the car from being driven away by someone other than the owner.
Keys of the Nissan Versa can be programmed with a time delay to lock down the doors within a few minutes of them being unlocked. Many new cars lock their doors within a few minutes of driving away from a full stop.
A local boy racer has a Toyota sport car that locks itself when he walks away from it. This happens even when he is standing next to it, with the key inside the car or inside his pocket.
Many auto parts stores sell small keyholders that attach to the bodies of cars where you can hide an extra key inside. That little practise might have saved a EUR 400 window replacement along with the distress I saw this this afternoon by an upset mom today.