This wasn’t a job went top where Toplock was called out to help…. This was more a case of the job itself calling out to us. One of the Toplock guys heard a car alarm going off near his home in Carlton and he did what most people do when they hear a car alarm. He ignored it. It only went off for a few minutes and then stopped and it wasn’t even particularly loud. He assumed someone had accidentally set off their own car alarm and then turn it off.
Over the next few days though… he heard what appeared to be the same car alarm going off over and over. Sometimes during the day. Sometimes in the middle of the night. He also heard quite a lot of choice use of language -some combinations of words that he’d actually never heard before. Clearly this car alarm was causing some people a fair amount of distress. So the next time it went off he went to investigate.
He followed the sound of the noise and was soon standing beside an older model VW Golf – it was maybe 15 years old. Just as he peaked in the window the alarm turned off and he looked up to see a young lady walking over looking rather harried. He introduced himself and asked if she was having a problem with the car to which she answered yes, her car alarm kept going off a few minutes after she got out of it, even though she was sure she was turning it off. Thee auto electrician had not been able to easily find the problem and was quoting around $700 to troubleshoot and fix it. She didn’t have the money and didn’t know what to do. As she was explaining all this to me a neighbourly gent opened his window and yelled out if the car alarm kept going off he was going to blow it up. (the car)
Now none of us at TopLock are auto electricians but we see problems similar to this all the time and there is one thing we do know. Car alarms are connected to the battery so my guy got the young ladyto pop the bonnet and showed how to easily uncouple one of the battery connections to prevent the alarm going off. Okay – this was not a long-term fix a starting the car required reconnecting the battery and her interior clock was never going to tell the right time but at least now it was going to prevent a car fire.
Next, my guy said he would see if he could Google the problems because there is quite often a solution to these quirky problems online. Turns out he was right the exact problem was detailed in a VW enthusiasts forum – the problem goes like this.
- VW’s have a computer that connects to the car alarm and all the door sensors.
- When the car is unlocked the computer records which doors are opened or closed.
- Faulty senses are often the cause of strange behaviour from the car alarm.
- One of the safety features of the VW is a system to remind the driver if they have locked a child in the car accidentally to prevent the child dying as a result of overheating ( in Australia) or freezing (in Europe). If the VW computer records the back door was opened indicating a child got in the back…. if the driver exits the car and locks it without opening one of the back doors – the car alarm will go off to warn the driver they may have left a child in the car.
- Quite often a faulty sensor sends a message to the computer that the back door has been opened even if it hasn’t so the computer thinks there is someone in the back seat who has not exited the car every time the car stops.
The solution? All the young lady had to do to prevent the problem was to get out of the car, open and close the back left passenger door and then lock the car. A bit of a nuisance but a nuisance that saved her $700.
We didn’t bill her for our time because strictly speaking we weren’t taking part in a paid job but it sure gave us a fun story to write about.
Have you ever had a similar quirky problem with your central locking or car alarm? If so we’d love to hear from you, use the contact form on this website to let me know how it went down to you.