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Being locked out: A key issue

2013-08-16 07:10

HELP! I NEED ONE OF THOSE: The AA reports that the most common failures of modern car keys are damage, mishandling and flat batteries. Treat your key fob as you would an iphone…Image: AFP

Being locked out of a vehicle is frustrating, time-consuming and generally avoidable. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) reminds drivers to take care of their car keys.

The AA’s head of Public Affairs, Gary Ronald, said:  “Key problems are a fairly common factor in AA callouts about one in 20 AA members called us with a key issue in 2012 and about 80% of the calls were to report being locked out of the vehicle.”

Ronald added the South African experience was by no means unique and reports that the American Automobile Association assisted four-million drivers who had been locked out of their vehicles in 2012, reports Fleet magazine.

LEAVING DRIVERS STRANDED

Older vehicles with traditional locks tend to be more prone to drivers accidentally locking their keys in the passenger compartment or boot.

Modern vehicles fitted with remote boot releases can still lead to accidental lockouts if the driver has opened only the boot without unlocking the doors… and leaving the key in the boot.

Alarmingly, there is an increasing number of electronic keys failing, leaving drivers stranded. Manufacturing defects in keys are uncommon and according to the AA, the majority of failures are due to damage, mishandling or flat batteries.

Ronald said that electronic keys are sensitive to moisture, dust and temperature extremes and that replacements can sometimes cost thousands of Rands, reports Fleet magazine.

‘THINK OF A KEY AS YOU WOULD AN iPOD’

Ronald said: “Think of a modern car key the way you'd think of an iPod. You would make sure you did not drop it or put heavy items on it, you would keep it in a safe place and you might even put it in a pouch to protect it. You definitely would not risk dropping it in a puddle or leaving it somewhere where liquids could be spilled on it.”

“Some keys have rechargeable batteries which are charged while the key is inserted in the key slot or ignition switch. Remember to charge the spare key for such vehicles by using it once in a while; otherwise it might not work when you need it most.”

Subscribe to Fleet Magazine. Email your details to colin@autonews.co.za. Subs: R250 pa

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