back to article Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

Cheep-cheep-cheep. I'll try again. Cheep-cheep-cheep. Nope, that didn't work, how about this? Cheep-cheep-cheep. Or… this? Cheep-cheep-cheep. Come on, lock up, you bastard car. Cheep-cheep-cheep. I cut a frustrated figure as I skirted around the bright red vehicle I had rented just 45 minutes earlier at an airport desk …

Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

I don't mind the evil-crustacean look that's all the rage for cars at the moment. In terms of physical design, my only problem with the Juke was that the seat feels very low for a short-arse such as myself. When turning left or right at a junction, the opposite wing mirror obscured the view of the road in that direction, and I'd have to ask Mrs Dabbsy to tell me whether any traffic was coming.

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

>> My Juke is beautiful inside and out

You're welcome to your opinion, but I'm afraid the styling of your car has a decidedly Marmite effect on people. Only difference is that I don't make Marmite haters watch when I eat a slice of toast...

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

"... Or, perhaps even worse, a Micra 4x4."

Anyone remember the original Fiat Panda 4x4?

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

I'd have to ask Mrs Dabbsy to tell me whether any traffic was coming.

One of the friends of my youth was out with his missus in the car.

"Are there any cars coming?" quoth he

"No" she riposted. At which point he started to pull out into the road.. Only to slam the brakes on hard when a second or so later she added "but the is a large truck..".

Apparently it missed the nose of the car by inches. It made him more aware of the phrasing of his questions..

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

Anyone remember the original Fiat Panda 4x4?

That's actually an epic little car, they still use them in Italian and French ski resorts as police cars, very light and nimble and 4wd enough to handle the tracks and snow,

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

Drove one as a hire car. I can honestly say it's the only car I've ever driven that was as ugly from the inside as outside.

Shame as it was a very good vehicle otherwise.

You have not encountered a Pontiac Aztek or a Citroen 2CV. The Aztek won prizes for being the ugliest thing on the road in North America. The Citroen Two Horses was, back when I was in high school and first encountered the SI system of measurement, considered by my fellow students to be the official SI unit of ugliness. One citroen was considered to be the inverse of one helen, where one helen was sufficient to launch a thousand ships. One citroen would sink a thousand ships. An Aztek was, perhaps, 900 millicitroen, as the designers at GM weren't French and couldn't quite achieve that last little bit of True Ugly. This Nissan might make it all the way to 950 millicitroen.

Perhaps the citroen should be added to El Reg's official standards.

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Happy

Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

I had a Juke as a rental. The employees at the rental company referred to it as "the Frog".

Despite the ugliness it drove well enough. One peeve though was even with the seat all the way back, my knees were still bent driving it, and I don't have very long legs.

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

The guides (or park rangers or whatever they are) use them going up and down Vesuvius.

(Just the outside though)

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

I have to say though that the 2CV inspired one of the best ever Ads for a car I can recall seeing...

They compared the 2CV with a number of higher priced cars (OK, don't think there were any lower-priced)

'As many wheels as a Rolls Royce'

'Faster than a speeding Ferrari (a Ferrari travelling at 45mph in a 30mph limit can be overtaked by a 2CV flat-out at 56mph)'

and so on

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

@Swiss Anton

Anyone remember the original Fiat Panda 4x4?

I spent some time under one this afternoon removing the prop shaft. In the process of restoring one. It's somewhat rusty...

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Re: You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

I can't see what all the fuss is about. It's a car. I have googled images of the Nissan Juke and, as far as I can gather, it has four wheels, an engine and brakes so it will take you where you want to go and stop when you get there. What more do you need?

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Unhappy

In the end, I download a Juke manual that turns out to be 4,000 pages long

If it's anything like the Honda manuals the first 3,900 pages will be safety advice and warnings. The last 100 will be largely fine apart from the 90 describing the infotainment unit which will:

* Make little to no sense most of the time.

* Describe features that either don't actually exist or don't work.

* Mix three different models of unit together so that you're never sure if you have the model being described.

Honda clearly have a thing about safety. Every time you start off you're invited to click 'Ok' to a message on the infotainment unit confirming that you are responsible if something goes wrong. If you ignore it the whole screen goes black. That would be fine except it's almost the only place the clock is visible(*). And it is still visible. Barely. Very dimly in the top right so that you can only see it at night. WTF kind of moronic software developer did that?

(*)The other place is the dashboard console if you disable cruise control. And why would anyone do that? Why does CC need 'off' and also 'disable', eh? Honda?

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'Ok' to a message on the infotainment unit confirming that you are responsible if something goes wrong.

Lord yes. Our new Fiat turbo, an otherwise delightful car, has the same thing.

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kind of moronic software developer did that?

One who sells cars in the US and doesn't want to be sued by someone who t-bones another car while watching their satnav..

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Shirley, all that the nag screen proves is that the manufacturer had culpable knowledge that the sat nav was a distraction to safe driving, yet failed to remedy it.

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FAIL

'Ok' to a message on the infotainment unit

Lexus is like this, and the sat nav won't let you manually change the destination or add an intermediate destination whilst the car is moving. I mean, who'd ever change their mind about where they want to go when the car is moving, or have a passenger in the car who has two free hands and could 'safely' change the destination?

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Every time you start off you're invited to click 'Ok' to a message on the infotainment unit confirming that you are responsible if something goes wrong..

Sounds to me like this is a lawyer feature... company lawyer not yours.

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Trollface

One day ...

One day some enterprising bunch of marketing twats will invent a little brass device with serrated edges which fits into little logically placed slots around the vehicle ....

But it'll never catch on because it'll have rounded bits somewhere and some bastard fruit'll sue the boll*cks off ...

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The train turned out to be a much better way to travel - you could even do some work en route.

ITYM "can listen to music and read a good book"..

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Anonymous Coward

cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

Good idea, it is made by Getafix.

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Re: cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

"AHA, BY BELLISSIMA!!!"

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Re: cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

"Good idea, it is made by Getafix."

From 31st March 2019 perhaps, but as of now it's Panoramix.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

From 31st March 2019 perhaps, but as of now it's Panoramix.

French versions are Panoramix, English translations use Getafix. Goscinny's on record as saying he love the English translations of all the names, and wishes he'd thought of some of them. I think they each have their good points. Tartopum & Babaorum (French) are on a par with Pratchett's Pant-y-girdl and Llamedos, as is Crismus Bonus (English) the centurion.

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Re: cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

Pant-y-Girdl...

At the foot of the Sugarloaf mountain outside Abergavenny is a village called Pantygelli, pronounced panty-jelly by us puerile Philistines on a visit. It's the Welsh Cotswolds, judging by the colour of trouser sported by gents of a certain age leaving the pub. Word of warning should you be walking near by - the pub closes at 3pm on a Saturday for a few hours (unless there's a rugby match on TV) so time your descent of the hills appropriately.

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Re: cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

Assuming that was the Crown - did wonderful grub last time I was in the area

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Re: cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

on a par with Pratchett's Pant-y-girdl and Llamedos

Llamedos, while itself a very Pratchettian joke, is his tribute to Dylan Thomas and Under Milk Wood.

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Coat

Can't use the remote locking/unlock function?

Step 1: Go back in the car and click the all-lock button

Step 2: Get back out of the car

Step 3: Use the key to lock the last door

Step 4: ????

Step 5: Profit (manual operation, win)

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Pint

Kudos

Good one for getting a Madness reference in.

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Re: Kudos

Good one for getting a Madness reference in.

And Asterix. We were brought up on that stuff (Dad had the English and the Italian versions).

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Switching cars

We switched from a Citroen to a Ford. On the first long trip we made (over Cairn o' Mount) we hit dense fog on the way back down. I confidently reached down to the right to switch on the fog lights... and the dashboard lights went out... By the time I'd actually found the fogs, we had descended out of the cloud layer.

We have a new car (Motability) every three years, and when you have certain requirements (need room in the boot for a wheelchair and room in the back for kids) you tend to stick to the newer model of what you have. Except that the buggers keep changing the control layout! At one point Ford switched the controls on the steering wheel (volume up/down, trip computer etc) over. All that carefully trained muscle memory rendered useless!

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I had a rental VW that no one could figure out how to start, even at Hertz. Someone from Hertz finally found the manual online. You actually have to take the key fob and insert it into a slot in the dash and push on it, like it's a gigantic button. When I got to the hotel, no one could figure out how to stop the engine but they had valet-only parking so I left it running. The valets eventually figured out you have to push the gigantic key fob button again and it will pop out.

I was so frustrated I initially went back into the rental agency and asked if they had any cars with keys (because even te employees could not figure out how to start the thing). Nope.

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I rented a VW Golf and couldn't take the handbrake off because it didn't have a lever. The rental people didn't know how it worked either. I eventually gave up and changed to a car that had a normal handbrake.

I rented a Vauxhall that I couldn't turn the indicators off - it was ether left on or right on with no central off position.

There should be a law/regulation/standard for car controls. Indicator stalk here, wipers here, light switch there, handbrake lever down there, etc.

Car manufacturers are idiots.

Mind you BMW have decided to replace the High/Low lights switch on their motorbikes with a combined flash switch which is equally bonkers - I think they're sulking after finally converting to a proper indicator switch, even if it doesn't have any movement at all and feels like you're pressing something solid.

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Anonymous Coward

I rented a VW Golf and couldn't take the handbrake off because it didn't have a lever.

Just drive off, it's automatic.

I rented a Vauxhall that I couldn't turn the indicators off - it was ether left on or right on with no central off position.

I doubt that. Chances are you found the "flick" operation which returns to centre but leaves the lights flashing for three goes. If you try & cancel by flicking the other way you get three flashes of that side instead, so it looks like there's no 'off'. It needs a good push to either side for "fully on", otherwise just leave it alone & it stops after the three. Damned stupid design, I agree, and a PITA.

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Ah, possibly not. I also - some years back - ended up in a rental Vauxhall with the same situation. I eventually discovered that the solution was to flick the *same* way to turn it off. However, as it also had the three-flashes trick it took a while to hold it long enough to trigger the 'on' as opposed to the 3-flash, with further off-pushes actually turning it on again.

As I recall, the wipers did something similar: a single push for intermittent, second push for on third for fast - can't recall how that turned off, but I recall it was much more sensible a year later.

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"I rented a Vauxhall that I couldn't turn the indicators off - it was ether left on or right on with no central off position.

I doubt that."

I actually borrowed a new Vectra in 2009, one of the last of that model.

I hated the indicators, if I recall they weren't a proper up and down stalk, but rather a thing like a cruise control switch. press it down slightly and the indicator went on, but the "stalk" didn't really move, similarly up for right but it was awkward to use. Plus Vauxhall's insistence that it flash >= 3 times before you could cancel and on mini roundabouts you never quite knew what state the indicators were at. Try to cancel the indicators and they go on the other way. Horrible to use.

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Electronic handbrakes still need a button that lets you put them on / take them off.

I have a new Ford, and it just has a switch that you pull/push when the handbrake used to be. I was very skeptical at first, but try as I might I can't activate it "accidentally", when I do forcibly activate it while driving (on a non-public road, to test what the hell it does and whether I even want that) it brings the car to a halt better than any emergency stop.

And yet it still works fine for the "pull-away" auto-release functionality and I can't fool it no matter what I do with the throttle and clutch - unless I actually apply power that would move the car even with a handbrake on, it won't auto-release the handbrake.

The one thing I can find "wrong", is that if I double-lock the car, without the parking brake on, it doesn't activate it for me. I would expect that. I suppose it's so that you can still tow, but I was hoping it would do it for me should I ever forget.

And every hill I park on reminds me that actually it's very useful, even if I've never been afraid of a hill-start even on the worst atrocities of road-design.

Now, if I could permanently turn off the auto-stop-start engine, I would be a happy man. But the switch that does so only works for that journey. And I basically keep the clutch down all the time anyway when at lights just to stop the thing turning off. Whenever I do forget (e.g. put it in neutral so I can tap the satnav, take a drink, etc.), the autostop always scares the life out of me because I think I've stalled it. And though the "oops, you didn't mean to stop" start-up is DAMN quick if you catch it happening, it worries me just how quick it is - the strain on the engine of off-then-immediately-back-on can't be good for it. I swear the pistons can't even have stopped on some occasions.

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Facepalm

In the late 90's, the company I was working for rented me an Astra/Focus sized car for me for weekend working. The hire car company delivered me a Mercedes S class because they'd run out of other cars! Only problem was when I got to the petrol station, I couldn't open the petrol cap. Every car I had driven until then either had a pull cable under the driver's seat or just an exposed petrol cap with a key. I pressed every button and looked under every seat for a petrol-flap release button, to no avail.

No information in the hand book at all about opening the petrol cap either.

Eventually I had to put my pride on hold and ask at the petrol station. Turns out that the petrol flap unlocked when the car was unlocked and you only had to pull the flap open! So advanced these Mercs.

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I rented a VW Golf and couldn't take the handbrake off because it didn't have a lever.

Just drive off, it's automatic.

If it's anything like the handbrake on new model Mazdas, no it's not. There's a small thingie behind the gearshift which isn't really a gearshift. Push it down to release the brake, pull it up to engage. It's not a leaver, it's some kind of electronic control. It has a nice little LED which comes on when it's engaged, otherwise you can't really tell. I really want to see what happens when the LED fails.

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Anonymous Coward

just like the range rover (1990 version that is)

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Here's a pic of the Mazda handbrake thing. https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1dLgxRXXXXXcRXFXXq6xXFXXXY/For-font-b-Mazda-b-font-font-b-6-b-font-M6-Atenza-2017-High-equipped.jpg The handbrake is the small item immediately to the left of the big knob, which is obviously vastly more important than a brake: it controls the settings on the built-in display on the dashboard, the map, the sound system, the video, etc. The little LED showing whether the brake is on or not is marked by the label 'auto hold'.

One wonders at automaker's priorities, one really does.

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"Electronic handbrakes still need a button that lets you put them on / take them off."

Have you investigated how to release it if it fails?

I did that a while ago before I bought my current car. It involved breaking into a weather-proofed sealed unit and unwinding some humongous number of turns with a special tool from the toolkit. Because you'd now broken the weather-proofing you then had to get the whole expensive unit replaced. And good luck with keeping the car in place whilst unwinding it if you were parked on a hill.

I bought something else.

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"There should be a law/regulation/standard for car controls....handbrake lever down there"

Oh, yes! Carefully worded such those stupid push button electric handbrakes become illegal!!!!

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just like the range rover (1990 version that is)

Don't. Ever. Mention, Range Rover.

Worst 'car' .. well ok, 'Ford Transit Monster Truck with crap interior' ... that money can buy. You can drive down the M4 and guarantee that a light will come on. While you are asking second youngest child to go online and see what that means the light blinks, goes off and then another one comes on. Cue more children searching the RR online manual. "Dad, it says it needs servicing" says one. This less than 2 months after the bloody truck had been bought as new. More lights took it in turn to come on, flicker, go off and come back on again as more and more things started to fail, but we got as far as the Newbury services, stopped there, got a 'Range Rover Callout Service" ("third one today mate, must be a faulty batch") and never saw the truck again.

Thankfully git a no quibble full refund, but no 4x4/SUV/Truck or whatever you call them ever again for me. Once was enough.

(This from a now-former Tesla owner)

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Worst car ever title must go to Renault 20. Items such as break servos that that coughed and died when asked to make an effort, sealed headlight units that had to be replaced at extravagant cost when the bulb went, internal rubber seals that retained moisture against the inside of the bodywork so that the car rotted from inside, disc breaks prone to adhering and heating up so that they lost the ability to slow or stop the car when needed most, (assuming the servo was working). And I know I could add to the list with thought.

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Alarm going off while driving, oh yes!

I finished a photo shoot one Summer Sunday morning around 6am in a small rural hamlet, packed away and just set off when somehow my Honda CRV decided that would be the perfect time to spew back the code it got from the key! It set the alarm off, screaming away among the quaint thatched houses!

Much twitching of curtains as I had to exit the car in the middle of the road, get away from the car, then run back to it and switch the locks on and off in order to shut the alarm up! This continued 2 more times that day, when I contacted Honda they said it'll happen then the key fib battery goes flat, "We can replace it for £45 + VAT."! Holly f**king, how much?!! Needless to say, I went on Amazon, bought a battery for £1.50 and replaced it myself!

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