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 …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Possible Solution

    Since I drive a Nissan I sometimes have problems locking/unlocking the doors. I have one of those keyless systems and if I have my keys near my telephones it creates some kind of force field that inhibits me from starting the car/locking/unlocking the doors..

    The other mention of opening/closing all the doors, including the tailgate is also something I have to do occasional. I will driving away and I can hear the doors trying to lock/unlock every few seconds. I have to pull over and do the opening/closing procedure and magically it goes away. ( magically being a synonym for some kind of pressure switch that is not fully engaged...)..

    Technology is great, when it works...

    1. Lobrau

      Re: Possible Solution

      Not wanting to dump all over what, I'm sure, is a lovely and practical motor but that sounds bloody awful

      I thought Japanese manufacturers were supposed to be ahead of the game in terms of electrics?

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Possible Solution

        I thought Japanese manufacturers were supposed to be ahead of the game in terms of electrics?

        You perhaps forget that they are now in some kind of joint ownership deal with Renault. Might have something to do with it?

        M.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Possible Solution

          You perhaps forget that they are now in some kind of joint ownership deal with Renault.

          Indeed they are. This results in Renault levels of fragility, and Japanese costs for the replacement parts. The design concept for the two Nissan's we've had was excellent. Comfort was fine, assembly quality was rather good (one Japanese, the other Sunderland). But the component quality (turbos, injectors, fuel pumps, brakes) was patchy, overall reliability poor, and spare parts wholly unreasonable, even for high volume parts like wing mirrors. We won't be buying another Nissan.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: This results in Renault levels of fragility...

            When the merger was a done deal in France, I remember hearing a lot of jokes from colleagues saying that Renault would finally learn what the word 'quality' meant.

            Looks like it has worked the other way around, and the shoddy craftsmanship of Renault has tainted and infected Nissan.

            That's a shame.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Possible Solution

            > But the component quality (turbos, injectors, fuel pumps, brakes) was patchy

            How many of those are made by Nissan, and how many are made by an ODM such as Bosch - and as such would be common to several car brands? Following the Japanese earthquake a few years back, several car brands had to look to other suppliers.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Possible Solution

              @Dave 126 - remember the Nissan Arna? Alfa engine, Nissan body... it was not a wonderful mix.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Possible Solution

                My mate had an Alfa, the Corrode Rapide.

                1. Joe Harrison

                  Re: Possible Solution

                  Snap, I had a Fiat xri (extremely rusty indeed)

                  1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: Possible Solution

                    I had a Fiat xri

                    We were unlucky enough to have had (for a short while) a Fiat Croma. It was essentially the same floor-plan as a Saab 9000 (the design was jointly done by Fiat and Saab).

                    I used to joke that we needed to drag a net behind the car at all times, in order to catch the bits that fell off. We then replaced it by something even more fragile (a Citroen XM) which was then replaced by a Rover Sterling (with the 2.7v6 Honda engine which was far too powerful for the car frame/suspension..)

                    I do seem to have picked some.. unfortunate examples of automotive engineering.

                    Current car is a Honda FR-V which (sadly) refuses to die, even though I want to replace it (t'missus is dead set against replacing something while it's still usable - which is probably why she has a Morris Minor).

                2. Stevie Silver badge
                  Coffee/keyboard

                  Re:My mate had an Alfa, the Corrode Rapide.

                  You stupid sod cornz 1.

                  Nose steam cleaned with coffee & Gentleman Regions of trousers now damp, brown and aromatic without a good scare to explain it.

                  Woman sitting opposite on train also v. unimpressed.

                  Your work here is done.

                  "Corrode Rapide" indeed.

              2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: Possible Solution

                Alfa engine, Nissan body... it was not a wonderful mix.

                But surely better than the other way around?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Possible Solution

              How many of those are made by Nissan, and how many are made by an ODM such as Bosch - and as such would be common to several car brands?

              As the AC moaning on about Nissan cars: Most of these parts (and I'd forgotten the dampers and clutch plate on the Qashqai, they were faulty crap as well) are most certainly made by third party makers/ODM suppliers. Unfortunately most are made to a Nissan/Renault cost and specification. Just because some ODM can make high quality parts doesn't mean that the car company will use the quality makers, or pay the price for corners to NOT be cut. And both were built before the earthquake. I used to work in the automotive sector many years ago, and I can recall the manufacturer concerned knowingly used poor quality suppliers because they were cheap, or stuck with design faults because it was usually a customer problem that rarely had to be fixed under warranty.

              I have the impression that the Nissan-Renault tie up involves far too much of Renault's dubious supply chain practices and French approaches to quality manufacturing

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Possible Solution

                "Just because some ODM can make high quality parts doesn't mean that the car company will use the quality makers, or pay the price for corners to NOT be cut. "

                Someone I knew who worked for Lucas was once asked why their electrics were so crappy. So he showed the questioner a stop light made for a Mini - and a stoplight also made by Lucas but for RR cars.

          3. macjules Silver badge

            Re: Possible Solution

            Would the problem by any chance be accent related?

        2. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Possible Solution

          As says the song ,

          As long as you will own a car made by Renault,

          The way to the nearest mechanic shop you should know!

          Had one for 6 months. During this 6 months, this huge pile of crap had always something going wrong. As soon as I fixed something, something else was going down. It did not work perfectly a single day.

          1. macjules Silver badge

            Re: Possible Solution

            Try a Lotus then ... Lots of trouble usually serious.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible Solution

        "I thought Japanese manufacturers were supposed to be ahead of the game in terms of electrics?"

        Toyota have a keyless entry system that just works and can be operated by a complete idiot, but at their typical owner, like us, is aged over 60 you can see why. The Juke looks as if it's aimed at people under 30.

        1. Loud Speaker

          Re: Possible Solution

          If the external appearance does not give it away, the manual should: the target market for the Juke is Klingons.

          1. DanceMan
            Alert

            Re: Juke external appearance

            Given the Juke's styling, the refusal to lock is a feature, not a flaw. They must have rehired the person who styled the F10. The sooner stolen the better.

        2. Dogbowl

          Re: Possible Solution

          Ahh Toyota keyless system. Do you know what a replacement key fob costs? I do and it's £280. I managed to obtain a new unprogrammed fob, cobble together the necessary software/leads and did the job myself for about half that cost. An interesting aside to this is that there is a guy up north in Leeds who can rest previously programmed fobs, something all the forums I've read say cannot be done (as do Toyota as well of course).

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: Possible Solution

            Ahh Toyota keyless system. Do you know what a replacement key fob costs? I do and it's £280. I managed to obtain a new unprogrammed fob, cobble together the necessary software/leads and did the job myself for about half that cost. An interesting aside to this is that there is a guy up north in Leeds who can rest previously programmed fobs, something all the forums I've read say cannot be done (as do Toyota as well of course).

            Interesting. Amazon says that replacement (not genuine Toyota) key fobs for Toyotas cost between $16 and $45, depending on the exact model. Genuine Toyota key fobs start at about $50. £280 is way over the top. Programming info is available online from numerous sources, mostly on YouTube.

            What problem did you have why you needed a replacement key fob? If it was just giving you static about opening the door, the battery was going flat. I just replaced the battery in my Toyota key fob for $6..25 and less than five minutes with a flat-head screwdriver.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Possible Solution

              If anyone can program the keys, that includes a thief. Your car is so vulnerable that any insurance you have against theft ought to be invalidated.

              1. WolfFan Silver badge

                Re: Possible Solution

                If anyone can program the keys, that includes a thief. Your car is so vulnerable that any insurance you have against theft ought to be invalidated.

                Anyone can program the wireless keys, exactly as anyone can pick locks, or make a key that will open them. Very few actually do this, but, as with the wireless keys, there are lots of online tutorials on lock-picking and locksmithing. Anyone can use Aircrack or Wireshark to break into a network, and there are lots of online tutorials on how do use them, too.

                Let's see... by your logic, all Toyotas should have their anti-theft insurance revoked: https://www.carandtruckremotes.com/how-to-program-toyota-replacement-keyless-entry-control-remotes.html

                and all Fords: http://www.keyfobprogram.com/ford-keyless-remote-key-fob-programming-instructions-1/

                and all GM vehicles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8NKVNdhEJc

                and all Nissans: http://freeremoteinstructions.com/nissan/

                Do you really want me to give more examples, or do you want to concede that perhaps you might want to rethink your position?

          2. YetAnotherLocksmith

            Re: Possible Solution

            Good plan. You can set up as an auto locksmith. What's 5 hours of your time plus £140 on parts?

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Possible Solution

      I had the same problem in my ~20 year old car - the door microswitch was failing so it thought the door was randomly opening.

      Cue car alarm going off at 3am.

      It's a 5p component built into a multi-hundred pound part. Praise be to Jesus for breakers yards.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Possible Solution

        My 2008 Ford Fusion Diesel Style insisted a door was open. I discovered that instead of cheap easily replaced "buttons" on the door frame that it has horribly expensive locks with the switch built in.

        Except the hatch! It had a barely microswitch in a flimsy housing beside the lever/catch of the lock. A suitable size self tapping screw secured the cheap nasty switch in the correct place. You can hardly even see the recessed screw head in the cavity between hatch and lock mechanism. Seems a bizarre cost saving. I was relieved it wasn't a door lock.

        Periodically it won't UNLOCK, except with the key in the lock. I ALWAYS check the door handle on locking in case someone is planning theft by running a jammer. My hearing is not great, so I don't always hear it lock.

        While I'm at it, why is there a Bluetooth module behind passenger "glove compartment", BT menu on the radio but it can't hear a BT phone nor voice commands. Removing radio reveals that the mic pins have no wires. I tried electret and dynamic microphones. It behaves as if there is no microphone on internal voice command mode or BT paired (you can hear incoming call on radio, but can't talk back as BT pairing disables phone's internal microphone). Puzzling. Internet searches are not enlightening.

        1. DanceMan

          Re: Locking and Unlocking Woes

          For the win I nominate the hatch on a Porsche 944.

          The hatch is big, heavy and flexible, which makes the opening very useful in carrying things unimaginable in any sedan. But getting it to lock and unlock reliably is another matter. My 86 944 Turbo had hatch shocks that were shot; I just used a plastic tube to prop it open when necessary. It would take 3 or 4 slams to get it locked. Only difficulty getting it open was once when it was frozen shut.

          Replaced by a 90 944 S2 with working shocks -- magic! Until winter, when it would pop open 1 to 10 blocks after stowing the folding bike back in the hatch and heading home. After about a week or two of this I gave it a mighty slam when it popped open a little further on the way home. It refused to open at all after that.

          This hatch has a button in front for an electric release. After a few years Porsche issued a TSB claiming that the button was never intended as a release. They couldn't make it work reliably and gave up.

      2. elgarak1

        Re: Possible Solution

        We had VW Passat with a faulty door microswitch. Caused the doors to security-lock themselves every few minutes – when you press the button on the fob, the doors lock; a little while later, security locks engage so you cannot pull up the locking buttons inside. The faulty switch belonged to that security lock in one door. The security-lock was stealthy enough to engage to not immediately noticeable.

        The most noticeable effect was that the battery was flat all the time. Car was in manufacturer garage multiple times for THAT. They couldn't find the fault – BECAUSE THEY NEVER LOCKED THE CAR inside the garage after hooking up the meters.

        End result was disabling the remote and central locking (we had to unlock the tank door from within the boot when filling up), re-engaging the remote when selling, and not telling the buyer about it. Because taking the door apart to reach that switch would either be a bitch, or bloody expensive.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Possible Solution

      I have to say... if a car I bought was doing this, I'd be sending it back or selling it off.

      If even the DOORS can't be opened, what else did they do wrong on that car? Doors are literally a £2 RF module with whatever-crap-encryption-they-use, and a relay. It's REALLY hard to go wrong there, and they should actually spend 10 times more time on making sure people can't easily clone keys, not worry about whether it interferes when near a telephone. The blip of an RF fob is literally hundredths of a second, there's no need for it not to respond immediately even if it has to retransmit 20 times.

      And the doors locking themselves while I'm driving? No way. I'd be servicing that. What happens if you roll the car and need to get out or (vice versa) you're giving a friend with a kid a lift home and the door just unlocks and they open it (have had the latter happen - a child dropped their toy down the side of the back seat while the aunt was driving and I was in the passenger seat... the child decided they couldn't reach so they OPENED THE DOOR at 60mph and leant down to pick it up... the first I knew was all the door warnings going off, and I looked behind to see empty air and a small child bending out the exit, and I've literally never moved so fast - belt off, over seat, grab child, grab door handle, SCREAM to pullover)? No child locks "because they don't work", a kid that just opens doors / removes belts to get a toy, and an inattentive driver who didn't even know what the beeping meant.

      My car - I've never had a problem except that it's very insistent the boot is shut before you can arm the alarm (rightly so, but it takes you a minute to realise why it won't arm - and that you took the shopping out, and though it "looks" shut, it just needs a proper slam to actually be shut), and that you can unlock the damn thing from somewhere around the next town (the RF range is ludicrous - literally my car can be out of sight and it still gets the signal somehow! I tested in a 28 acre site and can lock/unlock it from ridiculous distances). Great if I lose my car at a boot sale (because the lights will flash), but not so great if the keys are in my pocket and unlock button gets pushed.

      However, literally, it's never been a problem. If I had symptoms like yours, though, the car would be going back.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible Solution

        "And the doors locking themselves while I'm driving? No way. I'd be servicing that. What happens if you roll the car and need to get out..."

        That's exactly WHY the doors auto-lock. Statistics show that without the locks, doors are more likely to get thrown open during an accident, especially rollovers, and an open door greatly increases the risk of you getting thrown out of the car during said rollover, regardless of seatbelts.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Possible Solution

          My Jag does that, but I always thought they locked in case there were any undesirables at the traffic lights.

        2. JamesPond
          Facepalm

          Re: Possible Solution

          "That's exactly WHY the doors auto-lock"

          In the 70's my uncle Jack had a Hillman Hunter, before the time of mandatory seat belts. He was driving near his holiday home in Loch Luichart, Scotland, going round a left hand bend, he was leaning on the door when it opened on its own and he fell out. Fortunately given the single lane roads in Scotland in those days he wasn't going too fast so he ended up with only minor injuries but the car was a write-off.

          NB Loch Luichart was a wonderful area for walking but take midge repellent if you ever go.

        3. JLV Silver badge

          Re: Possible Solution

          I always thought autolocks were an Americanism to assuage Caucasian anxiety when driving through African-American neighborhoods (of any income level).

          Mr D's shenanigans remind of trying to connect my phone to 2 different rental Fords' entertainment system some years back.

          The, Microsoft-supplied, system never worked by either bluetooth or audio cable, would refer by voice to inexistent menu entries to "correct settings" and then settled into the routine of notifying me of minor dearths in the 911 emergency call support w my phone, every-effin-time-I-started. It did manage to play FM radio, I'll grant it that.

          I believe Ford ditched MS as a supplier soon after. blackberry now.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: Autolocks

            You want them in South African cities and Tallaght in Dublin.

            I think someone sells flame thrower kits you can engage if attacked at red light in SA.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Possible Solution

        And the doors locking themselves while I'm driving? No way. I'd be servicing that. What happens if you roll the car and need to get out

        On the few cars I've driven with the auto-lock feature, it was easily disabled. In the car I currently drive, it involves holding the manual lock/unlock switch (on the central console) down for a few seconds, whereupon a small beep informs you that something has changed. Modern cars also have a "safety" feature where it is possible to open just the driver's door. I think the idea is that if some miscreant is chasing you, you can get in the car without them being able to climb in through another door.

        Getting out isn't a problem as you do not need to unlock the doors from the inside - just operating the handle unlocks them(*). Doesn't solve the problem if emergency services are trying to open the door from the outside, but I believe many / most such cars these days have locks that automatically open in the event of (say) airbag deployment.

        As for child locks, the modern method is far preferable to the old method of a lever on the door catch. With the electric locking systems I've driven recently, there's a switch somewhere to engage the child lock, so it can be disengaged by the driver when appropriate. I, too, have had a door opened by a child when driving, though in my case it was about 40mph and quite frankly the child was in no danger at all due to being - you know - strapped into a proper car seat. Any child old enough to know how to take their belt off should be old enough to be taught never to open the door unless it is safe.

        M.

        (*)unless deadlocked. Auto-lock systems never deadlock doors AFAIAA, but beware of doing what I once did (but realised pretty quickly) of leaving (older) children in the car to pop over the road to a cash machine and without thinking giving the remote (would never leave the key in the ignition) the double-click which causes it to deadlock. If they *had* needed to get out, they wouldn't have been able to.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Possible Solution

        And the doors locking themselves while I'm driving? No way

        That appears to be standard behaviour for cars from the more dangerous parts of the world (ie the US). Both US marques that I've had have auto-locking doors.

        I think my nephews' BMW does too.

      4. sabba

        Re: Possible Solution

        Good idea but I think the hire company might have got a little upset if he had ;-)

    4. BillG Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Possible Solution

      I'm not familiar with the Nissan Juke, so excuse me for asking but...

      Is it possible to manually lock the doors, using the lock switch on the inside of the door?

    5. David 18

      Re: Possible Solution

      "Technology is great, when it works..."

      Which is usually around v1.1 when all the bugs are ironed out and before bored developers start fucking around with it, or are told to make it shinier by brain-dead marketeers.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Possible Solution

        "Which is usually around v1.1"

        Things must be improving. It used to be 3.1.

    6. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Possible Solution

      I also drive a Nissan, I encountered the same sort of thing a few times (in fact Dabbsy got the sound transcription spot-on!). It always turned out to be a door or boot not closed properly. Especially with the boot it was quiet easy to close improperly without it showing. Nevertheless, it's just a question of calibrating how hadr it needs to be closed an I didn't have any more issues after the first couple of weeks.

      As to build quality, maybe too early for a definitive answer but so far everything is very solid and reliable

      But I fully understand the 'how does stuff in a rental car work?' thing, has happened to me a couple of times.

    7. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Possible Solution

      We found that if we locked the car and walked too close to the boot it would unlock again, so one of us had to lock the thing, walk away without approaching the boot, while the other checked it was still locked. Note - always take someone with you when you drive.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I've driven cars with headlights that were operated with ...ox-drawn pulleys...". Ox-drawn pulleys is my favourite system for turning the car's headlights on. I've learned that using a trailer system attached to the back of the car to keep the oxen close is more practical than using really long ropes.

  3. Dave K Silver badge
    Trollface

    You ended up with a Nissan Puke? Unlucky!

    I would have just left it unlocked. Surely no thief would dare come close to such an appallingly ugly vehicle as the Puke...

    1. Redstone
      Pint

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

      Thank goodness. With their apparent popularity on the roads, I thought I was alone in thinking this.

      1. DuchessofDukeStreet

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

        Booooo! My Juke is beautiful inside and out and very well behaved. The only experience I've had of unexpected bleeping in the locking area is when I tried to lock my keys inside the car - I see that as a bonus. Maybe it's a XX thing...

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          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.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            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..

        2. Dave K Silver badge

          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...

    2. Shady

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

      I personally refer to it as a Nissan Joke. Or, perhaps even worse, a Micra 4x4.

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

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

        I'm not sure how Nissan managed it, but the Juke, despite being a smaller vehicle than the Qashqai, has worse real-world MPG figures.

        As to the infernal beeping, odds are the machine thinks a door is open somewhere. Open and slam all of them, and that ought to do the trick.

        One final thing: if you have a car with keyless entry, remember that you are the owner of a system that relies on "Security by Proximity". If a car criminal happens to turn up with a box of tricks which can amplify both the signal from the keys to the car, and from the car to the keys, then someone can fool the car into thinking the keys are right next to it, when in fact they are in your house several metres away.

        This trick (and I rather think sophisticated criminals are building the boxes of tricks, then hiring them out to dimmer, bolder criminals) lets criminals get into a car and ransack it; it also lets them start it up and move it a few metres or so. Just far enough to get to the low-loader round the corner...

      2. Swiss Anton

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

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

        Anyone remember the original Fiat Panda 4x4?

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          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,

          1. Ivan Headache

            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)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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...

    3. GlenP Silver badge

      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.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        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.

        1. Kevin Johnston

          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

        2. Glenturret Single Malt

          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?

      2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        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.

  4. AndrueC Silver badge
    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?

    1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      '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.

      1. JamesPond
        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?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      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..

      1. pleb

        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.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      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.

  5. PNGuinn
    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 ...

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      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"..

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cauldrons of magic potion that Obelix fell into as a baby

    Good idea, it is made by Getafix.

    1. nichomach

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

      "AHA, BY BELLISSIMA!!!"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          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.

          1. TimR

            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

        2. ibmalone Silver badge

          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.

  8. Tim Seventh
    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)

  9. Bob Wheeler
    Pint

    Kudos

    Good one for getting a Madness reference in.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      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).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. John 110

    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!

  11. Amos1

    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.

    1. Nick Pettefar

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          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.

        2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

          "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.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            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.

            1. JamesPond
              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.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                just like the range rover (1990 version that is)

                1. macjules Silver badge

                  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)

                  1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                    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.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

            3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "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.

        3. WolfFan Silver badge

          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.

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            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.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "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!!!!

  12. FuzzyWuzzys

    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!

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Alarm going off while driving, oh yes!

      key fib battery goes flat, "We can replace it for £45 + VAT."

      If you think that's expensive then don't look at the prices for a new key-fob..

  13. Alister Silver badge

    Therein lies madness.

    Yes, it did.

    :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Headlight UI

    I have driven some cars that make the Rubik Barrel a puzzle into the light controls.

    Push,

    Pull,

    End button,

    Up,

    Down,

    Inner rotator

    Outer Rotator,

    I am not sure how many more controls you can get on one stick but it makes no sense at all, and its great fun switching full beam into the oncoming traffic when all you wanted to do was turn right, by Jupiter.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Headlight UI

      Why were you turning right by Jupiter, everyone knows you take a left turn at Albuquerque.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Headlight UI

      Are you sure you were switching on the headlights and not attempting to get a full weapon kit-out on the center console NES emulator Spy Hunter game?

  15. jMcPhee

    The old joke about 'if Microsoft made cars'

    Wow... it's really happened. In the 90's it was funny. Now, it's just sad.

  16. werdsmith Silver badge

    As a regular Nissan driver, stand near the car holding the key with all the doors shut and press the button on the door handle. That's all. Or press the lock button on the remote.

    It won't let you lock your keys in the car so:

    If there are keys, spare key or main key inside the car then it will refuse to lock and say "cheep cheep cheep". So maybe keep the key a foot or more away from the car door.

    The only problem I've ever had with Nissan keyless is that every now and then the car insists that the key is placed on the start button to sync up. System works really well in my experience.

    1. elgarak1

      Funny how every time someone rants about stupid software/UI designs there's always someone saying how it works and how sensible the design is.

      Look, pal, it's OK if the whole thing works for you if you own the car – but at least for rentals (hire cars for you UK-ians) there should be standards for lock/unlock, start/stop, lights on/off/low/high, emergency brake, drive selector/gear shift etc. It should be standard for all cars, but ... As I said, if you own the car, it's probably OK. But for rentals/hires it's not only annoying, it's dangerous and a liability issue.

  17. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I get it a bit... Lights on a VW Transporter and a Ford Transit are both on a rotary knob to the right of the steering wheel, but the behaviours are different. All the way to the left in the VW is Off, on the Transit it is sparking Lights. Transit default position gives Side Lights (though I suspect this is a mis-wiring cos the dash lights aren't , and a different Transit behaves differently). Transit beeps if lights left on (except parking lights), VW is mute. VW will leave single side light on if indicator stalk not in central position.

    Variations in where Reverse lives on the gear stick - top left, top left with pull up on stick, or bottom right? Keep forgetting VW doesn't have 6 speeds.

    Suzuki Swift with switched position of wiper controls and indicators ... Ever time I came to a junction I'd activate the windscreen wipers.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      My twenty-odd years old VW also beeps if you leave the lights on - but only if the proper McGuffin is in its place in the right relay socket (it's a "relay buzzer" not an in-dashboard one). I suspect yours just got, uh, misplaced much as mine did (until I remembered it used to do that, bought the part and re-instated it)...

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      I don't mind the rotary knob on VWs. It does have the big advantage that it's mechanically impossible to have the fog lights on without the headlights (the button won't pull out for the fog lights unless it's in the "headlight" position).

      This also means you're far less likely to see a VW being driven around 3 weeks after a bit of light mist with the fog light still blaring away at the back as you have to kill the fog light before you can switch the headlights back off.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        I don't mind the VW rotary light switch, it's just that it's near identical in size and location to that in Ford Transits, yet subtlety different in operation. It lies in an uncanny valley.

        Cheers for the tip Drop Bear, I'll investigate the headlight buzzer. I've been meaning to fit a second battery and a relay too (for interior lights and music without fear of stranding myself) that in a push could be used to start the engine.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        My Skoda uses old VW parts bin components, the headlights you can keep on and when the ignition is turned off it turns them off.

        My old Saab worked similarly. Most of the winter (ie. October to May) I just keep the switch on.

        However the wife's SEAT which is also a VW parts bin car has the same headlight control, but hers dings and bleeps if you leave the headlights to on.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "It does have the big advantage that it's mechanically impossible to have the fog lights on without the headlights"

        AIUI the theory about fog lights is that by mounting them low you don't end up looking down the beam to the same extent that you do with headlights and that the backscatter doesn't, therefore, dazzle in the same way as headlight backscatter does. Not that I've ever found that convincing in practice.

        But it does imply that the correct operation is to have headlights off when you need fog lights.

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith

          My top tip? Use the little dial that lets you adjust the headlight speed beam to tilt your lights down as far as possible, then put your main beam on. Same effect, only way more light.

          Obviously you still need to dip for oncoming traffic - and have less light then, but hey.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Variations in where Reverse lives on the gear stick "

      Ha!

      Years ago we organised a student field trip. I drove to the site in my car. And waited for the rented mini-bus to arrive with the students. And waited. And waited.

      Eventually it turned up. The driver had never driven a Ford before, missed a turning and drove on for miles before working his way back because he couldn't find reverse.

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Hire cars are a mixed blessing

    Bring back those happy days when any Ford key would open any Ford :)

    The worst experiences I have had with hire cars is when the bastards have swapped the indicator and washer stalks to be opposite of what I'm used to. Bet I'm not the only one.

    I once ended up stuck with a Renault which would not start after accidentally touching the door lock button after putting the keys in the ignition. It took ages to figure out the exact magical sequence to turn off the immobiliser. The rapidly growing queue in the petrol station, horns and obscenities, did nothing to aid clear thinking.

    I also had to embarrassingly call a hire company when I needed to change a blown tyre. Could find the spare and the jack but not where they had hidden the wheel brace.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

      "The worst experiences I have had with hire cars is when the bastards have swapped the indicator and washer stalks to be opposite of what I'm used to. Bet I'm not the only one."

      Would that have been going from RHD to LHD? I think the intent is to have the indicators on the side away from the gear lever so you can control both at the same time. At least that's my experience coming back from Merka and renting a Toyota, comparing it to my Honda at home.

      1. JamesPond
        WTF?

        Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

        My worst experiences in hire cars were:

        A Renault Megan decided to go into maximum revs and accelerate on it's own whilst in cruise with no pressure on the accelerator, nearly rear-ending the car in front.

        A Renault Laguna's engine decided to lose a couple of cylinders whilst pulling across an intersection on a derestricted dual carriage-way, coughing, spluttering and then dying.

        A Mercedes E-Class decided to go into limp-home-mode whilst doing slightly north of 70mph in the outside lane of the M1. The turbo's top-hose had collapsed and starved the engine of air.

        A Vauxhall Vectra decided to throw one of it's connecting rods through the bonnet, depositing lots of fluid and other engine parts on the outside lane of the M1.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

        Would that have been going from RHD to LHD? I think the intent is to have the indicators on the side away from the gear lever so you can control both at the same time.

        That was a common issue, very visible with Japanese and Korean cars, countries where they also drive on the left. My Mum's Hyundai used to catch me out like that, it had things the "right" way round for the UK. Most European cars had it reversed, but they all seem to have standardized on the LHD pattern now.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

      "Bring back those happy days when any Ford key would open any Ford"

      I'll see your Ford and raise you a Subaru. Having got to the destination I reached down to turn off the engine and found the key was missing. It had fallen out of the lock onto the floor with the engine turned on and running.

      After that I realised I could start the car in the morning, take the key out with the engine running, lock up and go back into the house until the engine had warmed up and defrosted the windscreen.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

      "I also had to embarrassingly call a hire company when I needed to change a blown tyre. Could find the spare and the jack but not where they had hidden the wheel brace."

      And hire companies "helpfully" remove the manuals in case they get lost or stolen.

    4. Andy A

      Re: Hire cars are a mixed blessing

      "The worst experiences I have had with hire cars is when the bastards have swapped the indicator and washer stalks to be opposite of what I'm used to."

      You think you have problems! My "other" car has handbrake and gear lever on the right, and the accelerator pedal is between the clutch and the footbrake. Indicators are not self-cancelling, but unlike some Vauxhalls, do at least have an off position. Engine management is by three levers on the steering column.

      Well, it is 90 years old - built before standardisation of anything much!

      If you are wondering, the first couple of trips were quite hair-raising at times, but then the brain very quickly adapts, and you just drive normally.

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So I googled the YouTube video

    When Dabbsy said it was a 4000 page manual, I suspect that was just for the key.

    Video which feels like it goes on forever just to explain how a damn key works on a "Knee-sahn Juke".

    The best answer seems to be availing yourself of a "hidden mechanical key" which you should extract from the rest of the nonsense surrounding it and use instead.

  20. sandman

    No reverse

    Had a great deal of fun many years ago with an Astra diesel hire car. Pick up car, drive home, try to park. How the hell do you get it into reverse??? Neither of us had ever seen "the lift the little collar" on the gearstick method before. No manual in the car, no mobile phone, no clue. Had to drive to a petrol station and ask if anyone had a clue - fortunately someone had.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: No reverse

      My favourite was my Transporter allowing reverse to be selected but insisting of going forwards regardless. There's a big online forum for Transporter owners and within seconds of googling the complaint I found "...Look below the battery you'll see a ball joint... wrap a zip tie round that not too tight and you'll be sorted.. I did it as a temporary measure but it was still there 30k miles later". Sorted!

      On a petrol station forecourt I've had the embarrassment of not being able to open the fuel flap on a Vito van... It turned out to be some button on the dashboard. I prefer the Renault Traffic / Vitara method - the nearside door overlaps the fuel flap, so the flap can't be opened until the can door has been. Simple, elegant, effective.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: No reverse

      How the hell do you get it into reverse?

      On the Honda FR-V, you have to have your foot on the brake before it will go into reverse..

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. DropBear Silver badge

    I used to have a car alarm / door remote thingy that gave me some trouble so I just uninstalled it; then slammed the door shut and my friend central-locked with the mechanical key from the other side. But my door failed to fully latch, so I opened it back to shut it properly when the alarm went off due to the re-opened door on the locked car. So I stood there utterly discombobulated with the uninstalled alarm in my hand, the ghost of which was also honking like mad in the car... It turns out there was some sort of baseline alarm function built right into the car, by design, based on the door switches and the car horn, in addition to the third-party one I removed - not all that surprising in hindsight, but a thoroughly WTF moment at the time...

  22. pstones578

    Who wrote this crap?

    Unreadable, try writing with a maturity level above a carrot next time.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Who wrote this crap?

      Me. Glad to have you on board.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Who wrote this crap?

        Glad to have you on board.

        Is that "board" with a silent "water" before it?

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

          Re: silent water

          More likely Clue by four.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Who wrote this crap?

      @pstones578

      Wow, your first post for four years and that's all you can think of?

      Most of us quite enjoy Mr Dabbs' rantings. What a shame you don't.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Who wrote this crap?

        I was recently reminded of Mr Dabbs' rant style last week when reading a book called Incompetence by Rob Grant (of Red Dwarf fame, though it's set in a near future EU state). I believe that many a Reg reader will enjoy it.

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith

          Re: Who wrote this crap?

          Ah yes. I read that years ago. Sadly at the time I didn't realise that the "insane EU state" being parodied would turn out to be the Brexit UK!

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Who wrote this crap?

      I don't mind the style of the piece, but the embellishment and exaggeration is a bit transparent.

      Mr Dabbs must have known that there would be readers with actual real experience of driving Nissans that would see through it.

  23. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Dear Mr Dabbs

    As you are now the El Reg expert in this stuff, I challenge you to get along with the GUI on a Tesla.

    We need a real world expert to test drive this wonder mobile for us and report back on how easy or hard it is to find all these things like locking on/off, wipers, door locking, bonnet and boot opener and the rest of the things that we as lumps of flab have to use.

    Are you up for it?

    The totally minimalist Model 3 will be a wonderful device for driver confusion. It seems that everything is done via the screen. No muscle memory needed now.

    1. JamesPond

      Re: Dear Mr Dabbs

      Not driven a Tesla screen but if it's anything like a Lexus touch-screen, every fingerprint is viewable and the angle reflects the sun so it's not viewable is bright sunlight.

  24. macjules Silver badge

    spellcheck an entire Microsoft Word document?

    ...managed to spellcheck an entire Microsoft Word document in one pass without it crashing every fucking two seconds.

    Liar. Nobody ever did that.

  25. Juan Inamillion

    Infotainment system

    I hire cars quite a lot (cheaper than owning one in London!) and over the decades it's been hundreds. Getting into a new one is always exciting as, without asking the agent, you try to find a. where to put the key/fob b. whether you have to put a foot on the brake before it'll turn over c. discover the exact location of the wipers AND washer (this is really important) but without doubt d. is the winner, which is try and get any kind of sense out of the 'infotainment system'.

    Fortunately a lot of car makers have at least reverted to a central knob which defaults to being the volume. You can easily and quickly use it! Oh joy! But that's where it stops being fun. Just working out what is an active button and what is simply a small piece of inert trim is enough to drive you mad.

    And then there's pairing your phone... Some cars seem to want to pair with your phone, or any phone that happens to be near.

    Then there's satnav. Figuring out how to adjust the volume of the voice over the ducking music...

    Don't get me started..

    1. Hero Protagonist

      Re: Infotainment system

      "Don't get me started.."

      No worries, I can't work out where to put the key.

    2. NonSSL-Login

      Re: Infotainment system

      Not that long ago I had a Mini Clubman as a hire care and I tried for ages going through one menu, then to another sub-menu. After a wasted hour of it not wanting to connect I tried the voice command "bluetooth connect" and all the right things happened.

      Totally gobsmacked as one goes for the menu system first as voice control is usually mostly pointless.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Andytug

    Google really is your friend for this kind of stuff

    Stuff like how to reset the service indicator/read the service codes yourself without the dealer charging you £xxx for the same.

    Case in point, how do you lock a Renault with kids (or dog) in the car for safety whilst you nip into a shop, but not have the alarm immediately go off? (Answer, stop engine, then press start/stop 5 times, then get out and lock with remote - simples........Not.).

    Cars are becoming more complex than computer networks these days.

    1. Joe Harrison

      Re: Google really is your friend for this kind of stuff

      Cars are computer networks with wheels these days

      FTFY

    2. Boothy

      Re: Google really is your friend for this kind of stuff

      Quote: "Answer, stop engine, then press start/stop 5 times, then get out and lock with remote - simples........Not."

      That's bonkers (assuming true ;-) ), all I need to do with mine is tap the fobs lock button a 2nd time quickly, one click, lock, 2nd click alarm disabled.

    3. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Google really is your friend for this kind of stuff

      "Stuff like how to reset the service indicator/read the service codes yourself without the dealer charging you £xxx for the same."

      Slightly more complex stuff like that, yes, but mundane things like how to lock, stop the alarm going off, start the engine, well, having to look that up is ridiculous.

  27. Bob Starling
    Facepalm

    Reminds me of the time

    When I was stood outside my hire car, pressed the unlock button, heard the unlock thunk but found the doors were still locked when I tried to open them.

    Spent about 5 mins repeating the lock / unlock sequence, hearing the locks move but still found all the doors locked.

    Finally realised that my car was parked a couple of spaces away and I had been trying to get into an identical hire car. This was at a public beach by the way - I would have checked the registration if I'd still been in the hire company car park.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of the time

      and I had been trying to get into an identical hire car.

      Not unlike the time we went to see Genesis at Roundhay Park, Leeds. The car parking was whole bunch of unlit fields so we got reduced to wandering round what we though was the correct field, clicking the alarm button on the remote.

      Found a car that the remote triggered - only problem it wasn't our car and we were not in the right field..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reminds me of the time

        wandering round what we though was the correct field, clicking the alarm button on the remote.

        Dangerous with remotes that use a rolling code, do it too often and even if you do find the right car it won't recognize the remote because you've "rolled" too far out of sequence.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Reminds me of the time

      That brought back memories of my being in a multi-storey, bonnet up, fitting a battery I'd just bought in town for a rather uncommon marque of vehicle. I heard the "Oi! Bastard!" as a big bugger approached obviously thinking I was trying to nick it but had enough time to back up and say "yours is parked over there... I know, because I wasted ten minutes trying to get in to it".

      1. JamesPond
        Unhappy

        Re: Reminds me of the time

        My dad had a Cortina 1600E which was the sporty version with bucket seats. One with the same registration but 1 digit difference and the same colour got stolen from near where he worked. At least once or twice every month my dad would get pulled over by the local police thinking they'd found the stolen car.

        1. John Presland

          Re: Reminds me of the time

          Cortina 1600? Sheep in wolf's clothing.

  28. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Megaphone

    It's a f'in car!

    Its purpose is to reliably move me from one place to another, preferably faster than I could walk, and, as a bonus, keeping me warm and dry. This is al lI ask of it, and all it needs to do for me.

    Not to "info-tain" me

    Not to think for me

    Not to anticipate my needs...

    Why, yes, I *am* over 60, why do you ask?

    Hire cars are the bane of my existence. Might as well plan on spending the first half hour in the lot, trying to figure out where they've rearranged all the controls to on this year's model.

    "But no, you insist on re-inventing the user interface for every model."

    Truer words have never been spoken. Applies to a certain manufacturer of computer "operating" systems and applications as well.

    1. JamesPond

      Re: It's a f'in car!

      But if they didn't change everything on each replacement model, what would be the incentive for you to purchase the next model?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: It's a f'in car!

          It's not rust anymore. Other reasons are:

          "Oh, that part is not available any more, and there's no alternative", and then finding out that it's a common failure once the car is about 5 years old. They'll be none in the breakers yards either. "They're like gold dust. I'll call you if I get one in, but it'll be expensive because there's high demand, and I don't often see one of those with it not broken".

          Or special tools necessary for routine jobs on higher mileage vehicles that are too expensive for the small garages to buy, meaning that you have to pay main dealer labour prices or get rid of the vehicle!

          I have a ~25 year old MPV that's got to the "parts not available" state (but I'm not complaining about this, it's about time this vehicle was taken off the road, if only for emissions), but I reckon that it will be significantly less than that for any vehicle made today.

  29. ecofeco Silver badge

    You are NOT kidding

    Who the hell are these moron interface designers these days?

    It's everywhere!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: You are NOT kidding

      Sadly, poor UI design (regarding an automatic car and its Drive/Park selector knob, the subject of a recall by the American company that built it) resulted in the death of a young actor from the recent Star Trek films.

      I'm not a fan of vehicles beeping at me, but there's a case to be made for vehicles to beep when moving without anyone in the driver's seat.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: You are NOT kidding

      "Who the hell are these moron interface designers these days?"

      I think interface design has become a work creation scheme for unemployed arts graduates.

  30. Rtbcomp

    I dread replacing my 25 year old Volvo with a current model. Too much technology for technology's sake.

    1. John Presland

      I empathise. I've a 1985 Mercedes 190D. The engine's good for 500K km; it's done 220K. I'd like more horses under the bonnet but for so long as it works I'm sticking to this over-enginered marvel that I can fix with spanners.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Secretly, there too many of us in IT who seem to be luddites when it comes to cars. A time and a place for everything including tech and lots of buttons that we can't figure out.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Secretly, there too many of us in IT who seem to be luddites when it comes to cars."

        No. There are a lot of us in IT who recognise things being done badly when we see them.

  31. Hairy Spod

    I know this is dull non comedy answer but that sound from a keyless Nissan generally means one of two things.

    either one of the doors or the boot isnt closed

    or

    The spare key is still inside the vehicle.

  32. Martin 59

    Daft indicator switch

    What must have been 10-15 years ago I test-drove a BMW 7-series. In every other modern car I have driven, the indicators are activated by moving the stalk up or down and, if you move it far enough, it stays there. The act of turning the steering wheel sufficiently far in the appropriate direction and then centring it returns the stalk to the off position. Not so on the BMW. The stalk would move a tiny amount then return to neutral. This would set the indicators going until the car’s electronics worked out that you’d made the turn.

    This was fine for normal 90-degree turns at a junction; but once on a dual carriageway, having indicated to change lanes, I couldn’t turn it off again. Trying to move it back to neutral resulted in indicating the other way and so I would carry on, indicating left then right over and over until, for a reason unknown to this day, it would finally cancel.

    After a while I felt it was easier to switch lanes without warning.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Daft indicator switch

      After a while I felt it was easier to switch lanes without warning.

      I surmise that you must have got the top-end model that's actually fitted with indicators.. unlike the majority of the ones[1] round here.

      [1] And Audis. In fact, Audi drivers are much worse than BMW drivers now.

      1. Martin 59

        Re: Daft indicator switch

        :-)

        I didn't buy one.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Daft indicator switch

          I like to think that the indicators in BMWs and Audis are only hooked up to the dash. Peace and tranquillity.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: BMW 7-series

      I've come to realize that all the BMWs in the USA are driven by the people previously starring in Russian dashcam videos.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Daft indicator switch

      "I test-drove a BMW 7-series....After a while I felt it was easier to switch lanes without warning."

      Thanks for that. It explains a great deal.

  33. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Pourquoi faire facile quand on peut faire compliqué?

    Traditional keys using mechanical devices to lock a car became too easy and reliable, car makers had to fix this. Adding electronics was the perfect solution.

    The arrival of electronic devices and multiplexed circuits in cars were a blessing for roadside assistance companies. Most of car markers seem to be unable to make them work correctly, I begin to suspect it's part of their business model...

  34. Kevin Johnston

    A Peugeot...something or other

    Only had it for a couple of days but in that time I failed to travel more than 100 yards without something cropping up to really P me off.

    From the lights/wipers where one was on - off - auto and the other was on - auto - off to the radio where I could change the volume with three different controls but the other radio controls were four menus deep on the central screen which meant either having a passenger or stopping to change station.

    As for this fascination with Auto Wipers...just give me back intermittent,. I have yet to drive a car with auto wipers where it and I agreed on when there was too much spray for me to see out safely.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: A Peugeot...something or other

      Sounds like the 406 I had. I thought it was fairly well specified for a mid spec 'Rapier' model.

      However the auto lights would only work when it was absolute pitch dark. Dusk, heavy rain? No lights.

      And the auto wipers would only work if it was a monsoon. Drizzle? No wiper for you.

      The radio controls on the wheel were nice. Until the radio stopped working the day before I was driving from Belfast to Milton Keynes. The 2 CDs I found in the glovebox, plus whatever compilation albums Carlisle services had were our entertainment for the 8 hour drive.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: A Peugeot...something or other

        A cassette of Queen's Greatest Hits?

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: A Peugeot...something or other

          Its well known that all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into 'Best of Queen' albums.

          Can we have a Pratchett icon please?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A Peugeot...something or other

        "The 2 CDs I found in the glovebox, plus whatever compilation albums Carlisle services had were our entertainment for the 8 hour drive."

        We didn't have to drive as far as Milton Keynes but we found additional entertainment provided by "are we there yet?" and fights on the back seat.

      3. Pedigree-Pete
        Facepalm

        Re: A Peugeot...something or other

        I drove my first car (Mk1 Capri) from Perth (Scotland) to Reading (Berks) on just two 8-track cassettes.

        A Status Quo album (I like The Quo but after a couple of hours you need a break) and a Elton Johns Don't shoot me, I'm only the Piano player. For padding the latter 8-track has 2 copies of Crocodile Rock. I like Elton John too but I still cringe when I hear Croc Rock. PP

    2. elgarak1

      Re: A Peugeot...something or other

      I recently found out (after four years of driving that car) that it has auto high beams. I still do not know the magic stalk/button/dial/word combo to turn that on – or off.

  35. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Oh yes

    Me at Venice Treviso airport with new rental, can't remember make or model. We have baggage, need to open the boot, no keyhole, no boot release switch in the cabin ??? Our car nut fellow traveller came over from their rental and tells me to press the lock button on the fob twice, which of course works. But how was I to know?

    My wife's 2-door 02 Civic has no keyhole in the passenger door, so to access something on the passenger seat in the locked car requires you to walk to the rear or the driver's door. Bought second hand, no automatic lock fob. Honda want too much for a replacement so we have never bothered.

    I'm coming to the conclusion the car companies WANT their cars to be stolen and wrecked/burnt out because it mandates sales.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Oh yes

      Skoda Octavia has a remote keyfob and a door lock on the drivers side.

      However the bonnet release is on the passenger side and needs the passenger side door to be open.

      So all is well until you get a flat battery and you cannot open the passenger door with the key to release the bonnet to charge the battery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh yes

        And I take it there's no non-electronic lock mechanism, not even on the inside of the passenger door?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Oh yes

      "Our car nut fellow traveller came over from their rental and tells me to press the lock button on the fob twice, which of course works. But how was I to know?"

      It's call an "Intuitive User Interface". It's obviously your fault for not having a decent level of intuition like the designer obviously has.

  36. Hoppy

    Therein lies madness.

    A proper doffed cap for the nod to the mighty Suggs and co :)

  37. lawndart

    Damnit Dabbsy, if in a few weeks I find myself having binge watched the entire GOTS series again I may sue!

    Or send a letter of thanks.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Ghost In The Shell

      The YouTube video makes clear that the live action film is best watched with the soundtrack and its infantile plot muted while you play all the GITS anime music tracks over your soundbar.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Ghost In The Shell

        Come on!

        This is "Inner Space" the opening title track of GITS:SAC (Stand Aline Complex) 1st Gig, not the anime film (sadly Origa, the main singer, passed away a year or two ago).

        The soundtrack for both SAC gigs (and Solid State Society) is absolutely excellent, but was written by Yoko Kanno, and not by Kenji Kawai (the composer of the original anime films - very atmospheric), or Clint Mansell (the live action film - very disappointing).

        I have three Original Sound Track albums taken from SAC, and they're good to listen to as music, but they counterpoint the action of the anime perfectly (try watching "Grass Labyrinth – AFFECTION" Gig 2 ep. 11 and listening to "I do" sung by Ilaria Graziano - reprised in "To the Other Side of Paradise – THIS SIDE OF JUSTICE" ep 25, without feeling a little tearful).

        IMHO, this is the finest anime TV series to have been dubbed into English ever.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    It's a Nissan...

    So leave the doors open. It doesn't matter - no-one will steal it. If anything you'll come back to find another unwanted Nissan parked next to it.

  39. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    Easy option

    After my ancient Ford Sierra died (my fault) went through a Fiesta then a Fucus within a year. Honda Frv died at 300k miles, replaced it with a Civic 205k miles and was working fine when I replaced it for the 2015 version. 70k miles on it so far and the only issue is that I didn't get the version with the leather steering wheel and it's looking a bit grubby. Really don't fancy changing that with all the buttons on it, good knows how they are connected or interchangeable. Still it goes fine and I can lock the doors with the key if I need to. (Never had to replace a key fob battery either :)

  40. BongoJoe
    Mushroom

    Landrover Freelander

    I used to have one of these Barbie & Ken machines and the electronics when it comes to the security aspects could have been designed by Norton.

    I say this because I have lost count of the number of groups of baffled and frustrated people standing in carparks trying to lock the car but only to have negative positive signals (i.e. the bloody alarm going off) or having the back window mysteriously open.

    In the end I simply discovered that the best thing to do was to leave the pile of shit unlocked. No bugger was every going to nick it.

  41. Dr_N Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Door or boot not shut

    Door or boot not shut = car will not lock

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Door or boot not shut

      "Door or boot not shut => car will not lock"

      FTFY. The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Door or boot not shut

        Boot not shut.

        Oh yes.

        Wise to this, I give the boot door a good slam. Car still helpfully tells me boot is not shut. Even has a nice little diagram on the dashboard with a stylised picture of an open boot, illuminated by a red led. Great.

        Get out, open boot, and slam it shut again.

        Boot not shut.

        The car is denying reality.

        After much swearing, opening and closing boot, and after close inspection, discover a small bit of detritus is caught in the well of a contact near the boot lock. It prevents a nipple making contact with a sliver of metal in the bottom of the well, and naturally, the car uses this contact to determine if the boot is closed or not. As the well is narrower than a finger, the fun now starts of getting said detritus out.

        The last hire car I had spontaneously started beeping at me while driving down a dual carriageway with no hard shoulder. So what was it? I anxiously scanned the dashboard, and looked at the infotainment display, that could tell me my fuel consumption to two significant figures, the weather in Azerbaijan, and offer a choice of umpty-um DAB stations to ignore. Nothing. No doors open. No seatbelts unfastened. No low tyre pressures. Nothing. After five minutes, it stopped. I still have no idea what on earth it was.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Door or boot not shut

            The Mini Moke used the instruments from the standard Mini 850 (the donor vehicle that the Moke was made from), so that would be just as materialistic.

            The original Mini had no winding windows (they slid horizontally), no inside door handle (you used a wire in the door pocket to open the door), and no ventilation apart from the windows. But even with all this minimalism, Ford could not work out how BMC/Austin-Morris made a profit on the Mini. Apparently, the secret is, they didn't!

            The Moke, which was intended to compete with Beach Buggy VW Beetle conversions, was more hair shirt, however, because it did not even have doors, and the roof, if fitted, was more like an awning, with clear heavy duty polythene splash panels (you could not call them doors) to provide some protection from the elements, and nothing as sophisticated as a roll bar! Would not be allowed now.

            IIRC, my Grandmothers Morris Minor 1000 had the same instrumentation, so Austin-Morris/BMC/BL got their use of standard parts. Not like today, where things change every year.

  42. Packet

    On the subject of cars, what I find quite interesting (and a little distressing) is how the boot (or trunk for us colonials) has a mechanism allowing it to be unlocked from the inside.

    Rather puts a damper on the entire gangster bit of stuffing some squealer in there while one drives to the landfill/secluded area of choice.

    This in turn always reminds me of the scene with De Niro in Analyze This(?) where he expounds on the large size allowing many bodies to be fit inside..

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      ...as any ful know (or BOFH) --

      That's why you roll them in the carpet first!

      (don't forget the shovel)

  43. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    Happy

    It made me think of this:

    Dave Allen at his finest.

  44. W4YBO

    Watch out for the unlock button too!

    My wife and I discovered that holding the fob's unlock button down for three seconds will roll down the front windows on our Nissan Murano. Handy feature for cooling down the interior on a hot summer day. Also a big surprise when I leaned against the unlock button during a summer thunderstorm. Mentioned in two paragraphs out of 136 pages in the manual.

  45. ecarlseen

    Had an interesting moment with a BMW 5-Series...

    ...that we simply could not get to lock (similar problem). Turns out that my wife had put her purse in the trunk, and said purse contained her massive wad-o-keys including her fob for the Bimmer. In what must be an attempt to keep people from accidentally locking their fob in the trunk, the car simply refused to lock until we removed the offending device (which I detached and put in my pocket). To this day I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing - it was deeply annoying in the moment, but it's probably saved me quite a bit of money and hassle because I am definitely the sort of person who locks their keys inside of things.

  46. bed

    Quelle surprise

    And the menus will be in some other language which you ignore until changing something becomes urgent and, therefore, inconvenient. A hire car in Sicily spoke to me in Italian every time we went over a bump which, as there was no smoke, I ignored until, while waiting for spouse to return from some retail therapy, I found the menu item to change the language only to discover it was a loose USB socket which, whenever we went over a bump, briefly disconnected followed by a warning about no doing that while driving.

  47. AbsolutelyBarking

    Automatic keyless opening - now that has to have been dreamed up by some marketing twat "Wouldn't it be great if the car opened itself, thus saving the driver a whole second by not having to press a button on the keyfob."

    A brilliant idea, slightly negated by the fact your car is now vulnerable to anyone with a laptop in the near vicinity. As evidenced by all the Land Rover Discoverys round us with a crappy krooklock on the steering wheel. Same type that I used to use on my £300 student car, which you could open with any old penknife or coat hanger....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "my £300 student car, which you could open with any old penknife or coat hanger."

      A real student car is one where you could almost crawl inside through the gap between the floor and the sill.

  48. unwarranted triumphalism

    'brainless' and 'motorist' are 2 words that go together very well.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indeed

    http://carthiefgetthebastard.org/

  50. LTT

    Me, too!

    Alistair: as a techie myself who is often flummoxed by tech -- always to the smug satisfaction of my wife, who prefers when TVs used rotary dials to change channels -- it's very heartening to know that I'm in good company.

    I think it's pathetic that I have to ask my phone how to operate something that should be simple and straightforward to use. And I'm convinced that the Google Assistant software on my phone has more smarts than the imbeciles who design these accursed products that resist all attempts at usability.

  51. whoseyourdaddy

    So, this is why I keep renting keyless cars

    and the rental company gives me *two* keyfobs securely fastened together. Not sure if they want to charge me $500 to replace them, don't want to find two keys if they rent this 4-door to a family, or believe that the bulge in my trousers will reduce the chance I will lose them.

    But, but.. it's just me...

    Beats the one Nissan experience I had near Palm Springs. That AC works well enough to put a big crack across the windshield.

    1. Chris Comley

      Re: So, this is why I keep renting keyless cars

      > rental com,pany gives me two keyfobs

      Rented a car in the US which had two keys. Tied together by a length of steel cable.

      I of course managed to lock them in the boot by failing to realise that (a) the boot can't be opened without the keys (b) having heavy armfuls of shopping. "This happens a lot" the hire care company said, charging me $50 to send a man over from their office with a third key.

      The next day I did it again! Fortunatly this time the car roof was up (did I mention it was a ragtop) this meant I could get into the boot via the back seat and retrieve the keys.

      That evening, I took a pair of stout wirecutters to the steel cable and thereafter, stored the spare key in the wife's handbag. Thus, of course, ensuring that I never again needed it as even *I* couldn't lock the keys in the boot a third time in two weeks.

  52. Bitsminer

    "I dread replacing my 25 year old Volvo with a current model. Too much technology for technology's sake."

    The battery on my early 1990s BMW 535 lasted...12 years. It was quite the surprise at the dealership when they told me it was a factory original.

    A friend with a recent X5 had to surf YouTube to find out how to log into his car's firmware to tell it that he was changing the battery.

    YMMV. Your patience will vary too.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      >> A friend with a recent X5 had to surf YouTube to find out how to log into his car's firmware to tell it that he was changing the battery.

      That's the least of it. What happens when you do reconnect a battery to an "intelligent" car can be mind-boggling. Better to connect a small 12-volt battery across the terminals to maintain enough trickle current to keep the autodroid alive while swapping the big one. You can bodge something together with torch batteries if need be.

  53. Terry 6 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Easy when you know how

    UI designs that seem like a good solution to where/how to create a control. Very easy for the design team to use, but they know the solution because they knew the problem ( where can we put this control......). But for an ordinary user, trying to work it out from first principles because they haven't got the manual, or haven't worked out the weird way the manual is organised, there is no available logic trail whatever.

    1. Andy A

      Re: Easy when you know how

      The manual for my car has an index at the back, but that only covers the "infotainment" system. If you want to find out how to turn on the lights, you need a different index about 20 pages earlier. Surprisingly, changing the time on the clock is a deemed to be "infotainment".

  54. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Lights....

    I had a similar problem with my last car. I couldn't work out how to turn on the cabin light, I would pull over and open the door to turn the light on so I could check a map. I eventually discovered by accident that *pulling* the *headlight* switch turned on the cabin light.

  55. JustNiz

    Prize to the first manufacturer who starts making cars without any electronics, LCD screens etc. again.

    Just give me a completely braindead car with a standard sized radio slot that I can just put my own stereo in.

  56. fobobob

    carthiefgetthebastard.org ... Anyone else do a search for this, only to be disappointed that it doesn't (yet) exist?

  57. mediabeing

    WHAT was the solution????

    You had us read this drivel...and you didn't care enough to give us the solution???

    Blast you, sir! I'll be avoiding your writing from henceforth.

    I'd encourage you to take a writing course, but I don't think it would help.

    Fie on your house! You have no consideration.

    1. RobNJ

      Re: WHAT was the solution????

      Who are you writing to?

  58. pyroweasel
    Joke

    Madness?

    So is the sponsored doc "5 steps to good governance" One Step Beyond?

    Apologies if some other smartar$e thought of that over the weekend. I only read this when I should be working...

  59. Tricky48

    Why is it some modern journalists appear unable to write a piece without resorting to expletives.

    Is the English language not rich enough for them?

    1. Excellentsword

      It is and all the richer for our myriad expletives.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: resorting to expletives

      The swearing is a running gag. Don't worry about it.

  60. M_W

    It's better than a Dacia Sandero. Just...

    Might have posted this before, so sorry for the repost. I'll not go into the hateful Dacia Sandero Stepway I got as a rental car in Germany.

    But there used to be an issue in the UK with inadvertent jamming of car locking frequencies.

    So Frankie and Benny's imported from the USA a load of 'your table is ready' pagers - you know the ones, look like a fat plastic beermat, full of red LED's and a vibrator. Buzz when your table is ready whilst you're sat at the bar.

    Except because they imported them they weren't approved for UK use, and would broadcast pretty powerfully on 433Mhz - on exactly the same frequency that Peugeot used for their keyfobs.

    Cue Peugeot parents parking up in F&B carparks with little Timmy excited for his overpriced party, and then looking surprised when they either couldn't lock or unlock their cars with the remote.

    The local F&B to us was right next door to the cinema, and at the time I had a hateful Peugeot (I had 3 - I thought it was normal for your car to spend more time in the garage being repaired than on the road, until I got a lease car and realised I'd never buy a Peugeot again) and every time I parked at F&B I would struggle to lock the car. Even getting back in and driving it further away from F&B at the other side of the car park would usually remedy the situation. (No - I couldn't lock it using the key - they took the sodding door locks off the drivers side, and only 1 lock on the passenger side that didn't activate the central locking or the alarm. Dozy french designers)

    And having had the misfortune to have to park outside a few different F&B's in different locations and having the exact same issue happen with the Peugeot, and then checking the frequency of their little mat things, it clicked as to what the issue was.

    Once F&B got rumbled and replaced the dodgy LED mat things with UK frequency approved ones, it mysteriously stopped happening.

  61. Luiz Abdala
    Stop

    Burglar lock-jammer...

    Over here, most third-party alarm systems could be fooled by a radio jammer - that the burglars were quick to learn about. Victim parks car, burglar enables jamming, victim can't lock car, that gets nabbed.

    Good old fashioned mechanical keys could not be fooled, however. Old habits of trying to open the car in order to test the lock, after being given the command to do so, couldn't be fooled, either.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Burglar lock-jammer...

      "Good old fashioned mechanical keys could not be fooled, however."

      But they CAN be PICKED...or JIMMIED...or any of a variety of purely mechanical means to get the door unlocked. And these are disregarding the quick-and-dirty solution preferred of car strippers (that being smash the window with an escape hammer).

  62. Captain Boing

    wait a minute...

    ... one paragraph in, checks author... yep - thought so... closes window

  63. hoola

    Ford Escort Van

    Fro a week I had a Ford Escort van as a replacement whilst the regular vehicle had the front brakes replaced at a central maintenance facility. The loan pool van required 3 different keys to operate it (I never found out how to open the passenger door from the outside). This was all low-tech traditional turn the key to unlock it, no electronics. The one feature that it did have was an alarm. This used to go off randomly at all sorts of inconvenient times and you could only reset it by taking the key out of the ignition and pressing the butting on the zapper. On one occasions I took the key whilst going along on a straight road, to discover that said van pulled to one side and in correcting the drift, the steering promptly locked. Logic suggests that the best option is to brake to fix the lack of steering in a controlled manner, what actually happened was a huge panic trying to get the bloody key back in the ignition so I could steer again. Of course with the engine stopped you only get one shot at the brakes with the servo, given that they were crap anyway and you had to near enough stand up in the seat, this led to a major brown-trouser moment......

    Fen roads, straight for miles with a huge ditch either side.

  64. Chris Comley

    Computers and cars

    Sadly modern cars are full of computers but instead of going out and recruiting people with a few clues about programming computers, the car manufacturers seem by and large to have assigned the job to Dave from Paintwork in his spare time.

    The utter lack of thought buggers belief. My 2015 Land Rover will not let me lock it if the bonnet isn't closed. If the bonnet IS closed, but the switch SAYS it isn't, you cannot lock it. If re-opening teh bonnet and giving it a good hard slam (Way less subtle an approach than one would expect for a modern £40k car) it will lock AND switch the switch. If it ever didn't, I would have to either sit in it whilst waiting for the JLR repair man to pitch up and fix it, take it *directly* to the dealers, or go home and sit in it, instead of going to a meeting. Now, if it had a "beep" to say "I know the bonnet isn't fully closed, you should check, but, i've locked myself ANYWAY so you can go to your meeting secure in the knowledge that bad lads can't get in to any part of the car except perhaps the bonnet" it would show a lot more "real world" thinking.

    I have other examples, but, typing them all in would cause a loss of the will to live here, and possibly with the readers.

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