Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cheap Fix for a Poltergeist Car

I reported in a previous post about my middle-aged Nissan acting like it had been visited by a poltergeist. The car was unlocking itself and rolling its own power windows down, even after the car had been turned off. Spoiler alert: there is a reasonable explanation for the car's behavior. And there were two potential solutions.

One would have cost me about $230. The other cost $17.95 plus shipping.

I'll let you guess which option I chose. Especially since my sweet husband, Don Burke, found and paid for the second option as a gift.

At my regular mechanic's suggestion I took it to a Nissan dealer. The friendly service technician informed me that all the problems could be caused by the aging remote to the car. I was skeptical that the remote could roll down the windows, but he borrowed the remote and showed me.

I asked him how much a new remote would cost. He told me the dealership would only consider selling me the remote after a full diagnostic on the electrical system of the car to confirm that the remote was the problem. The diagnostic would run $99.00. I asked him how much more the remote would cost, if it were in fact the problem. He hesitated, then stated the remote would be a "mere" additional $130.00.

No, thanks! I informed him I would ditch the remote for a while to see if the problems stopped. Don pulled the battery out of the remote, and that was enough to exorcise the car's demons for good. I figured I would get used to living without the remote.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband is a retired submariner from the U.S. Navy and a wonderful problem-solver. He found and purchased a nearly-identical remote at from "World Wide Remotes" for $17.95 plus $4.36 shipping. The one page of instructions that came with it not only worked but required no tools. Don's efforts produced a savings of over $206.00 over the dealership's service, a deal so good, and a solution so easy, I just had to share.

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