A cautionary tale

Saturday night.  All dressed up and somewhere to go: friends in Ripon – good company and good cooks – had invited us over.  Malcolm popped out to the car, leaving the keys in the ignition, then came back into the house.  Two minutes later, we left together …. and found the car firmly locked.  It had done it all by itself.

We peered in, we rattled the door, we shook the car.  Nothing.  No spare key.  We lost that years ago, and never got round to replacing it.  The car defiantly remained unusable.

Distinctly disgruntled, we shelved the problem and ordered a taxi.  And had a good evening.

The next morning, there we were, prowling round the car once more.  Our neighbour and Malcolm mulled over and rejected various strategies.  I walked into West Tanfield for a newspaper.  The shopkeeper there knows everyone.  He was sure to come up with someone who could help.  He couldn’t.

The internet revealed a couple of businesses who would come and help: at a price.  £100?  We didn’t think so.

But several hours later, we were forced to admit defeat.  The man we rang said he charged no extra for Sunday work, and would come in an hour.  He thought he’d have us sorted out within seconds.  But he didn’t.  He struggled with ever more sophisticated gizmos until finally, after about 20 minutes, the lock gave in, and opened once more.

Workshop on site.
Workshop on site.

And this is his advice, which I share with you.  You’re welcome.

  • Never leave your key in the ignition unless you also turn the key.  If the car doesn’t ‘know’ you’ve put the key there, it may lock automatically as one of its safety features.
  • If you normally ‘zap’ open your car by using the remote control button, the lock may eventually clog with dust and so forth.  About once a month, open your car the old-fashioned way by inserting the key and turning the lock.

What with his visit, and two taxi fares, this little incident cost us £130.

I think it may be time to replace that lost car key.

Man at work
Man at work

21 thoughts on “A cautionary tale”

  1. Bad luck and thanks for the advice. If your car is stolen and you can’t
    produce the space key I have heard that it is extremely difficult to persuade the police that it is a genuine theft!


  2. At least you speedily went for the taxi option and didn’t miss your evening. I know people who would spend all evening trying to unlock the door!! I once had a London policeman unlock my car door for me using a coat hanger he borrowed from the porter at UCL’s Chemistry Dept.


    1. Hah! When did you last see a wire coathanger? We searched all over. But our friendly-if-costly saviour assured us it wouldn’t work these days, even if you had one.


    1. It’s the silly little accidents that are the worst, isn’t it? I’ve topped it off this evening by cutting the entire end of my thumb off. Blood everywhere…..


  3. Oh dear. Sorry you had to go through this … our Berlingo does the same, though fortunately we (well I – J still has to be watched like a hawk 🙂 )got wise to it well before we lost the spare key!


  4. Oh my, good advice. My wife’s car has one key and mine two….. Good to know. Glad you had a good Saturday night together – good friends, good food, and good wine. In a couple of months this wil be a funnier story….


  5. I can absolutely see this happening to me! I didn’t even know it could happen, if the key was in the ignition. And you cut yourself, too?! I hope things calm down in your world . . .


  6. Well if you have also cut the top of your thumb off I think you have permission to go back to bed and start again. I am glad you had a good night despite the silly car upsetting your plan.


  7. Yikes, a cautionary tale indeed! Reading about car keys and Yorkshire reminds me about when I was a child and we went for a pub lunch near Stump Cross Caverns – sitting outside I was fiddling with my dad’s car keys and managed to drop them through a grille into a no-longer-used bit of the pub cellar. My mum and dad never ‘saw the funny side’ of that one… 😉


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