Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How Our D.I.Y Turned Into a V.A.T.S/Passkey Nightmare Care of Ernst Auto GM Dealer!

Because we needed shocks badly, we decided to go to Omaha to see if we could find them at some discount warehouses my husband knows about. This last Monday morning we got up at 4:00 A.M. packed our little red wagon and my husbands tools in the trunk. The Mr.wanted to go to a pick-a-part while there to see about some parts for my sons 1972 Chevy Pick Up. We were up early because he wanted to be there when they opened while it was still cool, and it's a 2 hour drive. 5:30 we are on the road, only the Mr. had to stop at Walmart to pick up a new tool. My son in law and I stayed in the car listening to CD's for a review I am doing. The accessory switch was on. When my husband tried to start the car our nightmare started. The car wouldn't start and we suddenly saw messages on the dashboard: Starting Disabled, Removed Ignition Key, Due To Theft System Car May Not Restart. What? We had our key, I had no clue our car had this sort of system on it and neither did my husband. Yet true to the dashboards word, our car was dead as a door nail. I grabbed our owners manual and looked for security system but found nothing about it. I did find and called a toll free help number listed in the book. This lead me to a woman that said she would dispatch a tow truck.... WHAT? There wasn't a reset button for accidental whatevers? Nope, but she would send me to a Cadillac Technician, he knew more then she did, and she transferred me.

 I was really surprised that I did not get sent to an automated system but this man answered my call right away, and I have to say he answered my many calls to come. Each time he was polite and informative, truly trying to be helpful. It could be as simple as using our spare key (our keys have a chip in them and sometimes they go out for no reason at all). I woke my still sleeping son and had him bring the spare, no luck. I called Mr. Cadillac back, well, I could try and make it accept the spare by turning the car on with the key in the ignition and letting it sit for a half hour, I would have to repeat this 3 times. We did this and no luck back to Mr. Cadillac who now said oh that's no good, it's one of 3 things a broken wire, the passkey or something I don't remember anymore. It would have to go to a G.M. service center, by luck we were across from Ernst Auto GM dealer, and their service center was open (it was now 7:30 A.M.).
The reaction of the man Doug that greeted us was wow! He had never seen anything like this before! Then suddenly when we took the key out of the ignition the trunk and gas door started to pop open. Doug said that was weird and again he had never seen anything like that before and that he would send a mechanic over, and he did. The mechanic also said, he was baffled and that it was pretty bad. So I called Mr. Cadillac, he said that the two issues were separate, the trunk and gas door was common and meant that the battery was dead and we needed a new one. He suggested we put one in and try the key thing again. We did and it still didn't work so we left our car in the capable hands the the GM dealer after telling him that it was the battery and possibly one of these three things (remember he said he was baffled) he said oh I knew all that. I was shaken and felt lied to but we left the car and went home, what else could we do? As it turns out this was a wrong move. Doug called about an hour later saying guess what, that I was right, it was the passkey and it would be 466.00 to fix but they could take 60.00 off, if it did not require new keys.

I started to cry, I couldn't help it, I explained that my husband has been off work for 4 months due to an injury and only makes $166.00 a week in disability at the moment. Was there anything else we could do? NOPE, make up our minds because it was going to cost us $67.00 to come pick it up for the diagnostic anyway. I then asked if the mechanic actually took the ignition apart to see what was wrong, NOPE they hooked it up to the computer, which told them. Now at this point I figured I was right and this man was not being honest with me. I called Mr. Cadillac back and he explained that there was only one way to figure out which of the three problems it was. Putting it on the computer would not tell them anything other then what we already knew, it was a security device problem. That man at ERNST GM took our car knowing full well that they were going to charge us for the most expensive fix to our problem. I explained our situation to Mr. Cadillac and he suggested we install a new security system that would override the V.A.T. system in our car.  By chance we had just purchased one for each of our cars and my husband hadn't put them on yet. Mr. Cadillac explained to my husband what to do and which wires to by pass. My husband and son went to go tow the car home when Mr. Cadillac called me back, he was very excited and asked if we had the special key? I said yes, he then said we could connect one wire to a resistor and drive it home, I wrote it down and called my husband. He didn't understand it all and once home started to install the security system. I started looking up how to videos on YouTube, because my husband had never installed a security system before. While searching I stumbled on this guy ( He is funny but a little different as you will see):

Excited by my find I made my Mr. watch this video. My husband who also has a degree in Electronics had a tool box full of resistors, once he watched this video he had our car running in seconds. The fix was FREE and that GM dealers representative Doug... he KNEW about this fast and cheap fix. Shame on you Ernst Auto don't you know people are in financial trouble right now? We had bought two cars from them, but now I know how dishonest and how much they don't care about their customers they have lost my business FOREVER!