The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 June 2006

Pressure points

So I'm dropping back into my armchair here, and off goes one of those damn car alarms that everybody hates and no one pays attention to anymore. No funky Atari noises, though: this is straight classical car horn, staccato.

And eventually it dawns on me where this racket is coming from: my freaking garage.

There's a red button on Gwendolyn's key fob that says PANIC, and, says the manual, if you lean on it for more than half a second, the car whoops and hollers and flashes its lights and generally behaves in a frightening and/or embarrassing manner. I got outside with the key and silenced the poor girl, but I felt like a total idiot.

This is not, incidentally, the key fob that we used for the test drive; that one was a different color and had three buttons instead of four. I had used it yesterday, and noticed that while it worked the doors correctly, it didn't pop the trunk lid. Fine, I thought, it just needs to be reprogrammed. With this thought in mind, I retrieved the official Infiniti fob, the one with the red button, and attempted to establish a learning mode. It did not work. The third button on this nonstandard remote had an unrecognizable symbol; thinking that maybe it was required to acknowledge the learning signal, I promptly pushed it.

And Gwendolyn started with a flash of her lights and the usual Vroom.

Being no fan of carbon monoxide, I sprang to open the garage door, then inserted the key to shut her off. No luck; I had to hit that mystery button once more.

I have since identified the odd fob as a product of Avital, though they make dozens of these critters and I couldn't tell you which one this is without downloading all their PDFs, not all of which have actual photos, and it's probably not a current model anyway.

I called the one Infiniti dealer in town. "Can the Panic function be disabled, either internally or by reprogramming the fob?" It can't, at least on an I30; there are ways to do it on some later models, and anyway, whoever heard of someone hitting the Panic button accidentally?

So add this to the learning curve: don't schlep the car keys around the house. If nothing else, it's a good argument for not wearing pants. (We'll discuss seat heaters some other time.)

Posted at 6:16 PM to Driver's Seat


I have done this multiple times with the Mercury Grand Marquis which we have affectionately named "The Green Car."

Perhaps I should name her. She looks like a Bertha.

Congrats on the new ride, panic button notwithstanding. Remote start is cool; I don't know if it's useful, but I'd love to have it.

Posted by: Dan at 11:32 PM on 20 June 2006