As a friend of mine who owns a repair facility mentioned this week. "The earth must be travelling threw a area of Space this week that causes everything to go wrong in the automotive world."
I had the pleasure of doing some basic maintenance on a 01' Honda Civic this week. Nice car, used purchase for a customers daughter who just turns 16. For two days the battery was disconnected and I couldn't have a auxiliary power to the PCM,BCM and radio memory because that would have made the system "live" and I needed no voltage present to perform the work.
The work itself went easy. Once finished up I connected the battery and went to reset the radio stations. I knew the radio would be in anti-theft since the battery was disconnected but that wasn't a problem because the code for the radio was located in the glove box on a sticker you could see when you opened the glove box and looked from the driver side.
So, plug the code in......Err1.
"Crap, must have hit the code wrong."
Plug the code in again, Err2. WTF??? I tell myself. Like a dumb ass I keeped trying the code and finally reached the limit of 10 and received my ErrE message meaning I'm screwed. So, I disconnected the battery and let the system power down after a minute or two. Hooked the cables back up and before turning on the radio I made sure to keep the "1" and "6" buttons on the radio held down. Powered up the radio and the serial number for the radio flashed for me. Cool, now I'll call Honda of America and get the info I need. After finally getting threw they wouldn't help me since the owner wasn't present and they weren't even listed as the current owner. Remember, they just bought the car a few days ago. I'm sure the paper work hasn't even gone threw the State yet.
Now what? I gave a call to Zimbrick of Madison and got Tony in Service. I explained what I had previously done, gave him the code I used and the radio serial number and in a few second he gave me a different code to try. That code unlocked the radio on the first try. I thanked Tony and told him I owed him one and then thought to myself. "This is a stupid anti-theft system". Battery replacement is a common maintenance item and I bet a lot of people do it themselves and get stuck with a locked radio and no code to find. Sure enough, a few Google searches and here is a blogger who ran into the same problem years ago.
Blogger with a locked Radio
Yup, I was right, this is a common problem and a stupid anti-theft system Honda made. I sure bet many Honda owners spent money unlocking a radio they owned. I'm sure many where pissed enough to go buy a aftermarket system and probably not go back to the dealer again. I see some found a service manager like Tony who helped them out. Still, what a silly ass system to put in.
One, I'm sure some new car salesmen who make the commish didn't show where the code was or even mention it.
Two, the owners most likely didn't even know they got a radio with anti-theft when the bought the car. It's not something commonly checked.
Three, used lots aren't going to be up on every anti-theft system, nor are repair shops. I'm just lucky I stumbled onto it in the past and remembered a few things.
Four, a thieve will just do what most people do, call the dealer and hope to get lucky and get the code from a guy like Tony who is just trying to help Honda owners.
Five, it's a Honda radio for christ sakes, not some fancy thousand dollar+ system that is commonly stolen. And if the radio is stolen, I'm sure the car went with it, or if the car is still there the dash looks like Swiss Cheese.
And Six, like me, I wonder how many owners have a code that doesn't work.
Ugh, today I'm the hydrant, not the dog I guess. Have a good one, I know I will now that my Honda owner has a radio again.