Car Trouble

My car has this cool feature: you can simultaneously close or open all the windows from outside the car by holding the key in the lock or unlock position. Approach the car on a hot summer day, and you can release all the hot air before you even enter the vehicle. Been cruising with the top down and all the windows open? You don’t have to close the windows until after you’re out of the car.

A couple of days ago, Matthew (age 6) and Joshua (age 2) were playing in the car. The next day, when I was driving to work, I noticed that I couldn’t roll down any of the windows from inside the car. I suspected a blown fuse — the boys are quite talented at creating such problems — particularly as the heated seats and cruise control were also non-operational.

I was way, way too busy to troubleshoot the problem, plus I didn’t want to get down on the ground in my work clothes to try to find the blown fuse. Besides, I discovered that I could still operate the windows from outside the car using the key. I knew I’d have time to replace the fuse this afternoon.

I had errands to run this morning. I returned to my car in a parking lot on this, the first rainy day of the season. I put the key in the lock, and turned it to unlock the car. The lock froze in the unlock position. Two seconds later, all the windows rolled down. There I sat, in the rain, windows open, key thoroughly stuck in the lock. I couldn’t move the key to roll the windows up, and the interior switches didn’t work. I couldn’t lock the car or even get the key out so I could start the car. All I could do was laugh while I called for roadside assistance from my increasingly waterlogged car.

The locksmith said it was a common problem with Cabrios. He had the lock disassembled in minutes, and we were able to get the windows up. I still think it’s great that I can operate my windows from outside the car, but I am reminded — as I often am when writing software — that every new feature offers the potential for exciting new bugs.

Ron – 22 Sep 2007