Q: My wife accidentally locked her purse, with her sensor key and cellphone, in the trunk of her 2011 Cadillac SRX. Without the sensor key, she couldn’t access the trunk or vehicle interior.
The dealer hadn’t given us window stickers with OnStar’s phone number but, fortunately, I had my cellphone to call the dealership for it. Within seconds, the doors and trunk unlocked.
There’s no signal warning that the key sensor was in the trunk. Until we returned the SRX to the dealer to prove this defect existed, they wouldn’t believe us. Further, I feel this is a safety issue. Picture this: a cold winter night when you, your wife or your daughter are in a plaza and this happens. No phone around and the stores have closed, now what?
General Motors won’t correct this unsafe defect condition in my wife’s car, but did remedy the problem in their new 2012 models.
More from Eric Lai:
A: Faye Roberts of GM Canada replies:
The 2011 SRX included features designed to decrease the chances that the keys may be accidentally locked in the vehicle including “Lockout Deterrent” and “Remote Left in Vehicle Reminder” but they need to be programmed on by the customer. Instructions for this are in the owner’s manual.
Beyond these two systems, 2012 SRXs were improved to include an additional feature that would unlock the driver’s door in certain scenarios, such as when the key fob was left in the rear cargo area and the liftgate was closed.
While this additional feature was not included on 2011 models, these vehicles can be reprogrammed with the latest software, including this change. We will work with the customer to ensure that he is aware that a software update is available for 2011 vehicles.
Despite these systems, there are occasions when keys are accidentally locked inside. In these cases, it’s reassuring to have OnStar in place so the vehicle can be unlocked remotely.
Eric Lai adds:
Basically, the key was locked in the trunk and you feel it’s GM’s fault. I disagree. Being able to lock your key or electronic equivalent, in the trunk is hardly a “safety defect” under Transport Canada reporting guidelines. If it was, most every vehicle in existence is “defective.” (If you lock yourself out of your house, is your house defective?)
Nonetheless, “key in trunk” auto-unlock is a feature on later models, not yours, but can be added at your expense.
Got a beef? Send it to Eric Lai at email@example.com. Include year, make, model and kilometres of autos cited, plus your name, address and telephone number. Personal replies cannot be handled due to volume.
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