The Case of the Missing Keys... or the 17K dollar paperweight
My husband bought his dream truck a few years ago. A new-to-us F250 4x4 extended cab long-bed pickup. Forest Green with plush grey interior, trailer package, bed liner. The works.
A few weeks ago, his puppy, the little mastiff who weighs in at only 100 lbs so far, ate the keychain. It used to be one of those automatic remote door unlocker things, but now, it's just peices of one of those automatic door unlocker things. Well, that is, until we lost the keys a few days ago.
We don't drive the truck all the time. Not even close to every day. Just when we need to haul a horse or a boat or a camp trailer. You get the picture. Our front yard looks like a redneck's wet dream. Anyway, he asks me to leave the keys out for him the other night so he can go scout deer when he gets home from work. This is his way of saying, "Honey, I have no idea where I put the truck keys the last time I drove my must-have-dream-machine, can you find them for me."
The answer to that unspoken question, I learned three hours later, was, "No. I can't find them for you."
Gone. Gone. Gone.
We've finally given up. This morning, I called my favorite locksmith. (What? Doesn't everyone have a favorite locksmith?) He's out of commission for two weeks while his van, which is also his office on wheels and workshop, is in the shop. He says my truck more than likely has a transponder key thing feature or whatever, and I should call the Ford dealership. They could cut and program a key for less than he could have anyway.
Ford dealership quotes me prices on the key, the programming, the labor... then tells me the truck has to BE there when they do it. Okay... did they not hear me when I said I HAVE NO KEYS!
Oh, they heard me. They gave me the number for a tow truck service. Just so happened to be my FAVORITE tow truck service, too. (Don't say it. I know.)
Another 65 bucks for a local tow, on top of the key charges, oh--and the extra key they'll make for me that will ONLY unlock the steering wheel so the truck CAN be towed to the service center. How lovely of them.
I call my husband and break the news.
"It's not a transponder key."
"Yes it is dear. They said if the key has a black plastic tip on it, it's a transponder key."
"No. It's not. I promise."
"Fine. I'll call them back and have them look up the damn make and model."
So... the good news is, it's not a transponder key. (I really, really hate it when he's right, by the way)
All I have to do is call the dealership, give them my VIN (a long string of numbers and letters that looks like alphebet soup on crack) and they can give me the code my second favorite locksmith needs to cut the new non-transponderish keys.
"What year is the truck?"
"Oh, man. I can try, but we can't always get that year. See, our records go back to 97."
What?... you just delete the VIN numbers from the universe after 10 years? No, I only thought that. I'm a polite consumer.
"I see... can you check."
"Sure.......... nope we can't give you a code. There's no record."
"What do I do now?"
"How about a new ignition. I can set that up for you..."
Click. I then called Ford Motor Company who thought this was rather odd. She told me to call a different dealer, who explained to me that the coding/VIN verification record system was actually STARTED about midway through 1996. My truck, having been manufactured in JANUARY of that year... you see where this is going, right?
So, my husband is at home waiting for the locksmith (the second favorite one) to come to our house and see if he can either rekey the ignition or do some old fashioned molding thing. Otherwise, I am the proud owner of a 17K Dollar paperweight with little matching paperweights all the way around it. You know the ones I mean... the paperweight shaped like a boat... the one shaped like a camp trailer... the one shaped like a horse trailer...
I'll keep you posted on where my darling husband is sleeping tonight when I figure that out. I hear the bed in the second paperweight from the left is kinda comfy.