Can I just cry?

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Earlier today I went out to eat. I drove home, pulled into the driveway, put the van in park, set the parking brake and turned it off — as always.
Fast forward to about thirty minutes ago. I decided to run out to get a bottle of water. I went out, climbed in the van, put the key in the ignition……and it wouldn’t turn. Zip. Nada. Zilch. I stomped the brake clear to the floor and tried it, I beat the gearshift violently to make sure it was in park, I wiggled the key, I pulled it partway out, nothing. Robert came out and had a whack at it. No luck.
The only theory Robert has is that the anti-theft device has malfunctioned but I am not buying that. What sense would it make for the anti-theft device to disable the ability to use the actual keys to the vehicle?
The only thing I can think to do is call the local Dodge dealership tomorrow and see what they have to say. Another problem is I have no idea where the anti-theft device came from. I thought it was put on as part of the conversion package but Robert thinks it was put on by the dealership from which we bought it. Ooh, fun, a mystery! Why do I have the sinking feeling that this is going to result in my having my van towed for the third time in less than two months?
(For those who may be new to this blog, here is a Cliffs Notes version of the past couple of months with this van: hit object on highway in Norman, punctured gas tank, had entire Norman Fire Department out cleaning up the mess, van towed to Norman Dodge where it remained for two full weeks, had all sorts of trouble picking the stupid thing up, arrived home after picking up van only to get a flat tire literally five minutes after getting into town, no spare so had to have it towed again, and now this.)
Update, 20 minutes later:
I decided to Google the problem to see if I could get some ideas, just to be prepared. Imagine my horror when it became apparent from the results I got that this is a well-known and widespread problem with Daimler Chrysler vehicles. I found a thread on Automotive.com where, page after page, the owners of Chrysler vehicles of all types told of having this exact problem. Some of them experienced it only briefly; others have had to have the entire shaft of the ignition replaced and still had a recurrence of the issue.
Early on in the thread one poster said that the tow truck driver who came to her house simply took out a rubber mallet and tapped the key into the ignition a couple times. This was followed by scores of people who read the advice on the thread, tried it, and it worked. So, being without a mallet, I grabbed a screwdriver (the recommended backup device on the thread) and went out to the van. I bonked the key a couple times and, lo and behold, it turned and the van started right up.
So, yay, at least for now. I have left the screwdriver in the van in case I need it again. I can’t be entirely thrilled, though. I have just discovered I now own a vehicle that has a known design flaw which the company choses to ignore, and which is just as likely to keep recurring as it is likely to magically go away on its own (some people on the thread never had it happen again while others have had continuing problems for years). Some people report that the tapping quits working eventually. Now I get to wonder, every time I get in my van, will the key turn? And, if it doesn’t, will the screwdriver tap work, or will I be stranded….yet again?
So, note to self: do NOT purchase any more Daimler Chrysler vehicles. From what I read this happens to pretty much every model they make; it’s not limited to vans or trucks. Not only is it damned inconvenient I have a really big moral issue with a company who knows that their autos have this problem and refuses to do something about it.

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About msmaryb

I'm a native Californian who lives in Oklahoma. I'm a full-time student, pursuing a Bachelors in Anthropology, following which I hope to attain a Masters in Archaeology. I have three kids, one husband, no pets, and a lot of friends - most of whom live inside my computer. I love to read, write, watch tv (shut up, we can't all be brain surgeons), shop, and travel. I'm trying to set foot in all 50 states before I die. I have 38, so far. I love the Beatles and Maroon 5, and if you think those two things are incongruous, well, they are. But that's me. When I love something, I love it 100%. I don't do anything halfway. I want to know everything there is to know, so I'm trying to cram as much into my brain as I can in the short amount of time I'm allotted in this dimension.

One response »

  1. I’m shocked — our two Town & Country minivans, a 2002 and a 2005, have never had this sort of problem. In fact, they’ve both been commendably reliable, and we’ve owned the ’02 for nearly five years. But you bet your sweet pregnant ass I’m noting the screwdriver trick for future reference — just in case.

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