One of my photos

Security nonsense

January 10th, 2011 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

Last week we changed cars.  The idea was to trade down from a 2-litre estate to something a bit more economical to run in terms of tax, insurance and fuel consumption.  Being able to fit into smaller parking spaces would be a bonus.

I set out with every intention of getting something like a Clio, Fiesta or Yaris with an engine around the 1-litre size but ended up with a 1.8-litre Focus.  I suppose it is a step in the right direction and fortunately we do so few miles that the fuel shouldn’t matter too much.  I reckon that some weeks we could do as little as 25 miles and I would be very surprised if we do as many as 5000 miles this year.

We are quite happy with the new car, although the radio gave us a few problems.Because the car had been sitting outside a dealer’s office for a while in the snow and rain it had got a bit damp and the spark plugs and connecting cables had to be changed and at some point the battery had been disconnected or run down.   The end result was that the first time we tried to turn the radio on we got a message about putting the code in because the radio is ‘security code protected’.

Great. The paperwork had no record of the code.  The dealer checked out the serial number of the radio and called a mate of his who can derive the security code from the serial number.  When we got round to trying that  it didn’t actually work and I ended up getting it from the internet. Which is the point where I started to wonder what the point of the security code is.

From what I can see, anybody can find out the code.  You can go to a Ford dealer and they will fix it for a price.  If you pull the radio out you can get the serial number and then there are websites that will convert that to a code for you with a small Paypal or credit card payment.  With a bit more digging you can find sites that will give you a code for free.

All of which makes me wonder what the point is.  There is obviously no protection because having a security code doesn’t give any deterrence to a thief.  They must know that it is very easy to get the code, even if just by putting the question on Yahoo Answers.   I can’t imagine that anybody who makes their living, or part of it, from stealing car stereos or dealing in them doesn’t know how to get a code if I can find out with just a little Googling.

All it means is that anybody who, for whatever reason, doesn’t have a record of their code and ever gets a flat battery or something like that and doesn’t think to go online, will end up paying £25 or whatever to their local Ford dealer. People like my Mum probably.  Its like a tax on innocence.

I’m singling out Ford because that is what I have, but I imagine other brands are the same.  By the way, and I can’t stress this enough: I don’t know how to find out codes myself.  If you have a problem with your car stereo being locked out, and have ended up here as a result of some Google search, don’t leave a comment asking me what your code is because I will not know it.  Just Google some more or try looking here.

After all that, we haven’t actually been out in the car since I put the right code in this morning.  In fact we have done less than 50 miles since getting it on Wednesday.  I did notice that after we had it 24 hours we had done about 22 miles.  By my calculations that means it does less than 1 mile per hour…


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