Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Exorcism of the Key Fobs from Hell........

usbackroads information--The Exorcism of the Key Fobs from Hell.....

Previous posting reviewed the Dodge Ram 3500 truck that was purchased to tow our Cameo 5th wheel.

Here is the initial review that mentioned the key fobs from hell:

I took in the truck to at least four Dodge dealers complaining about the key fobs from hell.  At random intervals the alarm would go off if I lock the truck manually and then opened with the key fob.   Locking or opening the truck with the key fob would take two or three pushes of the button.  It really was a royal pain in the butt living with the key fobs.  All four Dodge dealers assured me that it was just one of quirks and they could find no problem with the key fobs.  After all, the truck did open!!  And for some reason they all missed the alarm going off.

We were camped in Congress, Arizona and the mileage read 35,760 miles on the truck.  The warranty was going to expire in 40 miles and it was 20 miles to the Dodge dealer in Wickenburg.  I got to Wickenburg with 20 miles to spare on the warranty.

I told the dealer than the truck was going out of warranty and after FOUR tries at fixing the problem I really wanted it fixed.  The Wickenburg dealer decided to check the RAM warranty record on the truck.  Nada, nothing.  The only warranty work was replacing a screw in the fender well and the dealer did not note that in the RAM database.  Unfortunately, the four dealers ALSO did not note the key fob warranty claim.

It makes sense since they all thought there was not a problem so NO note was made in the  RAM database.

The Wickenburg dealer did think the problem was the battery in the key fob.  So he replaced the battery, but more importantly he listed the problem in the RAM warranty database.  This resulted in a call from Tara with RAM warranty service if the problem was fixed.  I said I would call back in a month to close the issue if that fixed the problem.

Just before the month was up the key fob from hell was back!!  It did lay low for almost a month just to give me a sense of false confidence.  A quick call to Tara from RAM warranty service resulted in an appointment with Larry R. Miller Dodge Ram in Tucson.  This time the problem was diagnosed as a weak battery in the other key fob.

We waited a another month.  Tara with RAM warranty service was patient.  She was waiting for me to call it good.  A little past a came back AGAIN.  Another call to Tara and another appointment. Another fix and another wait.  This time it was two weeks and the key fob from hell was back!

Another appointment with Larry R. Miller Dodge Ram!!  Snowpatch and Bugaboo were starting to think that this was just one of those weird things humans do!!  Sit around all morning at a nice outside table at an automobile dealership.  They had fun saying hi to all the workers and folks dropping off their cars for repairs.

It was an $800 electronic control module.  The key fobs from hell were finally banished from the face of the earth.  Thanks to Larry R. Miller Dodge Ram for solving finally solving the problem and Tara from Dodge Ram for her patience in not closing out the claim.

So what did I learn from all this?

First, buy a new truck and run through all the electronics several times and make note of what does not work.  There is so much electronic stuff on new vehicles these days that it really should be the new part of truck or vehicle break-in!!  Make a list and just do it several times before your warranty expires.

Second, don't assume that the dealers are keeping records.  Tara made a side comment about where was I getting my oil changes since RAM truck had no record of a couple required oil changes.  The dealers did not input that data!

Third, when you make a warranty claim. Get a printed record of the warranty claim with the manufacturer. Those four warranty claims NEVER happened because they were NEVER entered into the RAM warranty database.  If its not in the computer it never happened.

It was a pain fixing the key fobs.  But I really do not mind as long as the company keeps trying to fix it.  For that I have to give Larry R. Miller Dodge and RAM warranty service credit for sticking with it.

And yes, I finally did call Tara and close the warranty claim.

A month later I called my health insurance company and asked about why they did not pay a doctors visit. Well, the computer code on the doctors billing was for a non-covered service!!  Of course, the doctor never gave me a list of what the computer codes meant....just the visit was for service 32.  Gee, a typing mistake and $170 gone!  But that's another story.

The truth these days is the database in the companies computer system.  Make sure its right!