Something very simple has been messed up by clever designers. This happens everywhere, probably because they believe that innovation makes things more desirable. Sometimes it does. Who can imagine now having to sit near the telephone point in the house, just to go on the internet? Wifi has improved our enjoyment of the internet beyond imagination. However this technology concerns the simple rechargeable battery.
However, sometimes technology is introduced to areas that it’s not needed. As an Auto-Locksmith, we specialise in the supply and programming of the latest vehicle keys. For the buttons to work, a battery is needed and here lies the problem. In the olden days, (actually only twenty years ago now) buttons were introduced to allow us to open and close the car, without having to use the key in the door. This was a good use of technology. It made our lives easier and technically, it reduced the wear on the key and lock. A move in the right direction.
Fast forward to 2008 and manufacturers introduce rechargeable batteries to the motor trade. Now the principle is fine. The user, me and you, doesn’t have to worry about the key not working. The battery is continually charged while the vehicle is running, a great idea in principle. However, the problem is that the designer hasn’t considered the operating environment. In car keys, unlike other rechargeable applications, they are dropped, thrown, sat on etc, which makes their shelf life is short. The environment has a detremental effect on the technology. So what’s lookded like a fantastic idea on paper, does not stand up to use.
So how does recharchable technology affect us, as the user?
Well firstly, rechargeable batteries can only be charged so many times. Car batteries and mobile phones are just two examples. When the battery comes to the end of it’s life it needs to be replaced. With a car battery, no problem, easy out, easy in. With mobile phones, often the user has an upgrade before the battery life starts to degrade, however if the phone is passed on to a another person, a battery is soon needed.
Rechargeable Car key batteries are a problem.
The designers took the step of introducing rechargeable batteries in the latest, top of the range cars. BMW, Landrover and Rangerover all have these batteries embedded within the key. Unfortunately, the key case cannot be opened. This means that when the battery comes to the end of it’s life, it isn’t possible for the average Joe or Sally to change it. In fact we see people everyday that have almost wrecked the key, trying to open it. It’s glued, sealed tight and it isn’t coming out. This is a problem for several reasons.
Firstly, the main dealer answer is that a new key is needed. So instead of changing a battery at the cost of between £5 and £10 every 2-3 years, there’s a bill of around £150 – £300. For this increase in price, there is no benefit to the user. I mean, you press the button, the car unlocks, that’s it. It doesn’t unlock faster, or with any additional benefit, it just unlocks as it would do with a normal battery. On top of this extra cost, let’s consider the inconvenience. Instead of visiting the local car parts shop and having a battery fitted, the owner must
- Visit the dealer to order a key, only to get told he needs ID.
- Return to the dealer with the logbook, ID and usually a utility bill, all in the same name.
- Pay for the key up front, at a cost of £150 – £300.
- Wait for the key to be delivered, 3 – 14 days.
- Return to the dealer for the key to be programmed.
More importantly, instead of disposing of a small battery, the whole key is wasted, thrown into the landfill, which is a massive amount of environmental waste, for no benefit. With millions of cars on the road that use this system, it’s a huge amount of unnecessary waste.
Fortunately, thanks to this enormous oversight by the designers, opportunity has presented itself for the problem solvers. Already, replacement repair cases are available and on sale. We use these within our business to offer an alternative to the dealer solution. By recycling the electronics and replacing the battery, independents like us can offer same day service which saves time, money and waste. So have the designers learnt from this obviuos problem? Unfortunately not.
Find out how these keys can now be repaired