Friday, January 23, 2009

If it ain't one thing, it's another...

My roomie picked up a trickle charger on her way home from work the other day. Yesterday I hooked it up to the Bimmer's electrics, let it charge, then fired the car up and tooled around the neighborhood for a bit.

Today when I got in the car to run to the store, I went to turn on the radio. The factory head unit's display lit up with "CODE: _ _ _ _ _". For the first time in the eight years I've owned it, HAL the Brainiac Car Radio had been deprived of current, and therefore thought it had been removed from the car.

Great.

I'd forgotten that those Teutonic gnomes have installed a security feature in their radios that makes them useless if boosted, unless you have the correct code. And guess what?

That's right: I flipped through the owner's manual, warranty booklet, keyless entry/antitheft manual, and every other scrap of paper associated with the car, and no code anywhere. How festive. I guess I'll call the nearest BMW dealership on Monday; I'll just seethe a bit until then.

22 comments:

Jayson said...

Once again, euro-failure due to their aversion to punishing criminals. Instead of shooting radio thieves, they give the owners of the offending radios a hassle.

wv:parini! Like a sandvich. But not.

The Raving Prophet said...

The same thing happened when we put a new radio in my mother's Honda. We eventually found the code on an unlabeled tog in the paperwork packet. I'm not convinced that those stupid codes do anything but annoy the owners, it isn't like theft of OEM stereos has been worth the trouble anytime recently.

brbiswrite said...

Our old Jetta had a factory code of 0000 or 1111 with instructions on how to change the code. You might try the 0s or the 1s.

BRB

Rob K said...

It's like a little taste of going to the airport! Like most "security features" these days, it just inconveniences the owner.

og said...

Hold on to your wallet.

If you have the original owner's booklet it might have a card in it, if it does, that card has the serial number of the radio on it, which you will need to have (otherwise you have to pull the radio- two slits on either side of the faceplate, insert thin bladed knife, etc) to get the code from Blau. If it's not a blau the dealership that instaled it might know. Good luck!

P.S.: A lot of the Blau radios come standard at 6512 or 65.12

Don Gwinn said...

My Volvo has the same four-character code system . . . . with the code written on the top of the stereo. No lie.

I don't think the Volvo factory did it, because the little wallet cards with the owner's manual have a different code . . . . but somebody was either not thinking . . . or has a cynical sense of humor.

Tam said...

As it turns out, I have to push and hold down a button on the radio, which will then spit its serial # out on its alpha display. I take this #, and an unbroken-into car with proof of ownership, to the Bimmer dealer in person, and they will give me the number to wake HAL from his coma.

Happy frickin' Birthday to me!

DirtCrashr said...

The code is on a white plastic credit-card sized card that's just not as stiff as a credit-card, or maybe as flimsy as a weird-plastic German credit-card...

Anonymous said...

GM does it too, but w/o the serial number thing...

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Hell with that. I had one of those blastid radios in my old Honda and it got to a point where it was so annoying that I just changed out the unit (it needed to be replaced anyway) with a newer and better one by Panasonic with a detachable faceplate. Did the same thing with the Tacoma I drive now. No more stupid codes.

Oh, and Happy Birthday!!

Tam said...

Yeah, but they want money for new radios, durnit.

kbarrett said...

Not always:

http://www.freecycle.org/

GeorgeH said...

You may be SOL. The GM units let the original owner input their code of choice and if it's lost the radio is doomed to the dumpster. The Krauts are at least as evil as GM.

Scott said...

The Krauts are evil in entirely different ways such as their engine oil specs. If you have a regular mechanic (and if you don't you should) you can have them call the BMW dealer and not have to go through the drive otherwise off to the dealer you go. And happy birthday.

GunGeek said...

Not that this will help you now, but it might in the future...

Saw a little gizmo that's basically just a cigarette light plug with a 9V battery in it that you insert before you disconnect your car's battery. It will provide enough juice so that the radio doesn't think it's been unhooked.

Might not last long enough for more than just a simple battery swap, but it would be easy enough to whip up something similar that plugs into the wall.

It was only $5.

Robert said...

The BMW code is 1939.

Aaron said...

If it's a Becker radio, then you can get the code online. When this happens to my little German convertible, I just do a google search with the model of radio, and "codes" on the end, and it's worked for me through three deployments and one trans-Pacific shipping (when I PCS'd from Hawaii.)

Aaron said...

Ah! Just remembered-also, if you get a bad code, and the car locks up, driving for 15-30 minutess will clear the radio and re-prompt you for said code.

Warthog said...

Just dropped by to wish you a Happy Birthday.

Anomalous said...

Happy Birthdy Tam!


A battery boom box on the front seat got me back to the states from Alaska once when the radio quit. Was a long trip.

reflectoscope said...

I'm glad it wasn't too painful a fix.

Jim

Charles Pergiel said...

This is just nature's way of telling you it's time to buy a new car. Or stop listening to the radio. I'm not sure which.