Every young Auto Technician has that first moment when something goes horribly wrong and suddenly a sunny, happy day turns sour and gloomy. My day came while working at a Honda Dealer in Mississauga.
I had just started my day with a quick oil change and tire swap and was parking the manual transmission Honda Accord I had just serviced. Every good technician develops their own mental checklist. Mine goes something like this, did I tighten the oil drain bolt, tighten wheels and torque to spec, did I put oil in the car? Never would I have thought…does the car I am working on have a remote starter and is it properly installed? I was about to find out the hard way. Getting out of the car and walking back to the dealership office I decided to push the lock button on the remote I had in my hand, only I didn’t push the lock button I pushed the start button.
Queue dramatic music now. The car proceeded to start on its own (remember I said it was a manual transmission) and since I had left it in first gear it took off across the parking lot, dragging the rear wheels, so much for the emergency brake. I watched in horror as this car went whizzing past several other brand new Hondas that hadn’t even been sold yet, went up a curb and finally crashed into a cement block perimeter wall. Finally at rest, I watched (in what seemed like slow motion) as the wall collapsed onto the hood of the car.
I looked around trying to find a witness, anyone would do, anyone! One of the clean up crew guys would come to my rescue having witnessed the whole thing from the wash bay. It turns out the remote started had been installed improperly and the clutch override had been disabled. When the dust settled I was not faulted and the customer of the car admitted that he asked the install facility to bypass the manual transmission safety switch. What he was not expecting was when the dealer asked him and eventually his insurance company to repair the damaged perimeter wall.