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Ford Focus moved in parking lot

Having owned a 2001 ford focus, I know that the car will not start without the correct transponder key. I think that it was his dad that played a prank on him.

Duly noted.

This was in reference to a call from the last show

The caller on the 8/21/2010 show said something to the effect of: “My dad and I parked my 2000 Ford Focus at a Home Depot. I locked the car. When I came out, the car was moved across the lot to a different parking space and the volume knob on the stereo playing back a CD was left much higher than I ever set it. What happened?? Did somebody try to steal my car?”

Ray said something like, “Believe it or not, this happens in our shop from time to time. We get two similar cars in for service simultaneously, and the keys get switched. Sometimes the wrong key can start a car but get stuck in the ignition because it’s close enough but not quite an exact match. I think somebody got in your car by mistake, realized it wasn’t his after he started driving and heard your CD, drove over to his Ford Focus, got out of your car and drove his off.” Tommy agreed with his brother’s scenario.

I don’t know. It didn’t quite sit right with me. It sounded more like a prank than a mistake to me, too. Or something else entirely. I don’t think he was the victim of an intended theft, but I don’t think we heard what really happened.

About 10 years ago I rented a car on a business trip. I drove to the hotel, locked the car but when I tried to open the trunk with the key, the key didn’t work. Rental car agency had to send a locksmith to open the car at their cost. Turns out keys would work in multiple cars’ ignition (same year/make/model) but each car had a specific key for locks. Agency had switched keys on 2 vehicles. This was back when only top line rentals had remote door locks so I had to use the key to unlock doors.

Seems like an odd prank.

Wouldn’t he have noticed if his Dad left the store?

Having owned a 2008 Mercury Sable, and tried it in every similar car I?ve run across, I can attest to this as well. SHEESH!!!

According to another poster, he said, ?My dad and I parked my 2000 Ford Focus?? Shouldn?t we assume that the son was driving his own car, and that the keys remained with him? I think we should also assume that there was no unusual absence of his father while they were shopping together, as none was noted from what I recall.

Let?s also note that the model year is different than yours ? it was a 2000 model. A quick search reveals that 2000 was the first year that the transponder key was available on the Focus. Perhaps early 2000 models came without it, or it was only offered on certain trim levels. (Hell, maybe he bought the car thinking it was a 2000 and it?s really a year older.) Additionally, you don?t need the transponder to open the door. Maybe someone got into it, thinking it was theirs, and when they discovered it wasn?t, THEY decided to play a prank by putting it into neutral and pushing it across the parking lot.

One other very rare possibility ? the transponder doesn?t need to be IN the ignition, it needs to be near it. Maybe there?s a slim (albeit very slim) chance that he had a spare ignition key in the car for times when he wanted to loan the car to someone. Conceivably, if it were close enough, the car would start without a transponder key in the ignition.