I Did It Again

I confessed a few months back to going in the corner market for a couple of things. I then walked out, hit the unlock button, and sat down in a obviously unlocked Mazda 3 that was the same color (Titanium) as my Kia Forte. Tuesday evening I did the same thing at the same location with a same color Honda Civic. The young lady sitting in the passenger seat was surprised but thankfully not frightened. I apologized and stated my car was in the next space. She said "that’s OK they really look the same ". I realize it is due to established aerodynamic design but if her Husband/Boyfriend had been exiting the store behind me it could have been ugly.

You could not do that to my vehicle because if I leave my wife in the vehicle while I go in the store all the doors are locked. The other thing is I park as far away from other cars as possible.

Hopefully not ugly, I meet more nice people than grumpy people, I have trouble finding the correct car sometimes also.

It’s one reason we bought a bright red car. It’s such an incredibly bright red it’s hard to mistake for anything else except under those hideous yellow sodium lights that make colors disappear. The next year Hyundai changed to a more mundane red, but I’m very glad we got the one we did. Very cheerful, as well as distinctive. I believe it’s called ‘Lava Red’, and was replaced by the innocuous ‘Geranium Red’. Ho-hum, but still better than silver or gray. It’s always interesting to guess color trends from cars at the auto show. a few years ago there were all those copper/orange cars. Before that they tried to sell green, and about 15 years ago there were lots of purples and publish reds (they sold poorly). This year there were quite a few deep reds and several in various shades of brown, from deep chocolate to taupe. Also a lot of brown/caramel interiors, often in two shades. Rather pretty, some of those, and a nice change from solid black.

I am very conscious of my car so never had mistaken it but not my wife. I have taught her to use the key to unlock the car every time. I also caution her to look inside the car before getting in. Even if it is her car but there is someone else in it, she shouldn’t be getting in.

Years ago I had a business trip to Barberton Ohio. I had rented a Ford Galaxy at Cleveland airport and parked it in the client company’s parking lot for visitors. I finished my meetings and was about to leave, unlocked the Galaxy and found a suitcase in the backseat. I never do that, everything goes in the trunk. The suitcase belonged to a guy from Denver, Colorado, further deepening the mystery. The trunk was empty.

I looked around and sure enough, my identical Ford was parked a few stalls over. Returning the car at the Hertz counter I mentioned this event and got a mere shrug from the clerk who told ne that “Ford had only a few combinations of keys” and this happened frequently. Hertz must have gotten a good deal on the same model car in the same color green!

I had a similar incident on a business trip. I opened the door of the rental car with the key fob, but the ignition wouldn’t turn with my key. I eventually figured out that it was the Program Manager’s rental and then found my car.

Back in the '80s, I walked up to a truck just like my '79 Toyota longbed, put the key in, unlocked it, and got in… the key actually worked in the other guy’s truck. I realized that there was different stuff inside, looked more carefully and realized I was in the wrong truck, got out, locked it back up, and left. Stuff happens. Really weird stuff sometimes.

My daughter will often head toward the wrong big silver suv when I’m waiting in a lot full of others to pick her up…now that there’s funny.

Docnick: I parked my rental Corolla in a large parking lot. When I returned there were 6 identical Toyotas parked in the same area! I remembered I had a remote entry fob. My car flashed it’s lights and solved the dilemma.

jtsanders: It sounds like I could theoretically have been faced with 6 Toyotas flashing their lights!

the same mountainbike: I parked my 1986 Ford E-350 work vehicle, unlocked, started my 1971 Ford Mustang, and drove home. At my front door I was missing the house key and realized I was holding the van key. When I compared the vehicle keys made 15 years apart they were identical. Really weird stuff indeed!

Hmmmmmmm it makes me wonder exactly how common this (duplicate keys for different vehicles) was before chips were installed. Maybe it wasn’t as uncommon as I would have thought.

Duplicate keys were so common ( 5 tumblers and 5 depths ) that we would try out the keys in our own pockets before slim-jiming a customer’s truck.

Twice? Sounds like sarge subconsciously wishes he owned another make of car…


I don’t have a key fob, but I do lock the car.

If the wife is in the truck waiting, I leave the keys in and the door unlocked.
My luck, if they stole the truck, they would still leave her behind!!!


I live in a county with approximately half a million residents. I grew up (mostly) in an adjacent county with only about 9,000. When I was a kid, GM cars all had ignition switches that could be left in an unlocked position. No key needed, unless you clicked the switch into ‘lock’. It was common to leave car doors unlocked as well as switches. Sometimes folks even left the windows open.

My small county’s sheriff had department business in the larger county. He drove his own 4-door 1955ish Chevy since there was only one sheriff’s car, and the deputy needed it. When he exited the big county’s courthouse, he got into “his” Chevy and drove it the hour home. Upon exiting the car, he realized he had driven the wrong car home. He quickly called the big county sheriff’s department to confess to his “crime”. Sure enough, the missing car had been reported stolen, but its owner had not discovered the duplicate sitting nearby.

sadly, I haven’t found another car that looks like my worn out Sentra … on the road anyway.

Back in the 70’s I hitch hiked… Drinking and walk ing to town one nite, a nice man pulled over, we thought, to give us a ride… then we noticed the uniform and the cage between the front and back seats.

MG McAnick: The county where I grew up was similar although it contained the state capitol which probably raised the population to around 200,000. I had 3 Chevrolets with that type of ignition switch. In the semi rural area where I lived people who locked anything were considered strange. The unwritten rule was “If it doesn’t belong to you, don’t mess with it”. The exception was an unattended vehicle with window(s) down and a rain shower. Of course it was common courtesy to roll the window(s) up. That’s something no longer possible with todays power windows. Of course my AH Sprite Mk 1 and MGA roadster had no door locks or roll up windows. I have no idea if the door locks worked in my 1996 Miata. Why risk some moron slicing the $600+ top to steal my $2 cassette tape.

My Corolla looks like a lot of other Corollas, which there are lots of here in San Jose, so that happens to me from time to time. Usually it is somebody else with a similar appearing Corolla who’s trying to open the lock on my car to get in, and can’t figure out why their key won’t work.

insightful: The Mazda was worn and neglected with a badly cracked windshield but the Honda was nice. So was the young lady!

That happened to me too, I went shopping came out and hit the unlock button I had bags in my hand and I’m pulling on the door handle and a bit confused. I happen to look over to my left and there was my car. It was a gray accord so you can imagine how many gray accords are out there.