Shock Sensor Hell

I’ve posted about this once before, but I never posted a follow-up. Mazda did finally get my alarm system working, with the shock sensor. It took six months. Six months that were a pain in my arse. Here is how it went.

  1. I buy my RX-8, and order a shock sensor upgrade before I even left the lot.
  2. One week later the part is in, and I take my car in. They install the part, but it won’t calibrate. They order a new one and give me back my car.
  3. A week later the new one comes in. They install it. Still not working. Someone touches it and realizes it is hot to the touch. They yank it and call Mazda. Mazda says that they need to re-work the wiring diagram for my model of car. They give me my car back again.
  4. A few weeks later, they claim to have an updated wiring diagram. I take my car in. They install the sensor.
  5. I notice pretty much immediately that my car doors no longer auto-lock. (While this is not the default setting, it is an optional setting I had activated during one of my service trips.) The shock sensor is also so sensitive it goes off for loud mufflers and stereos.
  6. I took my car in to have the shock sensor sensitivity tuned down, and to have the auto-locking re-enabled. They tuned down the sensor, but could not get auto-locking to work.
  7. The car alarm would still go off at every rumble, which is a pain in the arse when there is a hangout for a local bike club just down the street. So, I take it in again and inquire as to why the auto-lock isn’t working still.
  8. Joe from the dealership tells me that Mazda engineers have installed a shock sensor into a 2007 GT model, and they have auto-locking doors working. They have advised/authorized him to replace the alarm module. I schedule to take my car in…
  9. I take my car in, they replace my alarm module, and auto-locking still isn’t working. Mazda decides to send an engineer to look at it later that week. They won’t let me take my car home in the interim. This is the first time I get pissed. My car had been in the shop more times than I could count, but being told they were not going to release it to me finally flipped my anger switch.
  10. Mazda engineer gets there. Does stuff… Decides it is the shock sensor, that it must have been damaged back at number 3. They are going to order a new one, and I can’t have my car back yet… This means I have a crappy rental over the weekend.
  11. They finally declare it to be fixed. Six months after the first attempt to install the sensor. Nine days after I brought it in that last time. All for a $60 part.

At least at the end of the ordeal the shock sensor now works correctly: if you thump the glass it goes off, but if five Harley motorcycles drive down the street it doesn’t even chirp, and the doors auto-lock again. Still, it was one hell of an ordeal to add a shock sensor.

Next up… All the fun and games of my passenger side air-bag system malfunctioning…

-Chris Knight

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