Keyless entry/ignition problem in Tinley ‘seems to be fixed’
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2013 2:40PM
Tinley officials are trying to determine what is causing some sort of electronic dead zone where car FOBs stop working as seen near Kohl's in Brookside Marketplace Monday, March 11, 2013, in Tinley Park. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:40AM
The Bermuda Triangle-like mystery at a Tinley Park shopping center — where cars’ keyless entry and ignition systems had been failing recently — has been solved, a village official said.
Blame the problem on frequency interference caused by malfunctioning automatic door sensors and possibly the sensors that detect when merchandise is being stolen from a store, said Pat Carr, Tinley Park’s director of emergency management and 911 communications.
Several shoppers at Brookside Marketplace, 191st Street and Harlem Avenue, had reported that they either couldn’t get back into their cars or the cars wouldn’t start, and some had their vehicles towed only to find out they worked fine once they were out of the area.
“It was a radio or frequency interference type of thing,” Carr said Friday. “The frequencies autos work off of are in the 300- to 350-megahertz range, and they can come into play with some of these automatic door and security systems.”
Problems were reported by owners whose vehicles were parked near Kohl’s department store, he said. The last reported problem was Sunday.
Carr said the automatic door and anti-theft sensors of stores “operate on a similar frequency and it looks like they might have been out of adjustment. We did some research on this, and it has happened before in different parts of the country. When they go awry or malfunction, they send out signals on the same frequency range, and they go out 75 to 300 feet.”
That distance reaches the parking lot.
Nearby radio towers were ruled out as the cause because the problem was isolated to that parking lot, he said.
“We’ve talked to the management of the stores and they’ve checked their systems. We’ve had no problems since last Sunday,” Carr said. “There was a glitch in the system and it seems to have been fixed.”