Getting the Right Keys, Week 1 - 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Long-Term Road Test
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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Getting the Right Keys, Week 1

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on September 9, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

As I mentioned in my previous KeySense post, our 2017 Chrysler Pacifica was delivered to our office with two normal keys and one KeySense teen-driver/valet key that, among other parameters, limits the top speed and the audio system's maximum volume. Due to an error somewhere in the manufacturing or buying process, only the KeySense key worked with our car.

My first thought was that the keys had not been programmed. I needed to find a Chrysler dealer that could help me solve the problem. Little did I know that this would turn into a weeks-long saga (Week 2 | Week 3 | Weeks 4-6).

I grabbed the keys to the Pacifica one Thursday night and took it to my local dealer, the enticingly named Puente Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. There was no service lobby, so I stood by my car and waited for an advisor to greet me. I made eye contact with about ten people over the course of five minutes before somebody stopped by and asked if I needed anything. I gave him a rundown of the situation and asked how long it would take to get the keys programmed.

He said about 45 minutes, but he wasn't sure if the technicians had time to take me that evening. He left to check the schedule, then returned and told me there wasn't an open slot until the following Wednesday. I left immediately and rang Santa Monica CDJR, a dealer just down the street from our office. They had an opening first thing Monday, and I booked a reservation.

I arrived at my 8 a.m. appointment and spoke to my advisor, a friendly guy named Arsen. It would take about 45 minutes to an hour to program the keys, so I opted to wait in the lobby. At 9:15 I checked in to see where they were in the process. For some reason, the OBD port was not properly placed and the technicians took longer than usual to locate it. The keys were currently being programmed, Arsen said.

I waited for another 45 minutes before returning to Arsen. He replied that the keys refused the programming attempts and nobody could figure out why. The technicians were contacting Chrysler tech support to see what could be done. I went back to the lobby. Arsen appeared 15 minutes later, explaining that an ETA could not be reasonably given now that the situation was more complicated than they initially believed. I accepted a shuttle ride back to Edmunds HQ.

Arsen called Tuesday afternoon. After multiple failed attempts, the technicians deduced that the keys had already been programmed and could not be reset. Just as our commenters theorized on my previous post, the dealership we bought the Pacifica from had given us another Pacifica's keys. I walked to Santa Monica CDJR Wednesday morning and brought the minivan back to the office.

I rang up Joe from Russell Westbrook CDJR; he is the dealership's sales manager and the agent who facilitated the sale of our Pacifica. Joe was flabbergasted by the mixup and promptly set out to determine what happened. He called back a few minutes later and informed me the vehicle was a trade from Scott Robinson CDJR in Torrance and the keys were likely swapped before everything was transferred to Russell Westbrook. He left a message for the sales manager at Scott Robinson and vowed to call back when he heard more.

Joe called me back on Thursday to tell me that the vehicle actually originated at Moss Brothers CDJR in Riverside, was sold to Scott Robinson and then sold to Russell Westbrook. A sales manager at Moss Brothers found keys that could belong to our Pacifica and mailed them to the Scott Robinson dealership. Joe requested that I email a picture of the physical key inside our KeySense key fob so the manager at Scott Robinson could visually match it with those inside the mailed fobs when they arrived.

I didn't hear back until the following week. More on that in the next post.

Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 2,066 miles

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