“I guess you’d say I’m on my way to Burma-Shave,” sings Tom Waits in the 1977 song “Burma-Shave”. But where is he going with his female friend? Somewhere, but nowhere in particular. They are just going, getting away from trouble with the law, and from a town that doesn’t have the distinction of being a dead end; it’s just “a wide spot in the road”. Burma-Shave isn’t a destination, and it isn’t even a journey, which implies some kind of specificity. Burma-Shave is the anonymous, insignificant, American ubiquity, the inland ocean in which a person could lose themselves. It is the road; or rather, it is the road-side.
There’s something nostalgically current about this story that grabs me. Maybe the viral nature of the campaign that capitalized on the baby-boomers’ generational separation from their parents via the interstate highway system that connected the east coast from the west by 5 days and a now easily-obtainable, used automobile or a ride.
I was able to knowledgeably speak with my mechanic rather than just dropping it off and waiting for the bad news. He confirmed the solenoid was gummed up as a result of my not having had an oil change in over two years (I’m terrible, I know) and $45 later I was on my way. …
I had my 2001 Volvo XC70 parked in the hospital’s garage while my son was being born. On one of my many trips to the car over those 3 days I found a set of keys I had lost and replaced long ago. Since it cost me $300 to replace them, I was happy to have a spare. I wondered if the remote would still work and tried it out. Doors locked just fine! Immobilizer doesn’t warn you when you’ve tripped it; it waits till you try to start your car.
The day we were sent home I went to the car so I could pull up front and load my wife and son. Car would not start. “Immobilizer. See Manual,” read the message board. I didn’t have a 2001 Volvo XC70 manual with me. I jumped to the conclusion that I had triggered some sort of anti-theft device by using the long lost, disabled remote, so I called my dealer. (I’ve since found a trustworthy Volvo mechanic!)
Immobilizer. See Manual.
“Have it towed to us. We’ll have you back up and running in a couple of days.” This was not an option, so I searched the internet. Lots of questions, lots of “try this” responses about this, but no answers and I needed to get my family home. So I’m posting my answer here in hopes that it will get good Google placement and inform the next poor guy who doesn’t have time to have his car towed to the dealership.
I ended up calling a friend for a ride and had the car towed. At the dealership the guy took my keys and locked/unlocked the door 5 times in a row with the remote. This reset the immobilizer and I was on my way. Obviously they couldn’t just tell me that over the phone, but good god. I hope this info can help someone else.
Volvo: Imobiliser. See Manual.
A slight difference in spelling between the American Volvo XC70 dashboard and the rest of the world, including Europeans. It is pronounced the same way, so I’m sure this post might find a few European Volvo owners who are looking to get their newborn son and his mommy home from the hospital.