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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

I've been lurking in the shadows of this forum for a while, but here I am with my first post!

I bought my 2008 EX (AWD, Manual Transmission) used in October 2009. I love my E. I actually had to drive three hours to get this car in a stick, since there's just not that many used 2008's around. Like none.

Anyway, it has a few small electrical issues that I'm trying to determine whether they're problems or just quirks. I'd love your insight on these, since I'm still an E rookie.

Car Mysteriously Locks
We've been locked out of the car twice because it mysteriously locks itself. No joke. The car is off, I hop out to do something and come back to find the car locked. It's especially frustrating when unloading groceries, since I go to the tailgate/rear hatch to unload and it is inevitably locked... even though I had unlocked all doors previously. Any ideas? Is this a key fob issue, or some kind of computer glitch? I'm stumped.

Ding Dong
I unlock the car, open the drivers side door and the dome light pops on, like you would expect. But the car also does a quick, truncated "ding dong" sound, as if the keys were already in it or I had left the lights on or something. I think it's strange, because the sound is quickly cut off. Is this typical?

Tailgate Light
And finally, I think it's strange that the tailgate dome light does not come on automatically when I lift the hatch-- it only lights up when I lower the tailgate. Is this normal?

Other than these small issues, I love my E. It's fantastic in the snow, it has a great stock sound system and the interior is indestructible. I'll have this thing for a while.

Thanks in advance for shedding some light on this stuff!
 

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Ding Dong
I unlock the car, open the drivers side door and the dome light pops on, like you would expect. But the car also does a quick, truncated "ding dong" sound, as if the keys were already in it or I had left the lights on or something. I think it's strange, because the sound is quickly cut off. Is this typical?
This one is normal. The lights flash when you unlock the door, and if you open it quickly the lights are still on. Pause before opening the door to verify this. I haven't encountered the other problems, but I keep my rear hatch light in the off position.
 

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It sounds like there may be an improperly set up or installed aftermarket alarm system involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmm... I'll have to dig around to see if there's been anything installed. I don't think there is, because the dealer probably would have mentioned it.
 

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I don't think there is, because the dealer probably would have mentioned it.
The dealer might not have even known about it. Maybe it was partially removed by the previous owner, leaving the alarm's "brain' box behind to haunt you.

What do you know of the car's history? Not many people trade in 1 year old cars. They must have disliked it enough to take the financial hit on it.

Does the car have a warranty ?
 

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About the ding dong... My E does the same thing when I unlock the doors. I have a Honda installed alarm system on the car. You might have the alarm and not know it as there is no other special remote control for it.

About the doors mysteriously locking... where is your key fob? If you put it in your pocket or a bag the buttons may get pressed without your knowledge.

About the tailgate light... no clue! I have no issues with mine, it comes on as soon as I put the hatch up.
 

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BTW....sorry I forgot to welcome you earlier, and I don't want to make your new ownership experience seem so bad either.

The "ding dong" could be normal as mentioned earlier....check to see if it matches with the parking lights flashing as you open the door after using the keyless entry to unlock the car. Also, see if it does it if the car has been left unlocked.

the key fob should not function with a key in the ignition, so it shouldn't lock the doors on ya.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, ApriliaGuy-- No worries, I'm a happy camper with my new-to-me Element. And I'm happy to join the forum.

The car had a clean CarFax and still had 5k miles to go on the original warranty. It's been running like a champ, so I'm not worried there. But I will take a look this weekend to see if I can find any evidence of an aftermarket alarm system or something. Honestly, I don't exactly know what I'm looking for, but now I have an excuse to spend some time in the garage with the hood up. That counts for something.

If any of you have any insight on what I should be looking for, please share! I'll dig around online in the meantime.

Now that I've posted once... Here's another question. Does anyone have any ideas for interior storage for a standard transmission Element? I'd love a center console solution of some kind. The multi-cupholder tray thing next to the e-brake is really insufficient. The '09 Element has a stow-away box/carry-and-go type of thing, but the '08 has no place to store anything, except for the small space with a door on the roof by the map lights. I'd love to learn if anyone has found some kind of accessory storage container of some kind.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This one is normal. The lights flash when you unlock the door, and if you open it quickly the lights are still on. Pause before opening the door to verify this. I haven't encountered the other problems, but I keep my rear hatch light in the off position.
Yup, you're right. If I wait, it doesn't chime. Kind of clunky, but not a big deal. Thanks.
 

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Does your car lock you out only after you have un-locked the doors and didn't open any of them within a minute or so? Or do you drive the car, hop out to run in a store, and come back to a locked car?

I wouldn't worry too much about this one. If the first option applies it is a simple setting with either a oem or aftermarket control unit.

If the second scenario applies you can still easily get out relatively cheap as long as you stay away from the dealer.
 

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Welcome to the club!

The E will lock itself automatically. Mine will do it in about 45 to 50 seconds. The wifes E takes about 95 seconds to lock.

Take your keys with you!

As for the rear light, it sounds like the switch in not in the center position. Try to move the selector switch to the off ( left position ) then to the center ( automatic position ) then on ( right position ) then back to the center. That may clean a contact in the switch. Then give it a try.

Dom
 

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My '08 locks itself automatically too, not just after you hit the unlock button on the remote and scurry to rip one of the doors open. It locks itself any time I shut the engine off and wait a half minute or so and has already caused one moderately severe personal injury (broken ankle) last winter. This is a so called "feature" that I'd love to rip out, tie to the collar on an angry cat with untrimmed claws, and then shove it up the shirt of whichever Honda engineer dreamed it up.

This might be a legitimate "feature" if the owner had the option of choosing to use it or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My '08 locks itself automatically too, not just after you hit the unlock button on the remote and scurry to rip one of the doors open. It locks itself any time I shut the engine off and wait a half minute or so and has already caused one moderately severe personal injury (broken ankle) last winter. This is a so called "feature" that I'd love to rip out, tie to the collar on an angry cat with untrimmed claws, and then shove it up the shirt of whichever Honda engineer dreamed it up.

This might be a legitimate "feature" if the owner had the option of choosing to use it or not.
HA!

This is exactly what's happening. Thanks, folks. With my E, it's roughly 45 seconds before it locks. I'll check the manual to see if this "feature" can be disabled. Trust me, we have learned to take our keys with us!

Desinia, I'm trying to envision how this led to a broken ankle... That's awful!
 

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I've been locked out while loading bikes on the rack. Seems it locks itself if the remote was used to unlock. Since then I leave a door open or use the key instead of remote to unlock it.

What a pin in the arse
 

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Seems it locks itself if the remote was used to unlock.
This feature, PITA that it may be, is documented in the owner's manual (page 77 of the 2007 version) and hasn't changed since the Element's introduction in 2003.

It locks itself any time I shut the engine off and wait a half minute or so
This seems to be a malfunction. Is the car under warranty?
 

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I've been locked out while loading bikes on the rack. Seems it locks itself if the remote was used to unlock. Since then I leave a door open or use the key instead of remote to unlock it.

What a pin in the arse
My Hondas only re-lock themselves when I open them with the remote and then do NOT open any doors or trunk. Otherwise they remain unlocked... '99 Ody, '05 CR-V, & '07 Element all have OEM systems...
 

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My '08 locks itself automatically too, not just after you hit the unlock button on the remote and scurry to rip one of the doors open. It locks itself any time I shut the engine off and wait a half minute or so...
The first 1/2 of your description (remote unlock-must open door within 30 or 45 seconds or it will re-lock) is "normal," but the self lock after turning off the motor is weird! Never heard of that one. Even stranger that it can't be "deactivated." (Jeesh...I thought the door dinger was annoying!)

What about you other '08 owners?!

Is there an alarm system or something?!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It happened again tonight, and I paid particular attention since we've been talking about this issue... I got home from food shopping, backed into the garage and got out of the car. I opened the rear hatch and started grabbing grocery bags. While the hatch was open, I heard the doors automatically lock. It was about a minute after I shut the driver's side door. I guess I just don't see how this could be a benefit. What scenario would make this a good thing?

Getting back to the rear dome light issue, I just can't get the light to work when the top hatch is open. The light only turns on when the tailgate is lowered. Following earlier advice, I've switched the rear dome light from "on" to "door" to "off" many, many times, slowly, quickly, forcefully, etc. It still doesn't work properly.

Strange.
 
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