How can I Prevent my Car from Starting?

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  #1  
Old 04-11-11, 02:08 PM
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How can I Prevent my Car from Starting?

I know, sounds weird right? I share my car with my grandfather, he's 85 years old. His age is starting to catch up to him and I have serious concerns about his ability to safely drive.... oh, and did I mention he also drinks A LOT! I worry about his safety and for every other driver on the road when he's behind the wheel. And "no", I'm not going to take his keys away from him because he'll make my life miserable.

As a temporary solution I've been disconnecting the cables to my car's battery. My fear is that disconnecting the cable will prematurely wear the battery down. I had both cables disconnected over night and when I went to start the next day, it didn't turn over right way when previously it's been running fine.

So, what's my question? Is there a fuse I can pull or some other "easy" thing I can do that will prevent the car from starting so my Grandfather doesn't (seriously) kill himself or someone else on the road from either poor reflexes or DWI. Again, I will not take his keys away. As long as he thinks the car is just acting up, he doesn't fuss (much).

1998 Saturn SL1

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-11-11, 02:37 PM
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Does he see or care about the registration, inspection or insurance costs?

My wife's father lived in an a living facility and left the car in the lot and rarely drove it (thank goodness). One day my wife showed him the new insurance billing along with the notice for a new required inspection. We offered to buy it and he could put the money in a "cookie jar" and then have a taxi shuttle him around. He spent about $100 for cabs, but then decided he would take the community bus with the other people and enjoyed it more than his independence.

The fear of a new drivers test also had an influence on him also.

Just a few thoughts and items that may help in you situation.

Dick
 
  #3  
Old 04-11-11, 02:37 PM
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There should be a fuse marked IGN or similar...but you really just need to take the plunge and tell him no. Get some family members and be non-confrontational ("Grampa, we love you and will take you anywhere you need to go" kinda stuff) and explain to him why you are concerned.
 
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Old 04-11-11, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. The problem is that I'm living in his house, helping him out, etc, etc. He's really old school, grew up with 5 brothers so any semi-confrontation and he turns into a verbally abusive A-hole. He goes nuts when he thinks his TV remote has been stolen (then he finds it in one of his drawers where he put it). I'll be moving soon, so once I'm outside of every-day ear shot, then I'll more directly address his issues. Till then I need my sanity.

Anyway.... I saw a fuse marked (something like, ) 30A IGN . Is that the one you're talking about? Someone else had mentioned that if I left the battery connected but pulled a fuse, that gramps could actually wear the batter down if he keeps cranking the ignition key. Does that make any sense? He probably wouldn't try to start it more than half-a-dozen times in one sitting.

Other part of the question. I had the car checked out a month ago and the Electrical came back A-OK. So, if I disconnect the batter, either 1 or both cables, that shouldn't affect the battery's life should it? Isn't it just like going back on the shelf?

Still, popping a fuse sounds a lot easier unless gramps could muck something up.
 
  #5  
Old 04-11-11, 05:42 PM
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Reflexes are something the DMV can deal with during his (hopefully) annual driving competency test. If your state doesn't have such a requirement, contact your state representatives, senators, head of the highway patrol, governor, whoever, and press the issue.
As for him driving while intoxicated, if you don't take steps to absolutely prevent that from happening, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes while attorneys for an injured party go looking for contributing parties. As far as I'm concerned, you are enabling his behavior and would be just as guilty as if you were the DUI. Wanna bet on the likelihood I could find a judge who would rule that way? And, no, IANAL. If you're too weak to stop him, just call the police next time he heads out.
 
  #6  
Old 04-11-11, 06:18 PM
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Pull the coil wire.

Mike NJ
 
  #7  
Old 04-11-11, 06:49 PM
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let's start with being respectful to the age.
yes, no matter how a-hole age is, it has to be respected.
also, we are all here headed that way and fast. none of us gets younger, but all get older.
as you can tell, i am getting older either.

now, as far as your battery is connected, he will kill it cranking engine. and if he's capable of opening the hood, you never know if he's not capable of reinstalling coil wire or fuse. he-he, i have done some stuff back in my life they did not want me to....

i have good solution for you, but it requires some $$

so, here's solution. find a good auto electrician and have general power kill switch installed and hidden. switch that kills entire power supply to everything. we had ours hidden all the way underneath driver seat, one had to go all the way far back under to find it. in this manner, nothing can run your battery down.

also, something's not right with your battery. back in my country, parking car overnight in the street was=to it being stolen. i routinely was pulling battery out and keeping it at my flat overnight. never had issues with it running down thereafter.

guys, it was fun country. you park your car in a city street, next thing you do is you remove and hide wipers, sideview mirrors, and antennas, or they will be stolen. you come back and wheels are still on - you say grace.
 
  #8  
Old 04-12-11, 03:24 AM
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I am surprised that Ladas, Trabants, and Wartburgs really needed an additional kill switch. I thought the no start condition was standard issue from the factories that kicked in after the first year of ownership to avoid anyone taking them, even the owners.
 
  #9  
Old 04-12-11, 09:42 AM
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They make a switch that goes in the batt cable that kills all electrical to the car. Check with your local parts store.
 
  #10  
Old 04-12-11, 10:52 AM
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But is disabling the car a good idea? if you use the kill switch for instance are you ready for his reaction to his possible belief you did not take care of the car and now it won't start. What if you aren't there and he calls a tow truck?
 
  #11  
Old 04-12-11, 11:52 AM
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The first thing to do is get at the source, because as he ages it will only get worse and grind on everyone until he realizes he should not be driving. I had to buy my Father-in-law's car twice and find a reason for him to give in on his own terms.

equinox - I thought that Ladas and similar Fiat cousins grew on trees. My friend in Minsk always took off the wipers to keep them out of the sun to prolong the life because they now cost and much as he paid for his old Lada new when he finally got to the top of the buyers list.

Another friend in Warsaw had two different security systems/kills that had to be deactivated in proper order and then jacked up the car (Buick) and took the wheel inside at night to prevent it from ending up in Moscow (not many casual thieves run around with a spare tire with matching bolts). We had a female Russian exchange student (16 year old, going on 30) from Moscow that had no trouble starting my wife's car since she had a Mercedes in Moscow to go with her parent's 2 Mercedes and her 13 year old brother's Mercedes. (Georgian mafia doctor's family). - I love to travel in the former USSR and appreciate the people and where they cam from in the last 20 years. Hopefully off to the Ukraine this summer.

Bottom line - Go to the source of the problem slowly and make the driving not a "macho" item that has to be continued. It takes a while.

Dick
 
  #12  
Old 04-12-11, 01:09 PM
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Concretemasonry actually I work 3 weeks each month in Europe and am in Germany at the moment. I used to work for GM and also Opel in Europe and was one of the founding people at the Eisenach plant in former East Germany just after the wall came down. I know all the European products well and even today drive them all in Europe. Was just having a little fun in between more serious other DIY forum postings I was making on other topics.
 
  #13  
Old 04-12-11, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by retired wrench View Post
They make a switch that goes in the batt cable that kills all electrical to the car. Check with your local parts store.
ditto. heavy duty switch.

and i agree. it's cruel either. but then again, better than someone plowing through the coffe shop and slaughtering a dozen or so innocents. no really good solution.
 
  #14  
Old 04-20-11, 04:15 PM
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Fuses are to easy for people to trouble shoot. Look in the owners manual for the fuel pump relay and ign relay. They are cubes and easy to pull and install. but would take more than a beginner to trouble shoot.
 
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