The Mystery Continues: Why Do Car Remotes Not Work In Part Of The City?

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — No one knows why, but there’s a part of our area where car remotes have stopped working reliably. Sometimes you can’t lock your car. Other times you can’t unlock it.

It’s an intermittent “dead zone” covering a two-block radius of Yonkers — roughly near the intersection of Yonkers and Page avenues.

CBS 2’s Lou Young demonstrated to curious onlookers on Tuesday. Cars were turned off, keys were removed from ignitions and buttons were pressed.

In many cases, nothing happened.

The same was the case with WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane, who encountered many people with puzzled looks on their faces.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

For whatever reason, a section of Yonkers Avenue in the Gramatan section of the city has become a dead zone for remotes.

The problem has been affecting mourners at the local funeral home and customers at the hardware store.

“Sometimes it wipes out a whole strip of cars in the lot,” said Mike Ruggiero, owner of the F. Ruggiero & Sons funeral home.

“It actually happens to our own hearse and limousine,” Ruggiero told 1010 WINS reporter Steve Sandberg.

“People can’t get in their cars. We’ve had to push people down the street 200 or 300 yards to get them out of this little area,” added Marden Hardware store owner Eric Marden. “It’s really bad for business because a lot of customers, you know, they don’t really want to come anymore because they know they’re going to get locked out.”

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg On The Story

The issue is even impacting a nearby mini-mart.

“I’m losing business for this reason,” owner Andy Singh said.

The dead zone has been happening since January, and at first glance people tended to blame the building across the street, which has cell phone towers. However, technicians have been saying that’s not the problem.

“They say there’s some low-frequency around that’s interfering with the car remotes,” business owner Naveet Bavatia said.

Experts CBS 2’s Young spoke with said cell phone equipment is an unlikely source for the interference and that the problem is more likely a by-product of some appliance or machine operating in the area. Police tend to agree and have called in the Federal Communications Commission to investigate.

But in the meantime, the cops have a public service message:

“I would remind the public that if you’re going to be parking in this area make sure your car is locked. Your remote may not be working and you may think your car is locked when it isn’t,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said.

Engineers suggest if you know where the remote antenna is on your car you can put the key transmitter right up to it, to overcome any interference.

Or, you could just use your key.

Have you experienced this problem? Share your story in the comments section below …

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