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'14 CTS 2.0 Luxury AWD, 2017 XT5 AWD
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Discussion Starter #1
I've had 7 new Caddy's in the last 20 years and had a first happen yesterday. I parked in a parking lot and left the car for about 8 hours. When I returned the door would not open. Nothing I did with the remote would unlock the door. I noticed that CUE screen did light a little bit along with a few other dash lights. Figured battery was not dead. My wife had her key with her and it was of no help either, but it did tell me it was not the battery in my remote as 2 remotes could not die the same day. Pulled out my phone and put my problem into google. It came up with a video that showed how to get into the car. There is a side button on the remote that you push and the top will come off with a key attached. You use the key to push into a hole at the bottom of the cover that is the right side(driver door) of the handle assembly. It will pop off with a little pushing and pulling. Then there is the keyhole. Once inside I pushed the start button and nothing happened. DIC said not finding any remote. So I went back to the video. It showed that you have to physically place the fob in a indention on the bottom of the center console. Which I did and then noticed the DIC was showing, ATTEMPTED THEFT on the screen! I positioned the fob perfectly with the indention on the bottom of the center console. Pushed the button and the car started!

So when I got home I took out the ole manual and found out there is an Immobilizer in our vehicles. If someone tries to lift or tow the car it will immobilize the car, which means it will completely shut down. I wonder if someone uses a variable signal generator on the door lock system, does that shut it down too. There was not a scratch anywhere on the car.

Anyhow, this is all good stuff to know before it happens to you.
 

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2018 XT5
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539 Posts
Now that you found out why the manufacturers spend millions of dollars including manuals in your vehicle you mite consider reading the whole thing. I bet you’d be surprised at all the new things you may learn. I’ve read mine twice over a 6 months timeframe and with the platinum edition I was surprised at something’s I have I didn’t even know.
 

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XT5
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331 Posts
Dead fob batteries! Look to your assumptions and consider the possibility you were wrong. Funny how those batteries expired simultaneously.

On a different subject, creating a hide-a-key used this procedure. Disassemble the fob and place the mechanical key in the traditional magnetic container. Now hide it someplace in the maze of plastic. Luckily I have a steel trailer hitch. Disassemble the remaining fob and slip a piece of insulating plastic on one side of the battery like a purchase with battery supplied. Hide this inactivated fob someplace easy inside the vehicle that will be obvious to you in the remote future. This activity would be more useful than reading the dumbed down, applicable to all models, lawyer rewritten operators' manual.
 

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2016 Escalade ESV, 2017 GMC Sierra 6.2
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1,283 Posts
My money is on a dead or dying vehicle battery. These vehicles do odd things when the voltage goes low. Simple jump start or battery replacement will probably fix this whole thing.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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357 Posts
Nope, this is NOT a dying car battery NOR dying fob battery. This exact thing has happened to my wifes XT5 three times before, once about a month after buying it, once about 6 months later, and once last week. This time she was stuck in crappy weather and had never gone through the process of popping off the door handle cover and programing the key herself. She had to be walked through it on the phone by the dealer service rep while she messed around in crappy weather. This is a flaw in the vehicle in some way or another that is repetitive, although not repeatable in a short time frame. Last week when it happened she was so sick of the problem she wanted me to trade it in that day as it's a major pain to get into and start your car when you're going about your daily duties. Since last week it's been working fine, not a battery issue at all for sure. Somehow the car is forgetting the link to the key fobs and needs to be retrained each time. Real stupid flaw.
 

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2017 XT5, Platinum, Dark Granite Metallic, 20" Ultra-Bright
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@greyghost04 : Thank you for the details for how you gained access and started your car. It is useful for all of us to have a refresher for what to do in a similar situation. I agree with @Cutlass that the primary suspect might be your battery. One indicator is if your start/stop is not engaging recently. If the battery is in need of a charge, that is the first symptom. If the battery is OK, @philly88 makes a good point which may be mitigated by using each of your fobs frequently.
 

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2016 Escalade ESV, 2017 GMC Sierra 6.2
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Nope, this is NOT a dying car battery NOR dying fob battery. This exact thing has happened to my wifes XT5 three times before, once about a month after buying it, once about 6 months later, and once last week. This time she was stuck in crappy weather and had never gone through the process of popping off the door handle cover and programing the key herself. She had to be walked through it on the phone by the dealer service rep while she messed around in crappy weather. This is a flaw in the vehicle in some way or another that is repetitive, although not repeatable in a short time frame. Last week when it happened she was so sick of the problem she wanted me to trade it in that day as it's a major pain to get into and start your car when you're going about your daily duties. Since last week it's been working fine, not a battery issue at all for sure. Somehow the car is forgetting the link to the key fobs and needs to be retrained each time. Real stupid flaw.
Never heard of this FOB and car losing its link or sync issue before. And now I’m curious. So what are you guys doing to program or retrain the FOB to the vehicle?
 

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2017 XT5, Platinum, Dark Granite Metallic, 20" Ultra-Bright
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The only advice I am aware of is to use the fobs. There is apparently some sort of rolling code like garage door openers for security.
 

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2017 XT5, Platinum, Dark Granite Metallic, 20" Ultra-Bright
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XT5
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Placing the fob in the indent puts it in proximity to the receptor antenna and is the manual's directive for a a low fob battery, thus the issue was spent fob batteries. The car's battery is a massive enhanced unit protected by automatic shut-down circuits. GM can open your doors for you through their on-star link: 1-800-224-1400. Hysteria and the inability to speak simple English, to follow written instructions, and to respond in the question and answer format are always potential complicating factors.
 

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2017 XT5, Platinum, Dark Granite Metallic, 20" Ultra-Bright
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Detailed description of an immobilizer event recovery:

"When the ignition mode switch is pressed, the low frequency antennas emit a challenge to the keyless entry transmitter. The transmitter receives this challenge and emits it's response as an RF message, which is received by the remote control door lock receiver. If the response is correct, vehicle starting will be allowed. If RF communication is interupted, a "No Remote Detected" message will be displayed on the DIC. In these cases, the transmitter can be placed in the transmitter pocket located in the center console, under the cupholder. The immobilizer antenna coil is located directly beneath the transmitter pocket. Placing the transmitter in the pocket will create a low powered coupling between the transmitter and immobilizer antenna, allowing communications to occur and enabling vehicle starting."

The necessity to use the transmitter pocket is not an indication of low batteries in the fob.
 

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XT5
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Well, I'd just replace the battery and move on (see p. 32, Manual):
"Starting the Vehicle with a Low Transmitter Battery-When the vehicle is started, if the transmitter battery is weak, the DIC may display NO REMOTE DETECTED or NO REMOTE KEY WAS DETECTED-PLACE KEY IN TRANSMITTER POCKET THEN START YOUR VEHICLE. The REPLACE BATTERY IN REMOTE KEY message may also be displayed."
 

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2017 XT5, Platinum, Dark Granite Metallic, 20" Ultra-Bright
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Which I did and then noticed the DIC was showing, ATTEMPTED THEFT on the screen! I positioned the fob perfectly with the indention on the bottom of the center console. Pushed the button and the car started!
Replacing the batteries is not a bad idea, but the problem experienced by @greyghost04 was more than fob batteries. Symptoms described indicate the immobilizer shut the car down.
 

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2018 Cadillac XT5, 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited
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Nope, this is NOT a dying car battery NOR dying fob battery. This exact thing has happened to my wifes XT5 three times before, once about a month after buying it, once about 6 months later, and once last week. This time she was stuck in crappy weather and had never gone through the process of popping off the door handle cover and programing the key herself. She had to be walked through it on the phone by the dealer service rep while she messed around in crappy weather. This is a flaw in the vehicle in some way or another that is repetitive, although not repeatable in a short time frame. Last week when it happened she was so sick of the problem she wanted me to trade it in that day as it's a major pain to get into and start your car when you're going about your daily duties. Since last week it's been working fine, not a battery issue at all for sure. Somehow the car is forgetting the link to the key fobs and needs to be retrained each time. Real stupid flaw.
Do you drive the car enough to keep the 12V battery charged? If not, the battery may be still good but needs to be charged. This is a common problem on cars that primarily sit and get driven infrequently, predominately on short trips. Cars with the Start/Stop function like the XT5 are especially prone to this. Modern cars will do all sorts of crazy things when the 12V battery charge is low.

I have this circumstance on both my cars since my wife and I are both retired and we drive less. I have a BatteryMINDer charger/maintainer for each car that I plug in every couple weeks to charge and maintain the battery. Below is the BatteryMINDer website. A cheaper alternative is the Battery Tender, but the BatteryMINDer is superior and has models designed specifically for AGM batteries, which the XT5 has..

https://www.batteryminders.com/car-battery-maintainer-automotive-charger
 

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2017 XT5
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171 Posts
I typically drive mine once a week and haven't had this problem, which makes me think the fob battery is the issue rather than the vehicle battery.
 

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2018 Cadillac XT5, 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited
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Yes, the XT5 gets driven at least 5km every day. about 20K / year.
Converting to miles, your XT5 would be driven at least 3.1 miles per day, about 12,427 miles per year. Depending on how many of those were short, versus longer trips, and how they were distributed, you could have a string of short trips which could result in a low 12V battery charge and the problems you are encountering. 12,427 miles per year is an average of only 34 miles per day, which is borderline short trip mileage.

As others have suggested, I think you should definitely change the batteries in both remotes and also monitor your battery State of Charge (SOC) per the chart below. Even though the green area of the chart extends down to 11.9V (40% SOC), you really want to be well above that to around 12.5V to avoid problems. If you find your battery consistently below 12.3V, you should consider using a battery charger/maintainer, or just get one and use it now since you are already having problems consistent with a low battery SOC.


Image result for Battery Voltage Chart
 

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2017 XT5, Platinum, Dark Granite Metallic, 20" Ultra-Bright
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Just this morning my XT5 told me to change the battery in my FOB with the message "REPLACE BATTERY IN REMOTE KEY" displayed on the DIC. I will do that before I have issues with the FOB.
 

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18 XT5 / 18 CTS 3.6 AWD
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Ya... I appreciate all the comments about the battery, but it's not the battery in the fob. It was changed the first time this happened. No way we go through two batteries in less than one year. In fact I've never actually had to change a battery in any fob I've owned, so two in one year is a bit ridiculous. And, since it last locked my wife out it's fine now, and that was a couple weeks ago. If it was the battery it should be acting up more now.
 
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