Thursday, November 22, 2012

Will Miss #503 - no obnoxious car lock sounds

I will admit that I didn't live in an area in Tokyo where everyone had a car. That being said, I did live next door to several people with cars as well as a stone's throw (literally) from a business which had about 8 vehicles coming and going from its lot all day. I also walked around Tokyo for hours and hours (likely thousands) and experienced many people parking their cars and presumably locking them. One thing I never experienced was the sound of a car horn or alarm loudly hooting once like an errant mechanical fart when someone automatically locked their vehicle. In the U.S., obnoxious confirmation noises as people lock their cars by remote are everywhere.

I don't know if I just didn't happen to walk by anyone with said sounds enabled, didn't notice them, if the noises on Japanese cars when remotely locking up aren't as obnoxious*, or if the Japanese just didn't lock their vehicles because they thought it was safe, but I certainly appreciate now that I didn't have to put up with this particular type of random noise pollution while living in Tokyo.

I miss the lack of obnoxious car locking sounds.

*Note that I suspect (but am not sure that) this was the case. My husband and I bought a Toyota Prius as our car upon returning to the U.S. and it does not use a loud chirp or (even worse) a horn blow. It has a much mellower relatively subdued double beeping noise. I wonder if Japanese car makers offer a more refined solution because their consumer market wouldn't put up with such jarring noises, but I have no way of knowing without more experience with Japanese cars.


  1. We turned off the locking honk on our Subaru here in the States (now it just...locks), so if a quieter beep (or none at all) isn't standard in Japan, perhaps people just turn them off. They are obnoxious.

  2. My current car beeps the horn if I push the remote and the doors have not locked - for example, if one of them is open or ajar. Otherwise it just flashes the lights.

  3. My Volkswagen makes a honk noise even if you use the key to lock it (which I always do because the remote is broken). It's irritating and as far as I know, you can't turn it off. It's embarrassing when I get home late at night and know I may be waking up my neighbors.

  4. My Suzuki Escudo, in Japan, makes no noise when locked or unlocked. when the remote is used, it briefly flashes the parking lamps, but remains silent. I've never heard any noise other than that of the lock mechanisms themselves (a subdued "clack") from any car in Japan, and I'm around cars quite a lot.

  5. Thanks to everyone for commenting.

    Hirayuki: I don't know if people turn them off or if they are off by default (which would be a much better design). Somehow, I think customer service in Japan wouldn't put the onus on the customer to do such a thing. They tend to think very carefully about such things in Japan.

    Belthazar: What sort of car do you have? I'm pretty sure that the cars I'm hearing the most noise from are Volkswagons and Fords.

    Dennis: Yes, I know that noise! And, yes, I can understand your embarrassment. It's not your fault, of course! However, it's really bad design. If people need to confirm that the door is locked, they can try the handle to make sure. We have a subdued beep when we lock ours, but we still grab the handle to make sure anyway!

    Balefire: Your experience absolutely confirms mine. I never heard any noises in Japan either!

  6. I drive a Toyota. Which, I couldn't help but notice, is a Japanese manufacturer...

  7. Belthazar: My guess is that they set them up differently for the US than they do for Japan. I've driven Toyotas and Nissans here (Kanto), too, and they don't make noise when locking/unlocking.

    Many newer cars do make a sound when backing, some trucks have a recorded voice announcing they're backing--and sometimes when they're making a turn--to alert pedestrians (a good thing on narrow streets and parking lots). Vehicles also buzz or beep if you leave your lights on or the key in the ignition and then open the door, but that's inside the vehicle and not really loud.

  8. I manually lock my car upon exiting to avoid the obnoxious locking sound. I am not aware of a disabling feature for it, but I will have the hubs look into it.

    Another annoyance I am sure you have experienced since being back are those god awful aftermarket car alarms that go off if you fart within 20 feet of the car. It cycles through a series of obnoxious sounds. There are several of these types of alarms in my apartment car port area. :<

  9. I drive a Suzuki Alto and it does the short car horn beep when I lock it. It's highly embarrassing because people always look round, thinking someone was trying to alert them of something. Its presence, despite being a Japanese car, could be influenced by the fact that its marketed outside of Japan (mine was assembled in India).

    I usually walk quite a way off before locking my car because of that reason.

  10. You're right. I never notice that noise here in Japan. That said, I don't think it's due to the idea that Japanese people won't put up with noise. Japan has the most noise pollution of any country I've ever visited. I'm amazed that convenience store workers and grocery store employees don't all walk out en masse at the same jingle being played all day for weeks on end.

  11. I didn't know about that. But I honestly, I think its funny to hear a car lock sounds on japanese cars


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