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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering if anyone can help us. Our Vauxhall Ampera 2012 plate (love the car) has ‘shutdown’. I drove car home, got out it beeped to remind me to power down, so I plugged in, then powered down and then locked the car from the keyfob. Did it do its little flash at being locked and did the light come on when I plugged in- I can’t remember. Next day have come to the car and it seems to have completely shutdown. Neither key fob opens the door remotely or in the door lock. It hasn’t unlocked. I can unplug it and no alarm sounds. So I have a car that I can not even get into, through doors, boot or bonnet, let alone drive. Help!!
 

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This sounds like a flat 12v battery.
In theory the drivers door opens with the manual key, you can then open the bonnet (or tailgate from the inside) and jump start or charge / change the battery. Under the bonnet are the connections for jumpstarting, the battery is under the tailgate floor.
There is note in the manual about the locks :-
Lock cylinders
Designed to free-wheel if they are
forcefully rotated without the correct
key or if the correct key is not fully
inserted. To reset, turn cylinder with
the correct key until its slot is vertical,
remove key and then re-insert it. If the
cylinder still free-wheels, turn the key

through 180° and repeat operation.

If you haven't already seen it this thread describes opening the tailgate with a flat battery but you still have to get in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Spiny, we wondered about the battery and happy to change it. Which then leads us to -how do we get in? See your note on lock free wheeling- it isnt (life is never that simple!) So can anyone help us with suggestions about how to get in the car? Thanks
 

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Hi,
It maybe that the 12volt battery in the boot is low/faulty. It seems that they only have a 2 to 3 year life span before needing replacing, or at least testing for state of charge.
A low 12volt battery can cause the issues you seem to be having along with other problems. Just research the forum for more info.
The actual key blade on the key fob should be able to get you into the driver's door and then you can open the bonnet and attach a jump pack or jump leads to the terminals in the engine bay.
Maybe this will give the car enough voltage to power on and start up. If so you should consider getting a new AMG battery.
Good luck.
Steve.
 

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Thanks Spiny, we wondered about the battery and happy to change it. Which then leads us to -how do we get in? See your note on lock free wheeling- it isnt (life is never that simple!) So can anyone help us with suggestions about how to get in the car? Thanks
The key is mechanical and is intended for this circumstance. Is there any chance the lock is frozen? Pure speculation but if the area your in has a hard frost you could try warming the lock area (hot water?) Otherwise do you have a breakdown service like the AA/RAC?
 

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Incidentally your the 2nd person this month to suffer a dead 12v battery. Weirdly almost a year ago (same time of year) I experienced the exact same thing. There was no obvious explanation, and the issue did not really re-occur. I suspect some environmental interference caused the cars keyless entry system to go berserk and drain the battery, but obviously cannot bring any evidence for this. I don't think its simply the cold, as I had no issues in other colder weather - and the car had only been left a few hours without driving. EDIT: I think you may be at least the 3rd person to have this on here within last two weeks.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
Tesla Model 3 P
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The only suggestion I have is that if the key has never been tried in the lock before then it could be a second-hand key that the car has been programmed to accept without the actual blade being replaced with one that will open the door. Do you have a spare key you can try? Does the key appear to slip into the slot cleanly without any sticking? It might be that some debris is inside it and stopping the key either being correctly inserted or sticking one of the key tumblers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The only suggestion I have is that if the key has never been tried in the lock before then it could be a second-hand key that the car has been programmed to accept without the actual blade being replaced with one that will open the door. Do you have a spare key you can try? Does the key appear to slip into the slot cleanly without any sticking? It might be that some debris is inside it and stopping the key either being correctly inserted or sticking one of the key tumblers?
Thanks everyone so far.
Interesting, the car is second hand so have no idea about the history of the keys. We have never actually tried manually unlocking the door with either key until now. Both keys slip in easily enough and turn about 1/4 ie 90degrees. Is this what we should expect or more?
 

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Yep, same here, dead battery too.

Regarding unlocking the car - have you ever tried opening the car with they key before? It's understandable if you haven't, as there's very little reason to do so.
Have you been able to rule out a frozen lock, or isn't it practical to do that?

I'm not aware of any emergency bonnet release methods that would allow access to the jump start terminals under the bonnet, and can't find any reference in the Ampera Service Manual for opening the bonnet without access to the car interior.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
Tesla Model 3 P
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Thanks everyone so far.
Interesting, the car is second hand so have no idea about the history of the keys. We have never actually tried manually unlocking the door with either key until now. Both keys slip in easily enough and turn about 1/4 ie 90degrees. Is this what we should expect or more?
Yes, 90 degrees and you should feel a bit of resistance when you are activating/deactivating the lock so try turning it 90 degrees clockwise and then pull the handle, if that does not work then try 90 degrees anti-clockwise and try the handle.
Check that the lights have not been left switched on instead of automatic. When my car was in the garage for an MOT once they left the lights switched on manually and flattened the 12v battery.
 

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Hi,
Just clutching at straws here, are all the other doors and boot fully shut and not half latched? Might interfere with the central locking.
Are the batteries in the key fobs ok?
If there wasn't a green charging light when you had the car plugged in could that be a related issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone, going to head towards bed now. Retried opening car with keys as h8ten describes still no joy (and no half closed doors/ boot :( )
Conclusion: dead/flat battery- see lots of helpful threads to resolve this. Keys: car is secondhand so unknown history about lock, think we'll be calling the AA to get either under bonnet or in car (and then pleading about not damaging car as NHS keyworker and need it to get to work!) Mind you will have a quick try to get under bonnet with this bit of aluminium i've found...
As I said- thanks everyone for all your help.
Still love the car
 

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This is interesting because the same thing has just happened to me, car was fully charged during Friday night, unplugged and left sitting on the drive all day Saturday, then at the most inappropriate time of 2am Sunday morning the alarm siren was going off, i had to go outside to try and stop the noise, remote barely operated the doors but i eventually got them open but the car was completely dead nothing on the screens etc. locked it back up and went to bed, luckily no more noise from the alarm. (Apparently the siren was the power sounder, designed to operate if the battery is disconnected while the car is not switched on or not unlocked, i.e. someone trying to steal it) and in my case the car thought the battery had been disconnected because it had gone down below a certain level of charge.
Sunday day time went out to the car neither remote would open the doors so i concluded that the car was not interacting with the remotes, put the key in the drivers door and opened it with ease, opened the bonnet and connected a battery charger to the terminals in the engine bay as described in the manual, once that had received a bit of power i could open the boot to get to the battery, connected the charger directly to the battery and have left it charging over night. My intensions are to periodically check the voltage of the battery to make sure its holding charge otherwise i'll be buying a new 12v battery.
All this proves is that your 12v battery needs to be in tip top condition for the car to operate correctly. And at this time of year it's hard on any car battery, so maybe a periodic trickle charge would ward off electrical problems with your Ampera?
 

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2015 Ampera Positiv MY12
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@Garry TheBiz had a dead battery but he replaced it and it still went dead. @chardanuel and @Matt120 had dead batteries, but I wonder in these latter two cases whether the car had been used much, to allow the car to charge the 12v battery, or had they been getting progressively lower due to lockdown? Or were they the earlier Amperas which don't trickle charge the 12V whilst plugged in?
 

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I think it's the cold killing off the batteries, although in my case I think I have a rouge accessory draining the 12V which I wouldn't normally notice as the car is used every day, multiple times per day so get's plenty of top up charge to the 12V. I think the cold spell has caused the 12V to drop too low between top-ups.

I wish I could offer a suggestion to gain access to the interior or under the bonnet, but I'm out of ideas. I hope the AA manage to gain access for you without causing any damage
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update
The AA man took all of 2 minutes to get into the car easily....umm! So up went the bonnet, a little bit of juice and we could get in the boot where the battery had 1% charge in it. Battery re-charged ok and all seems well for now.
Why did it flatten- I had driven it 50m the day before which it gets 3 x week as a minimum. I only ever use automatic headlights, its been cold but the car stands in the brick&stone built garage. The best guess is that when I plugged it in before powering the car down I initiated something then, whether a relay somewhere didn't shutdown properly overnight or what, who knows as I don't plan repeating that situation again to find out! Curiously my manual says I can start the car with the car plugged in when it is very cold but my car wont play that game so maybe doing it in reverse at the end of a journey, so to speak, didn't work either.
Anyway we are up and running again so thank you very much everyone for all your thoughts and suggestions.
 

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Great to hear it's up and running, next I guess is the mystery of the keys which needs solving at least for piece of mind .
 
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