Motormouth: Break into car, then break into garage?

Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Business News

Q: So, most new vehicles have a built-in programmable garage door opener. When the vehicle is locked and someone breaks into the vehicle, does the opener work?

T.B., Chicago

A: Good question, but beyond my area of expertise. I turned to Liftmaster, a major maker of garage door openers.

“On some vehicles,” Liftmaster’ Kelly Shumaker said, “power is applied all the time to the UGDO (Universal Garage Door Opener). In this case, it’s always operable no matter what state ignition is in.

With others, “power is applied only when ignition is on. In this case, UGDO won’t work unless you have the key, or in the unlikely scenario that someone hot wires the car – which in modern vehicles is much harder to do. A newer option is a cloud-based system with which the driver has access to operate the garage door from almost anywhere."

“In this scenario your phone would be tethered in the vehicle So, you wouldn’t be able to (open the door) unless the driver left their phone in the vehicle. Even when there’s two layers of security, you need to be able to turn on the car and unlock the phone for this to work.”


Q: A friend of mine from Colorado drives a Corvette. As you know, Corvette owners do not like front license plates, so he does not have one on. Well, he got stopped by the Colorado Highway Patrol. The trooper said, “Do you know why Colorado issues two plates?” His reply, and it did not go over well, was: “In case you lose one.”

T.S., Morris, Minnesota

A: I have a hunch he got the trooper’s autograph.

Q: I understand that "classic" vehicles are not required to have front license plates in Minnesota.


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