Declaration: I did not get a single cent from the vendor, in fact they “owe” me RM5 for the discount that the technician promised me but forgot to deduct from the final bill that I paid. This article was written purely to share a useful piece of motoring information and my experience with my readers, especially for those residing in the Klang Valley.
My fourteen plus years old MPV gives us very little trouble. The major grouse is indeed the Cobra car alarm system that came with this Toyota Unser. The remote control is badly designed with buttons that are made of easily degraded rubber and the “stem” that links the chip unit that controls the remote’s function is made of the same sort of lousy cheap rubber which breaks easily. For the past twelve years, my other half, ever the pseudo-McGuyver, had been improvising by replacing the damaged “stem” with coated wires and re-purposing cut out erasers from our children’s pencil box to “re-construct” the rubber buttons. For good measure, she further protected the whole unit with a plastic bag wrapping.
Recently one of the remote control’s chip unit had had enough and died. After three trips to different car accessories vendors located near where I live, we were resigned to the fact that either we live with having just one functional car remote, or change the entire car alarm system, costing at least RM500. This was because all three vendors told me that there is no supplier for replacement remote chip units, only the casings are available in the market. I was not convinced. If I can get the casing from Lazada and Mudah, there must be a supplier of the chip set too.
Thanks to “Mr. Google”, after a couple of hours of intense “desk” research, I managed to find a company which claims (on its website) to be the specialist for car and house alarm. Not only they did have my car’s ancient alarm remote control, their website stated that they would be glad to replace any damaged unit and even quoted a price for reprogramming the replacement remote. As I could not find the age of the information contained in this website, I was not really confident of getting my problem solved. Any way, the vendor is located on the other side of the Klang Valley (from my home), 32 km and two tolls away, which dampened my hope for a solution. Nevertheless, I made the call to Awantech and was told by the office lady of this vendor to call one of her technicians who picked up my call at the second attempt.
Off I went with my other half to Kajang, from Subang Jaya. As I worked briefly at Ikram College (now Infrastructure University) about 16 years back, I sort of still recognised my way to Kajang, a town I frequented with my friends for the extended Friday lunch break back in 2001. My other half drove and I navigated (she did not like to read maps!) with Google Maps. All went well until we went passed Kajang town centre. We lost our GPS signal! But seeing New Era University College on my left, and knowing that the commercial estate where this vendor was located would be in the direction towards Bangi town (where we were heading), I decided that Google Maps without GPS was still workable and found Awantech Trading and Services at Reko Sentral. The big sign in front of the shop actually said “K-Wang” but you cannot miss the big yellow key affixed to the front of the shop as shown in the feature picture of this article.
Direction to Awantech: it is easier (but takes longer) to go via Kajang town centre. If you come from the west via the Kajang-SILK highway, exit at Kajang town (you shall skip one toll!). Go pass the Polis Station at the town centre on your left and turn right at the traffic lights… drive straight on for another 3.5 km. You should see the MRT tracks and stations being built on your left. The key landmark is New Era University College on your left (we lost our GPS signal just after this point). Reko Sentral should be another 3 km on your right. Head towards Econsave supermarket form Reko Sentral 6 (the entrance road to the estate from the main road), Reko Sentral 4 is directly opposite Econsave’s entrance. If you look for Agrobank, K-Wang/Awantech is just opposite the bank (well, a bit to the right looking from Agrobank).
This map below shows the GPS point etc. of Awantech, but it will be best if you can “memorise” the key landmarks on Google Map as your GPS signal may be lost!
The “damage” to my wallet: The website stated RM80 for the remote and RM40 for the programming, these were old pricing! Obviously someone from Awantech needs to update this. I was charged RM150 for the remote plus reprogramming. For good measure, we decided to change the casing for the remaining “original” remote as well for another RM35.
Learning point: you need not change the whole car alarm system if the remote dies on you. The guys at Awantech or others (but I could not find any one else) who do nothing but car and house alarm, have the spare parts and expertise to find you a replacement remote. The cost and trouble in changing an old car’s alarm system plus wiring etc. means that doing so must be your last resort, that is if people like Awantech tells you that not only your remote but the entire car alarm system is kaput! Changing the entire car alarm system because of a failed remote is just an over enterprising car accessories vendor’s way of solving this small problem with a loud ring to his/her cash register. You do not change your car tyre because you have a spoiled pressure valve or just a missing pressure valve cap! So why do you need to change the entire system for a kaput remote?