Thieves Using Penny Jammed in Car Door Handle-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Jamming a penny in a car door handle prevents automatic locks from working and allows thieves to easily steal your possessions, according to online warnings.
We haven’t been able to find any credible reports of thieves using a penny in a door handle to break into cars, and warnings about that happening can easily be picked apart.
Penny in a door handle warnings surfaced on blog sites in early January 2016. These warnings claim that a thief can place a penny in a passenger-side door handle to prevent the central locking system from working. Then, when you return home in the evening, a thief can easily break into your unlocked car because the penny in the door handle prevented the locking system from working.
The first fatal flaw with the penny in the door theory is that door handles aren’t designed to open when they’re only opened slightly. The width of a penny (.0598 inches) wouldn’t open a car door handle enough to trigger the unlatching mechanism connected to the door handle.
Also, most cars with central locking systems have car door sensors that signal when all four or five doors are opened or closed. So, if a penny or coin were thick enough to unlatch the door handle, you’d receive a “door ajar” dashboard alert. Modern cars have separate door latch sensors for each door, so you’d immediately know if the sensor’s circuit weren’t completed. Ehow.com reports:
The way the sensors work can vary. One type of sensor can be an electrical proximity one for the “your door is ajar” signal. On the vehicle itself would be a wafer-thin magnetic strip; the door would have an opposing strip that has a wire running inside the door and into the junction box. The junction box would then have another wire running into the car’s computer that has yet another wire attached to a small speaker in your dash board. As long as the door was closed, the magnetic strip on the door could read the opposite one on the car, keeping the electrical circuit closed. But if the car door was open and the door magnet was too far away from the car magnet, the circuit would be open. The computer would then read that the door circuit is now open. It would send a signal to the speaker to make the announcement that your car door is ajar.
We also tried the penny in the door trick on multiple cars, and it didn’t work on any of them.
Because there haven’t been any credible reports of thieves using the penny in the car door trick, and various parts of the warning can easily be shot down based on how car doors and sensor system work, we’re calling this one fiction.