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Your EZ Pass Can Die

Nilnoc

Member
Jan 21, 2018
266
325
Frederick, Maryland
My EZ Pass died. I blew through the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Breezewood to the Ohio border without paying. Their toll barriers don't have a gate, and they give zero feedback as to whether your transponder registers or not. No green light or “Paid” or “Go EZPass.”

When I got to the Ohio Turnpike, there is a gate that goes up and down. It did not go up, so I took a ticket and while my wife was driving, I called EZ Pass Maryland. They diagnosed the problem as an expired battery in my transponder, which is 13 years old. They say the batteries only last 7-10 years. Obviously, from my experience, they can last a little longer. Anyway, EZ Pass MD mailed a replacement to my house, and it was there when I returned.

I've talked to friends and relative who use EZ Pass. Nobody knew that they have batteries that will eventually expire. I didn't know.
 

Nilnoc

Member
Jan 21, 2018
266
325
Frederick, Maryland
I called PA EZPass. Guy demanded my transponder number. I told him what happened. And that it’s a Maryland EZ Pass. He said, “Call Maryland.” And hung up. So I may try calling again. Or just wait to see what comes in the mail from PA.
 

Don85D

Member
Mar 25, 2016
331
290
Markham, Ontario
In Ontario a weak transponder battery at first will generate lost entry or exit signals so the toll company can only charge you for the distance to the next or previous exit. Once the battery totally expires they use photo billing which you notice on the bill as an extra processing fee. That's when a call will reverse the photo processing fee and generate mailing of a new transponder to your house. Early Tesla models like ours have a windshield coating that prevents reading of a window mounted transponder so they waive the photo process charge for all of our toll highway usage.

In general they are sympathetic to these issues and they only play hardball if you have refused to pay and need your license plate sticker revalidated (every 2 years).

I wouldn't worry about a failed battery in a transponder. Besides, they own the transponder.
 

MGMDaware

Falcor
Supporting Member
Jun 23, 2016
445
261
DC
I frequent the PA turn pike (dc to pitt). When I had my S, the transponder would frequently miss. They would always automatically use the registered plate and somehow make the charge go through without ever bothering me. Once, on my way to N Jersey, it missed and I got a "ticket" in the mail. There was a link to go online and add my transponder number so they could charge me appropriately, thereby removing the ticket fee. Long story short . . . . They know these things happen and will either take care of it from their end or contact you to take care of it. No need to lose sleep over it. They will get there money.

Side note . . . . I recently hit a booth with a gate in western Va that didn't respond (on my way to a camping trip in Gore, Va). I immediately assumed either the battery died or I was having the same issue I had with my S. However, this past weekend on my way to Pittsburgh, there was no issue (at least that I was aware of).
 

ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
3,735
Buford, GA
Nobody knew that they have batteries that will eventually expire. I didn't know.

Our Georgia Peach passes don't have batteries, Florida and other states mainly use license plate readers.

Maybe time for some of the toll authorities to spend some money updating systems.
 

boaterva

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2016
7,574
3,746
Northern Virginia, USA
Yeah, I didn't know this either, back when, and when mine first died and I got new ones, I told EZPass Virginia, we have to swap these out every X years? They said, yep, these are really transmitters, not just passive devices, like the cards you use at work (paraphrasing...).

The good thing is that often the one they replace it with is smaller and lighter. I'm surprised the 'box with a battery and circuit board' in it lasts close to ten years or more sitting in the sun! :D
 

GOPJEW

Member
Jul 5, 2015
571
255
Potomac, MD
I called PA EZPass. Guy demanded my transponder number. I told him what happened. And that it’s a Maryland EZ Pass. He said, “Call Maryland.” And hung up. So I may try calling again. Or just wait to see what comes in the mail from PA.
So long as your license plate is registered to MD Ezpass (on your account - check it online) you are good, they just deduct the amount from your account (I found this out the hard way - former car license plate had two letters reversed with MD Ezpass and they sent me a bill).
 

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