Do you know your car keys?

Replacing car keys used to be relatively a simple matter. It was strictly cutting a new metal key as it would be usually done with any other metal key. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, these car keys have become more sophisticated, which not only requires to be cut but also needs to be programmed. The car keys programming can sometimes be a complicated process depending on the situation at hand, like whether a key is still present, stolen or lost. Also, it depends on the make and model of the vehicle. Some of these newer remote keys or fob keys have more features than others and some makes, and models have digital keys. The technology deployed into these key fobs, like immobilizers, transponders, chips, sensors were meant to increase the security of the vehicles and to ease the way of how cars are being used today.

Among the features that are found in these fob keys are:

  •  Keyless opening
    – there are two different to open a vehicle that has keyless opening technology. One option would be to use a remote whereby pressing a button can lock/unlock the car. The second option is, to have the fob key present when entering the vehicle as the doors will open when the vehicle is communicating with the fob key and locks the car when communication is lost.
  • Keyless start
    – Although in many cases, a physical car key is still needed to switch the ignition on and off, the trend is nowaday is to either have the fob key present start the car by pressing the switch start button located on the dashboard.
  • Powered tailgate/side door
    – Powered tailgate/side door- when the fob key is present, on specific make and models, one can swish its foot under the car, and the tailgate or side door will open automatically.

There are also some hidden features that some car key fobs may have:

  • All windows can be lowered at the same time: usually, to rolling down all the windows or opening the sunroof at the same time is done by pressing the unlock button once and within 10 seconds press the unlock button again and hold until the windows are rolled down. It’s a convenient way, and it helps cool off the car on a hot summer day. It’s not often labelled on the key fob, though.
  • Remote Start: On some key fobs, the remote engine start button feature is marked with a circular arrow. Usually, the vehicle’s owner first presses the lock button, followed by a press of the remote-start button. While on other remotes, drivers must press the circular arrow button twice (indicated by a “2x” or “x2”). On some new BMW’s, the optional remote-start feature is hidden but the owners can start the engine for a limited time usually around 15 minutes by pressing the lock button on the key fob three times subsequently within one second.
  • Mirror Folding: Some cars will fold the side mirrors in automatically as part of the locking process while with others, this feature is optional, and the owner needs to consult the manual on how to use it.
  • Mechanical Key: Owners of cars with push-button start systems may not know the fob key comes with an emergency key that is located inside the key fob. This is to be used to unlock the driver’s door in cases when the car’s battery or the key fob’s battery has run out, or the fob key stopped working. The key can be usually accessed by pushing a button on the key fob and pulling the key out. On some cars, the key slot is visible on the door handle, while on others, it’s hidden behind the door handle (visible only when the door handle out is pulled out), or on others is required to remove a plastic cap next to the door handle to reveal the key slot.
  • Park in tight spaces: There are advanced remote keys that have the function of driving the car on short distances. If we were to think that we can park the vehicle by using a smart remote key about 20 years ago, that would have seemed a dream. With this feature, parking in tight spaces has never been easier, without having to worry about scratching the close by near vehicle anymore. Significant innovations that have changed the way you can park.

Car Keys are more than what they show

It shouldn’t be overstated the importance of these crucial hidden fob features, but it is essential to know that they exist on some level. Now, not all these features are available to all key fobs so you can at least try out which ones are available to yours. It’s important to know, too, that once you do know your key fobs hidden features, you should be even more careful on how you use the fobs in the future. You don’t want to be that person that accidentally opens all the windows and sunroof of your car while it’s raining outside. You also don’t want to be the person who accidentally turns on your car’s engine while it’s inside a garage while unattended. The accumulation of carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Understand what your key fob is capable of. That should be your most significant takeaway here. After all, when you buy a car, the key fob is part of that purchase. Know what it can and can’t do so you can maximize the money you spent buying the car.

Below there is a list of some manufacturers that use keyless authorization system but each under their own name:

  • Audi: Advanced Key
  • BMW: Comfort Access or Display Key
  • Ford: Intelligent Access with push-button start
  • Honda: Smart Entry System
  • Hyundai: Proximity Key and smart entry key
  • Mercedes-Benz: Keyless Go integrated into SmartKeys
  • Mitsubishi Motors: FAST Key System
  • Nissan: Nissan Intelligent Key
  • Renault: Hands-Free Keycard
  • Toyota: Smart Key System
  • Volkswagen: Keyless Entry & Keyless Start or KESSY