'Smart' car keys are outsmarting drivers
AAA says the new electronic devices are creating unexpected problems, and with all their advanced capabilities, they're costly to replace.
Modern cars are getting smarter every year. But drivers? Maybe not so much, at least when it comes to handling their time-saving, state-of-the-art "smart keys."
AAA says it assisted more than 4 million members last year who had locked themselves out of their vehicles. And the association notes the overall number of locked-out drivers needing rescue hasn't changed much over the past five years despite the growing popularity of the new keys, which let motorists remotely unlock and start their vehicles.
Smart keys are electronic and use radio frequencies. They can add hundreds of dollars to a car's cost and can be very expensive to replace -- often with a wait time of several days. "The cost to replace a transponder key runs around $100, and replacement smart keys can cost several hundred dollars depending on the make and model," John Nielsen, AAA's director of automotive engineering and repair, said in a press statement.
"Many newer keys must be programmed by a dealer or locksmith with special electronic equipment and accesses to highly confidential codes that are required to service the vehicle security system."
In an informal online survey of car dealerships late last year by Automotive News, only 29% said they offered customers any form of key-replacement insurance.
The new technology can also provide some unexpected -- and hazardous -- challenges to uninitiated drivers.
"The spare key is in my purse inside the car, and it is running," one frantic driver posted in an owner forum recently. "The puppy stepped on the key and locked the door and no windows are open. Short of breaking a window is there any way to get in?"
AAA recommends smart-key users become familiar with the device's full capabilities and limitations in case of emergencies -- and keep a spare key in a safe location.
"Traditional car keys will likely become obsolete and be replaced by technologies offering even greater security and convenience," Nielsen said. "Motorists will need to adapt with the technology to avoid the hassle and expense of smart key replacements."
Hey, wait a minute! Isnt this how "Terminator" starts out?
If I could, I rip the whole PassKey system out and replace it with standard lock and key like we used to have.
About the only way to lock your keys in (if you're smart and use the remote key as intended) is if you start the car in the winter to warm up and through mechanical or user error the doors lock as you shut them. I personally have done this by accidentally hitting the lock button as I exited the vehicle (hence now unrolling the window a bit). But I have NEVER locked myself out at any other time through proper use of the key.
If you have a newer remote/smart key and choose not to use it as intended, it's on you if you lock yourself out of the car. If you have an older car with a normal key, this of course doesn't apply. But the story also isn't about older cars.
Although, on another note, why do they have a story about smart keys (a feature of new-ish cars) and couple it with a picture of a vintage Beetle being towed? I doubt a 60's Beetle has a smart key.
Family member has a car with a smart key... His house has two driveways... one on the lower side of the house that leads to his garage, and a circular garage that goes to the front door (it's a corner house, built on a slope, so the driveways, though fairly close together, are on different streets/elevtions).
He pulled out of the garage and was heading for his appointment when he realized he forgot something. Turned around and, instead of pulling back into the garage (lower driveway) and having to walk up stairs, completely across house, he pulled into the circular driveway left the car running and went in through the front door (using his key, which was in his pocket because he didn't need to use it in the ignition)...
Out of sheer habit, he tossed his keys on the counter... didn't even realize he was doing it. Got what he needed, pushed to lock on the front door, got in his car and left.
Several hours later, as he was heading back to his car to start it he realized what he had done... had to wait a couple of hours for his wife to bring him the keys...
Not saying who it was, but he learned a lesson...
Just because someone can invent some fancy-schmancy techno gadget....
DOES NOT MEAN WE HAVE TO ALL USE IT !!!!!
We do not need this bull shoved down our throats.
C'mon car companies ...nobody needs this crap !
Keys and ignition switches is all anyone needs.
At least have ''plain jane'' as an orderable option
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