By on January 21, 2015

 

Clueless about Keyless writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I recently bought a 2014 Acura TL and am having trouble coming to terms with keyless entry. It goes like this:

You get exactly 2 pre-programmed key fobs, labelled #1 and #2. You can never have more than two active key fobs. You can buy a third, but it once it is programmed to be fob #1 or fob #2, the original fob #1 or #2 will no longer work. There is no back up normal key that will start the car. You will either have one of these two fobs, or your car is a $30K brick.

The keyless systems proximity sensors work well. You never have to take the key out of your pocket. When you are near the door, simply touching the handle unlocks it and once in, the ignition button starts the car. You cannot lock your keys in the car or the trunk, which is nice. But it also means I can’t hide the second key somewhere on the vehicle without enabling pretty much anyone to walk right up and open the door as if they had the key in their pocket.

So here’s my problem. Suppose I am hundreds of miles away from home on a road trip and I lose my key. What can I do? I used to carry a spare key in my wallet for just such situations (the fobs are big and fat and won’t fit in my wallet). Given that a replacement fob has to be ordered from the dealer and the car has to be present to program it, it seems the only strategy for me would be to have the vehicle towed to the nearest Acura dealer. WTF? Am I forced to keep two big fat key fobs with me, in separate pockets at all times, just in case?

So I’m wondering, do you or any of the B&B have a good idea for a makeshift back up plan? Also, is this the way all keyless systems work? It seems to me Acura didn’t put a lot of thought into this.

Sincerely,
Clueless about Keyless

Sajeev answers:

Hmm!

You should slap Velcro on the spare fob and an easily accessible location under the car (inside the rear bumper, for example), locking them together after slipping the battery into your wallet. But if someone steals your wallet, or even worse, get rear-ended HARD and then they grab your wallet and keys…ZOMG TEH HORRORZ!!1!

I’m only kind of joking.  While Acura insists that you can still start the vehicle with a “dead” keyfob battery, that won’t help if you lose the fob.  And if they don’t have it yet, the aftermarket will re-pop an alternative to the factory part: find a trusted locksmith in your area and give ’em a call.

I’m liking the “fob with no battery inside the rear bumper” idea more.  If you lose the battery you’ll get another from a local parts store, or drug store with a quick (acura key fob battery 2014) Google search on someone’s phone.

Punt! Best of luck with this one, oh fantastic B&B.

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

126 Comments on “Piston Slap: Smart Key Fob or The $30,000 Brick?...”


  • avatar
    geozinger

    I never gave this kind of situation a moment’s thought. Now I’m really digging my good old fashioned ignition key… But I think the hidden smart key is the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Yea, this scenario immediately had me worried when I heard it was being introduced. I’ll keep my 3 Dollar key that can be found and cut in thousands of different places across the U.S.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m not specifically familiar with Acura’s system, but it could operate similarly to my Challenger. The vehicle comes with a normal cut key that slides inside the fob that can be used to unlock the vehicle in case the fob battery dies. Even if the fob battery is dead, the transmitter can be placed directly on the receiver in the vehicle which will detect it and allow the vehicle to start.

        If the OP’s Acura employs the same hard key/fob combo, he could keep a batteryless spare programmed fob in the car, and keep a small spare cut key in his wallet to enter the vehicle. Once in the vehicle, find the spare fob, place it on the receiver, then start the vehicle. He should check out his owner’s guide to see how Acura deals with this scenario.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          If you lock a Chrysler vehicle with the dying fob, and try to open the door with the actual key, the alarm will go off. Ask me how I know, but don’t ask how to turn the alarm off, it takes several minutes of fiddling, hell crank the vehicle and it still keeps blaring.

        • 0 avatar
          ChesterChi

          Danio – this is how the key for the Acura MDX works, so I assume it’s the same for other Acuras. There is a metal key hidden inside the key fob. You can slide it out and use it to unlock the door.

          Your suggestion sounds good.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          I had a “practice key” cut for free at my dealer which is a duplicate of the emergency key inside the fob. The blank is a regular metal Honda key, just like you’d get at Lowes, and THAT’S what I keep in my wallet or on my ring, just in case the fob is somehow left inside the car, or if I want to start the car to get snow off it, and lock it up as it sits by closing the door and locking it with that key. (No Immobilizer or remote included.)

          Even if the battery in the fob is completely dead, there is an RFID reader next to the START button up to which you place the fob until the car beeps, after which time you have 30 seconds to start the car. So if a thief got into the car and found the powerless fob, bye-bye Acura!

          Whatever you do, don’t hide a fob on the outside, on account of weather and other conditions!

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Just one of the many reasons why I have a love/hate relationship with new car ignition systems. Great, I don’t have to turn a key or dig in my pockets for it, but on the other hand new keys don’t mean a trip to HomeDepot and $5, it now means a dealer visit and $300-$500. I’ve never lost a car key, but my wife would find a basket full of them useful.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      What’s the aversion to turning a key? Plus I feel it’s more comfortable to drive without anything in my pockets.

      • 0 avatar

        ‘Turning a key’ in modern cars doesn’t make much of a difference…all keys are chipped, so they still cost a lot of money to replace. As has been said…the nice thing about keyless go is that you don’t have to take the keys out of your pocket so you don’t leave them anywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          It also means less chance of scratching your new car on a cold night.

          You’d be surprised how many cars I see with dreadful key scratches on them just from either over-sized keychains or shaky hands.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Or in my mom’s case, with jewelry. She’s hard on things that come in contact with her rings/watch/purse ornamentation.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “‘Turning a key’ in modern cars doesn’t make much of a difference…all keys are chipped, so they still cost a lot of money to replace.”

          $35 isn’t a lot of money.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I had a friend who successfully locked his keyless entry fob inside his car. He was closing the hatch and it slipped out and into the truck area. He didn’t close the hatch, but it had an auto-closing feature, so it actuated itself the rest of the way and latched. The car couldn’t sense the fob in the trunk area, so he could no longer open the doors. Worse, he bought the car used, and he only got one key with it, so he was pretty much screwed.

      My current car has keyless entry, and the manual says that the car will similarly not sense a fob in the trunk area. I’m especially careful to make sure I never accidentally put my key in my gym bag or anything else that might get put into the trunk area. (I haven’t tested that it’s actually a problem yet, though.)

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        That’s just costcutting/lazy engineering on the part of the manufacturer. I’ve tested mine; the trunks pop right back open if the key is inside.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        That’s the key (see what I did there?! ;-) )..keep the fob in your pocket (or purse, ladies), just as you would with a normal key. Get a leather cover (RemoteTote) or other in the largest size they have, and attach it to your key ring just like with a normal key.

        If you throw the fob into your gym bag, backpack, what-have-you, you’re asking for a problem, IMHO. And if the fob is ever lost, you should be able to have the car de-programmed for it. (The fob for my 2013 Accord isn’t that much bigger than a Honda Immobilizer key with integrated remote-entry.)

        Lastly, check your car insurance — you may have a key/fob-replacement benefit for little or no deductible. Better than nothing.

  • avatar
    redav

    If you hide the fob on the car, all you need to do is block the signal. Putting it in a metal box would likely work.

    • 0 avatar

      It will certainly work, with a fob or any other RFID device you want to prevent from being “read”. Even in a plastic box, just wrap it in aluminum foil.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        There was just a thread about this on a Prius hackers list.

        One guy found that aluminum foil blocked the signal, but a small tin didn’t.

        There was no explanation for why, so I don’t fully believe it but, if one kind of poor man’s Faraday cage doesn’t work, keep trying.

        • 0 avatar

          Aluminum foil has yet to fail me. I work with plenty of active and passive RFID credentials, hence I often find the need to “hide” one from a reader to allow others to be read. Once wrapped I can walk by readers with pockets full of tags.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The vast majority of people don’t hide spare keys on their car, so that’s why Acura didn’t give any thought to allowing you to do this with the fob transmitter. You’d have to protect it anyway, as they don’t like getting wet.

    The receiver antennas are highly directional and limited in distance. They can only detect the key in specific areas. For example, with the key in your pocket, you can stand next to the door or trunk and unlock the vehicle by touching the handle, but if you’re standing in front of the car with the key, it shouldn’t unlock if someone touches the door handle. If you put your spare in the front bumper area, it shouldn’t allow the vehicle to be unlocked by keyless intruders.

    That being said, I have a car with a similar system and find that because the key is always in my pocket, I rarely take it out and thus the chances of losing it are greatly reduced. I take my wallet out far more often and don’t chronically misplace that, so I don’t feel the need to store a spare on the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      ^ This.

      I thought that the keyless thing was an answer nobody asked, until I lived with it for a while. It is nice to be able to throw your keys in your pocket and not have to fumble around for them when walking out to enter the car, pop the trunk to load groceries, etc.!

      Only real dumb move on Honda’s part is that someone outside the car can pop the trunk if the car is running, in “Drive”, and the fob is inside the car! If you have valuables in the trunk, as if you’re leaving the mall, you need to go into the glovebox and turn off the electronic trunk release using the provided switch. (Unfortunately, this includes the button on the fob! :-( )

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    The only fob cars I’ve driven were rentals, which is even more fun when they bind the 2 together with a cable. Talk about an awkward glob in your pocket.

    Doesn’t help the OP, but I’ve come up with a workable solution for chipped keys. I bought used, and only got one key. I’ve had spares made at Home Depot, but they only open the doors and start the engine for <5 seconds. Once it realizes the chip isn't there, it dies. I keep a spare stuck up underneath with a magnet. If found, it would let someone in, but at least they couldn't drive away.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I hope I can avoid the ‘magic’ fobs, like forever. But the “chipped” keys, I have worked out. I’ll wire-tie one chipped key directly to the ignition-switch body. Then use dummy keys from then on. The alarms’s fuel-cutoff prevents a theft. So I’ll make like 10 dummy copies to leave all over the place; home, office, in and out the truck. Because I’m a “dummy”.

      It’s not an “alarm” per se, but a fob controlled relay that kills the fuel pump when you turn the key to the ON position. Don’t click the fob, no start, just cranks. Only I know where its bypass-switch is hidden. It’s a common parts-store remote/fob “relay box”, for a winch, custom lights, stereo or other accessories.

      Funny if I take the other original chipped-key and try to start it, it won’t crank. The 2 interfere. But it’s an ’05 F-150 and all it took was pulling the rubber (grommet) trim around the ignition. It’s as if there’s a pocket there to put a chipped key, close enough for it to sense it.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      ARGH! WHY!? Why do they give you the two keys on one inseparable strap? I mean, the cynical side of me probably already knows the answer, but if you ask them at the counter what will the rental person give you for a response?
      I’m definitely going to test this next time I rent a car.

      (my cynical side thinks it’s so if you lose one, you lose both and have to pay for 2 replacement keys and a tidy markup for the rental company)

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “Why do they give you the two keys on one inseparable strap?”

        I think it’s mostly for their convenience, guaranteeing that they’ll not misplace one set themselves. They don’t really care how inconvenient it is for customers. After having to deal with that ridiculous bulk with my last rental I vowed that next time I will borrow some wire cutters and separate the sets, and I’ll just tell them at the return counter that there was some sort of mishap. As long as I return both sets, how much can they charge me for a replacement wire ring?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I’m pretty sure they do it so when they sell the vehicle they don’t have to look across the country for keys, or have extra keys laying around going to nothing, especially when the key cost ~$400.
          When a normal key is lost it cost like $20 to run the vin and have the correct key cut.
          Additionally it’s a lot harder to lose a massive glob of keys versus an individual key and seperate key fob.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Is the “strap” something special, or a simple wire tie? Take an extra wire tie with you, and strap the fobs back together! Problem solved!

        • 0 avatar

          I read “As long as I return both seats…” My drink was spilled.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    1) Remove the built-in key from the fob
    2) Get a duplicate
    3) Place duplicate in wallet
    4) Take fob #2, remove battery
    5) Hide fob #2 in the car (or trunk)
    6) Hide battery in the car (or trunk)

    Keyloss entry procedure:
    1) Take duplicate from wallet, open car
    2) Assemble fob #2
    3) Drive home

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    This is why roadside assistance/Acura Total Luxury Care exists. Or, they assume if you are responsible enough to buy a $35k+ car, you are responsible enough to not lose your key. Put your big boy pants on and be responsible with your stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Finally, the right answer

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      +2

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      I started clipping my keys in my pocket with a carabiner back in high school and I never stopped. The only acceptable solution between me and my ADD was to physically attach the keys to my person.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I do the same. PLUS, on the back garage wall, next to the door leading to the house, there’s a large board with lots of hooks. All keys are deposited there, none are ever carried past that board.

        It must work, its been years since I’ve lost a key. And the last time I did lose a ring, its because I left the key in the top box of my motorcycle and pulled out.

        Oh yeah, each set of car/motorcycle keys/fobs is on a separate ring. House keys are on a different ring. It means I’ve always got two key rings clipped to me when I go out.

        • 0 avatar

          “All keys are deposited there, none are ever carried past that board.”
          Very considerate! Burglars will also like that *a lot*. Plus you will have less damage in the house when the vehicles are taken by non-owners.

    • 0 avatar
      dzot

      On several occasions I have forgotten a password. Just the other day I left the grocery store and realized I forgot peanut butter and had to go back and buy some. Once or twice in my life I have misplaced a key.

      I am in awe of your strength of character that you never have such problems.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        For literally half of my 32 year life, I’ve carried three things on me almost every waking moment I’m out of the house: keys, wallet, cell phone. I do the three-way pat down (two front pockets, one back) to check those things are present reflexively dozens of times a day. It’s just ingrained in me. Not having one would be like not having one of my testicles.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      You know you’ve jinxed yourself, right?

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Meh, my keys are old school. I’ve got one in my pocket right now, and the other in my fire safe at home. S2000 keys, one is in the car (in locked storage) and the other + valet key also in the fire safe. I’m not worried. Also, as an accountant, I’m near-OCD in my habits of coming home, putting my wallet and key on my bureau valet, then changing, etc etc etc.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I never gave lost keys a second thought until I dropped my wife’s VW key in a sewer grate in DC last year. After some quick thinking and the combo of an ice scraper and wire coat hanger we got it back, but man did that suck.

    Car theft across the country is way down, but I’m wondering if that is due to these complex keys, or just due to the overarching downward trend of crime in general. In any case I find all these high tech wireless key fobs to be pretty silly. Another answer to a question nobody asked. There should always be a conventional key backup

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “In any case I find all these high tech wireless key fobs to be pretty silly. Another answer to a question nobody asked.”

      100% disagree. All of the women in my family RAVE over this feature. As a guy who carries his keys by themselves in his front pocket, it’s not a big deal to me, but all the women in my family carry around huge sacks they call purses, and these keys eliminate the need for them to paw through the sacks every time they want to get in the car. And I’ve stood there waiting for my wife to dig through her purse enough times that I understand where she’s coming from.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Both of my adult daughters work evening shifts. While their cars have the older style fobs, I really like the fact that they’re able to open the door as they approach their cars. I know some see this as an expensive feature that is liable to malfunction, but I see it as a safety issue. No fumbling for keys as they get into their cars is a great idea in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The thing I like is when it’s freezing cold out, and I don’t have to remove any gloves to dig around in my pocket for keys.

        Another benefit – say I’m running in somewhere for 25 seconds. I can leave the car running and just lock the door! Handy.

        • 0 avatar
          MLS

          Like you, I sometimes leave the engine running and lock the door as I run inside to grab something. Unfortunately the Avalon I’m renting these days refuses to lock with the engine running, transmission in park, and keys outside the vehicle.

          I don’t know what’s worse: that “feature” or the cruise control stalk that doesn’t allow adjustments of more than 3 mph from the current speed.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s silly. I must say, of all the cars I’ve owned and been in contact with generally, I am the least impressed with Toyota alarm/security measures.

          • 0 avatar
            MLS

            It’s really dumb. If I use the button on the door panel to lock the doors, the car immediately unlocks them. If I use the button on the fob, it simply ignores me. Then, as I give up and walk away, the car beeps. Perhaps Toyota intended to prevent geriatrics from accidentally leaving the engine running with the car parked in a garage?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s beeping because it’s lonely. Avey wants you to come back and try again!

          • 0 avatar
            A strolling player

            That’s indeed what the beeping is for, and I understand it. Toyota’s first Smart Key vehicle was the Prius, I think, and it’s very easy to forget to turn off a car that isn’t making any noise. I once looked out my window to notice that I’d left my Prius on for a few hours, and I only noticed because night fell, I’d parked ass-in and the dash lights were on.

            The other feature disallowing you from locking the doors when the car is running is a bygone from the era of keys, where Toyotas would helpfully refuse to allow you to lock your keys in the ignition. Makes little sense now if the key’s not in the car, though. My Focus does it better; you can lock the door from inside, leave it running, and it’ll unlock when you come back to it with the fob.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I have an Infiniti with a similar system. Typically on a trip, both my wife and I carry a FOB. That being said, with the Infiniti, you can lock the fob in the car if you try hard enough. It will beep and yell, but if you try to lock the doors a second time, they will lock. Just as the door is swinging shut and you are wondering why you had to press the button twice – and why all the beeping – you realize the FOB is in the cup holder.

    The infiniti system has a standard key which can be removed from the FOB and will manually unlock the drivers door and can be inserted into the ignition knob. I have not had much success with it, but about 25% of the time this can be used to start the car. It may only work properly if you don’t also have a FOB on you, I’m not sure.

    That standard key should be able to be stored safely somewhere outside the vehicle without any special consideration aside from moisture.

    • 0 avatar
      ilkhan

      The obvious answer to that is to NEVER use the door panel to lock your car as you walk away. No remote, no lock.

      I have to admit, Ford’s keypad entry system seems like the solution to this non-issue. Leave the fob in the car, lock the door with the keypad, and walk away.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I’ve never understood why other automakers don’t license or just copy Ford’s keypad system, especially the slicker implementation on the B-pillar available now. It is a HUGE advantage for outdoorsy people who want to park their car, lock the keys ins!de, and then go hike, bike, swim, raft, kayak, run, WHATEVER and not worry about carrying their keys around with them. You’d think companies like Subaru or Jeep would be all over this.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          Nissan used to have a system like Ford’s on early Maximas. I wonder if they had to pay for a license fee or not?

          By now, you’d think whatever patent protection Ford has on this system would have expired, allowing anyone to adopt it if so desired.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The Nissan Maxima and Quest got the Ford keyless system when they were doing the Quest/Villager joint venture. The switches were unique to those 3 vehicles but the control box was all Ford. Don’t know if there was a per vehicle licensing fee for the Maxima or exactly how they handled that. The interesting thing was that those 3 had the keypad in the handle and had it on the passenger handle as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Now which Infiniti do you have that has a fob and a place for the key? Or did you just use the wrong adjectives to get your point across.

      Even if the fob is dead, you enter the car with the removable key like you mentioned, then put the whole fob into the dash slot, and it’ll work.

      This would solve the Acura owner’s issue, just keep a no battery fob on the car and use that if you lose your keys.

      Never in life have I worried about losing my keys this way.

  • avatar
    darkwing

    I hear that TRIFECTA TUNE lets you start your Buick with the power of your mind. Why does anyone buy an Acura?

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Apologies to the OP, but I don’t see a bit issue. My previous car was a BMW 335 and it has keyless entry and keyless start. Sounds exactly the same…can’t lock a key in the car, touch the door handle to lock/unlock, etc., etc. Never ever did I have an issue of losing a key and I simply wasn’t going to stress on it. You could also call BMW and they could unlock the car in emergencies. I believe they could remote start also.

    Just to add here, I think this is a fantastic system. I found it very easy and convenient. I would easily chose this again in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      OK, so you get two of these things. One is with your wife. The other one is with you. You drive your fancy schmancy BMW to Big Bend National Park. While you are there, something happens to your one and only key fob thingy. Do you really think BMW has cellular coverage in Big Bend? Have you ever been there? It’s hundreds of miles from anything. Now exactly what do you propose, bucky? Better hope someone else will give you a three hour ride to Marathon or Alpine or somewhere similar.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You press the BMW logo on your key, and a helicopter comes.

      • 0 avatar
        JLGOLDEN

        There are all sorts of “what if” scenarios, and a chance always exists for an unforeseen variable. Hence, there is never a perfect recovery / protection plan against ALL of life’s upsets. Sometimes, caca happens and we deal with it the best we can. Who loses keys, anyway (wink, wink).

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        turf3,

        I suppose the same thing would happen if you lost your car keys in Big Bend National Park 30 years ago. You would get a ride into town, or to the nearest working phone.

        It would be a bother, but I doubt anybody loses sleep over the possibility. Unless they call the area home.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        What would happen if you lost your keys on the trail in 1981?

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        turf3, there’s no reason to be an [email protected]@. I have not been to big bend, but I’ve been to the middle of nowhere Montana, northern Idaho, BFE Kansas, wherever. I get it and you can what if this scenario all day long. I’ve just never had an issue. I’m sure it happens every day to you that you are in big bend. 99.999% of the time people have some coverage and calling BMW, Acura, or some roadside assist is an option in worst case scenarios. I made a simple point….I had a simlar ignition system and didn’t spend all day trying to find back up solutions. I just didn’t lose my keys.

        • 0 avatar
          turf3

          What I’m challenging is the idea that you can just be anywhere and have anything go wrong and just call someone and have them fix it. I prefer to be more self-sufficient than that.

          For example, I also will not buy a car without a spare tire. I also carry a tool kit in the car (of course, something can go wrong that I don’t have the skills to fix, but I would rather have a bunch of tools and a problem I don’t know how to fix, than have a problem I know exactly how to fix, but I don’t have the tools on hand to do so.) I buy shop manuals for cars.

          When I go on a long bike ride, I carry a tool kit, a patch kit, and a spare tube. (Last year I actually had a mishap, broke the rear derailer off-roading. I always carry a chain tool and I know how to use it. I cut the chain short, put it on a center cog bypassing the derailer altogether, and rode home.)

          Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

          In 1981 if you lost your key it was no biggie because spare keys cost about a buck and were small and thin so you could stash one almost anywhere. (one in your wallet, one taped up under the bumper, throw one in the backpack, etc., etc.) The giant key fob that costs multiple hundreds of dollars, and now you can only have a few (two in the case here) changes the situation.

          Saying that BMW has a system to deal with it doesn’t change the fact that they’ve created a stupid system that when it fails requires a bunch of complex stuff to all work perfectly, versus older simpler systems that were fault-tolerant. Just imagine the difference in complexity and dependence between losing your keys and pulling the spare one out of your wallet, versus calling BMW and hoping you reach them, hoping they have adequate radio contact to unlock your car remotely, hoping they recognize your account, etc., etc.

          Complex systems should be reserved for things that need complex systems to operate. Things that can work with a simpler system (like the pin or disc tumbler lock) should default to the simpler systems.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “Complex systems should be reserved for things that need complex systems to operate.”

            Have you ever been in a modern car? It’s very complex. Your 1981 vehicle is infinitely less complex to break in / steal / operate / wrench than the Acura.

          • 0 avatar
            turf3

            Of course I have been in a modern car. I own two. Yes, the overall car is a very complex system, made up of numerous subsystems.

            I want to have a complex system managing fuel delivery, ignition timing, air flow, etc., thus providing the outstanding power per unit of fuel used of modern automobiles. The complex system provides a huge benefit in exchange for a loss of serviceability. I’m willing to make that exchange.

            I want a very simple system, the tumbler key lock, to control my access to my automobile. The complex system applied to this task – in my opinion – provides a very small benefit in exchange for loss of fault tolerance and reduction in reliability. Go back, and compare the cost in time, money, and effort to pull your spare key out of your wallet vs. calling the worldwide service center and hoping they can remotely take control of your car and get it opened and unlocked for you.

            Oh, and another thing, the reliabilty of fuel management systems is a technical matter that can be improved by technical measures. The reliability of not losing your keys is dependent on human habits, memory, etc. Changes in the inherent nature of humans occur very slowly, over tens of thousands of years. I’m sorry but humans will continue to lose and forget their keys. The sensible solution to this is to make the spare key cost about $5, easily reproducible, and small and light so it can be easily stashed and accessed. Not to create some kind of worldwide cellular-phone based network to mobilize all kinds of expensive assets to bail you out when you lose your key.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “The complex system applied to this task – in my opinion – provides a very small benefit in exchange for loss of fault tolerance and reduction in reliability.”

            To you. I would argue that to most people shopping in this range for this type of car, they’d MUCH rather have the additional convenience that you do not value and they’ll roll the dice on the potential downside.

            You’re obviously free to disagree and chose your purchase accordingly, but I bet the market disagrees with you.

            FWIW, I do agree with you on not wanting a vehicle with no spare time, it’s a must for me on my cars. I’ve had 4-5 flats in my years of driving, but 0 lost keys.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            Well, car theft has fallen +80%* so in the past you were much more likely to have your keys but no car. So, there is that.

            Indeed, I’d argue vastly more people had their cars stolen “back in the day” than find their fobs not working in the wilderness today.

            * In no small measure due to chipped keys.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Actually, IIRC, Hondas and Acuras can have five keys programmed. (It might be the near-field AND the RFID for each of the fobs, don’t know.)

            I think I understand what the OP wants: can you just have a regular key with an Immobilizer programmed to the car (which you would hold up to the START button to start the car in an emergency). The answer, unfortunately, is “No” — after I got my car, I tried that means to have a wallet key I could simply use to start the car and leave it run while defrosting, for example. The Immobilizer in the keys is different from the emergency RFID one in the fobs. So that’s how I ended up with my simple metal Honda key in my wallet to use to lock and unlock the car using the keyhole on the driver’s door.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Virtually every modern car has a chipped key, and most have a limit as to how many keys can be wed to the car. Having keyless entry and start makes absolutely no difference. If you lose the key, you are screwed.

        I do agree that it is incredibly lame that Acura only allows two keys. BMW allows 3 or 4. Saab was especially nasty, in that if you lost ALL the keys, you had to buy a $$$$ computer as well, as you needed to have a key to wed a key to the car. Saab did allow 4 keys though, and they had a cheap non-fob key option for that extra spare – I had one of those in my bank box.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          That is insane that you need to replace the computer if all keys are lost. You should be able to program a key using the factory level scan tool whether it recognizes having any of the currently registered keys or not. Many of those systems are set up with a timer, to discourage theft by someone that has access to the proper scan tool. You request access to the security system through the scan tool and a set amount of time later it “opens” and you can initiate the key program sequence.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Saab was VERY serious about theft back in the day, due to so many car disappearing to the East in Europe. They went a little overboard, IMHO. There is a workaround, but it is a huge PITA – you need a used computer with a matching RFID chip (chips are interchangeable between keys), which you could marry to the car, then marry the old keys, then replace the computer with the original one, which would keep the keys. Dealers would not do it this way, of course, preferring the nice fat part sale.

            BMW had the opposite problem – for some while, the cars ODB port was live even with the car off, so thieves were getting in and pairing a key and driving off! Fixed with a firmware update.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Can you rig it so the car is always in “unlocked” mode, but then have a kill switch or something similar that is operated with a normal key? Then you would use the normal key for all unlocking and starting. Don’t know if this could be done.

    As soon as my car is old enough that I drop comprehensive and collision and go to just liability, I am planning to have the alarm disabled, as I hate having an alarm go off randomly. For example, if my wife and I are at the store, and she wants to stay in the car, safety in the big city dictates that she should be in there with the doors locked (duh!) But if she then just unlocks the door from the ins!de as she sees me coming up the car, it trips the damn alarm. Stupid!

    I will never buy a car that ONLY offers keyless entry, if a sensible alternative is available.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    My Genesis fob hangs at the top my right pants pocket with a stainless steel clip. I don’t ever notice that it is there since it isn’t in the bottom of the pocket with change, etc. The clip is quite tight and it would be almost impossible for it to be lost. I have carried it that way now for almost 6 years. The fob has a removable key in case the battery ever dies (as once happened to my 2009 Genesis fob after 5 years.)

    I would never go back to using a conventional key.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      “I don’t ever notice that it is there”

      Yep, that is exactly how my father went swimming (in saltwater no less) with his Hyundai FOB in his pocket. Thankfully the FOB still worked. This is the problem with keyless entry: you forget you even need a key because you never touch/interact with it on a daily basis. Especially women who just keep the FOB in their purse. Pretty soon your phone will open/start the car so the key/FOB will be one less thing to worry about. However in the meantime the convenience of keyless entry/start is creating a general sensation of overconfidence. The physical act of always handling my keys means I’ve developed a kind of muscle memory related to the task. Thus I immediately panic if I can’t put my hands on my keys. Sometimes habits are a good thing.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You CAN still handle the fob if you want, it’s quite literally the same thing as touching your keys. And when it switches to phone control (which I agree it will), you can then touch your phone to make sure you have phone + keys.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      And my kids would never take it off their pants and wash it.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “Suppose I am hundreds of miles away from home on a road trip and I lose my key.”

    Given that it’s a highly unlikely event (never lost my keys), I would rely on FedEx and a neighbor/friend who has my spare house keys.

    “Also, is this the way all keyless systems work?”

    Saab allowed you to program more than two key. The central display could tell you how many key were programmed to the car. Of course, they only introduced that system 20 years ago, so it’s not surprising that Acura hasn’t caught-up.

  • avatar
    Audiofyl

    Someone mentioned the Acura program above which seems smart depending on the cost. An alternative would be an aftermarket item such as the Compustar drone. It can remotely access your vehicle using your smart phone. In a basic configuration you could just set it up for a simple unlock command and a battery-less spare fob could be kept securely inside the vehicle. Drone can also be accessed via the web on any computer should you have the unfortunate luck of losing your fob and phone simultaneously.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Removing the key from the fob just has it in the valet mode. Fob still active.
    When I worked in rental car, I would cut the wires and place on key inside the car with the battery flipped over. Vehicle would lock perfectly. FoMoCo vehicles were favorite in RAC because of the convenient keyless code opening. We used them as a safe drop box.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I keep my remote fob in my sock, so it’s very difficult to lose. I don’t even have to think about it after I leave the house; it’s just always there. Doesn’t work with flip flops though.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Odd that you can’t force the car to lock with the key fob inside; I guess that’s a Ford exclusive via the keyless entry pad and the 7-8/9-0 pair?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    There is a website called KEYME, that stores your key info so you can get a new one cut, I posted a little of the NY times article below, that may solve your issue some what,

    So Mr. Marsh founded KeyMe, a service that lets customers store digital copies of their keys, order them from a computer or iPhone and have them sent to their home or office. Or the keys can be made instantly at retail kiosks in the New York City area.

    In just a year, KeyMe has stored hundreds of thousands of keys on its cloud servers, saving customers an expensive call to a locksmith or hours waiting for a roommate or spouse to return home with a spare key.

    Now KeyMe is applying its technology to produce car keys, which are far more expensive and often require a trip to an auto dealer. In the coming weeks, 100 second-generation kiosks, which can scan auto keys, will be installed in 7-Elevens and other retail stores across the country.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      If I were a DiabolicalRussianHackerWithOrganizedCrimeTies, this KeyMe service would be a very tempting target.

      Hundreds of thousands of digital keys in one spot. Imagine copying them all UNDETECTED. They could pick and choose thefts over a long time if they didn’t get greedy.

      Another thought: Would KeyMe, even if they suspected such an attack, go public? Actually, the proper question is: What amount of certainty (that customer data has been hacked) does a firm need to go public? 1% 5% 25% ???

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Something that disabled my wife’s Accord FOB was to wrap the spare fob in a couple of layers of aluminum foil (the one used for cooking).

    That way one can keep a hidden fob inside the vehicle without having all the doors unlocked.

    I will also try that with my Mazda CX5, but I suppose this trick will also work. The foil shields the fob’s RF circuits from the outside world.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    That is truly insane that Honda will only let the car recognize two keys. I’ll keep my Fords that can recognize up to 8 keys and have up to 4 remotes. Ford cars even let you program the extra keys and remotes yourself, at least as long as you have two. I go on ebay and pickup an extra key for all of mine and add that 3rd key pretty soon after purchase. Depending on the key they can be had for under $10 or $50 for the ones with the integrated remote. Then have the local hardware store or Walmart cut the key and spend the 30 sec to program the additional key. With a better equipped Ford product you don’t have to worry about locking the keys in your car, at least as long as you can remember a 5 digit code. You can even program your own code if desired.

    For the OP the aftermarket may already or soon have a cloneable key set up for your car as they do for many other current cars. It is a programmable key. They use a tool to ping one of your existing keys and then program the replacement key with the same ID. Now you have 3 keys though the car only thinks it has 2. The problem with that is if you have a Ford and you manage to loose the key that wasn’t cloned. The car will only think it has one key and you won’t be able to program one yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “That is truly insane that Honda will only let the car recognize two keys.”

      I wonder if that’s a feature rather than a flaw, with the thought process that if 1 key is lost or stolen, and then replaced, the lost/stolen key can not be used to steal the car.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You don’t have to have the vehicle only able to recognize two keys to prevent the lost/stolen key from operating the vehicle. For most manufacturers when you program the vehicle to accept a new key you need all the keys you want to operate the vehicle and only those keys that were present/used in the reprogramming process will work. With Ford remotes the process is the same, initiate the programing process and only remotes that are activated during that process will be recognized after the process is complete. With the newer Fords that have the integrated key and remote the remote is programed as part of the key programming process.

        With this Honda system the process has to be similar in the fact that you would need the remaining key present when you added the replacement. Without that it wouldn’t know which of the original keys to delete from its memory and which one to retain.

      • 0 avatar
        Exfordtech

        With Fords in that instance, when reprogramming a new key for a customer that had lost their other key, part of the procedure would be to erase previous keys from the PATS module and then programming the new key along with the one the customer brought in, thus rendering the lost key unable to start the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      I believe the VW and Mercedes keyless systems recognize up to 5 keys. I also have a Fiat/Chrysler and I have three keys for it, so it will recognize at least that many (and probably more). Only being able to recognize two doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    How about something simpler? A smartphone app that ties the phone to the car. Since the car is effectively online at every opportunity, a smartphone app could sync to the on-board bluetooth and give full control of the car. Once they are synched, no other smartphone can connect without the authorized key fob in range and is manually synched from within the car. It wouldn’t be rocket science, either; all the hardware is already in place. It only requires the software to come on line.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      We talked about this a month or two ago, but I dislike it because it ties the phone to the car, potentially allowing the car to override phone features (no texting! No dialing! etc) when the phone is mapped to that car. Also, if you have two people who frequently drive each others’ cars, and often ride together, you can have issues if both phones are present.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Typically, the car will only sync to one phone; the second phone would not be using the car’s bluetooth. There should be no issue because the car is synched to its owner’s phone and if its owner is driving they should not be handling the phone. Now, if you are like me, the second car you’re talking about is probably your wife’s. If you’re driving your wife’s car, then let her use your phone while you drive–or don’t use either one. Even a passenger using a phone can be a distraction to the driver.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret; I commute a lot in Chicagoland traffic, going 5mph on surface streets. In these conditions I do a fair amount of texting, emailing, FB-updating, whatever, while I drive. I’m not going to let the sytem lock down my phone. I’m already ticked at how our RDX locks out a lot of the nav functions when the car is in motion, I’m certainly not going to let it lock me out of my phone.

          Yell at me all you want, but a system that locks down my phone is a no-go for me. And it will piss everyone else off too.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Then don’t be upset if you ever get ticketed for Distracted Driving. Using your phone as you drive in the way you describe is illegal in nearly every state in the Union. Too many people have either caused or been involved in collisions due to trying to do things on their phone while driving (yes, even stopped at traffic lights) to the point that legislators have argued that it should be made impossible to use one in a car, no matter it be the driver’s or a passenger’s.

            Maybe once total autonomy of the car itself will make using a cell phone possible again–the car simply can’t get distracted in the way the driver can.

      • 0 avatar

        My Elantra allows up to five phones to be paired and priority can be set so it will have preference to the primary user’s phone over any other. If that phone cannot be found, it will go to the next one in line. I find this pretty neat but useless to me as I’m single and the only person who drives my car.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “My Elantra allows up to five phones to be paired…”

          Great. I can just imagine how a car full of kids would be fighting over the infotainment system and driving their ‘chauffeur’ nuts. You’re lucky you’re single, but if you still have that car with three school-age kids, I pity your ears and your sanity.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      And consumer grade electronics NEVER fail.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Can’t help it if you buy a junk phone. If you’re driving an Acura, you’re probably not using a ‘free with contract’ phone, so you should at least have some reasonable reliability with it.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      OnStar Remote Keyfob services does this.

      I installed the OnStar app on my phone, and logged in.

      Now, I can un/lock my car from anywhere I have internet.

      AS long as your phone is secure, it shouldn’t be a security risk.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup there are a number of cars that you can use your smart phone to unlock though you can’t use them to be able to start the car……yet.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        The OnStar app will start GM vehicles with a factory remote start.

        My car has the MT and so no factory remote start, and the remote start options on my ONStar app are grayed out.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Considering how many MT drivers leave their transmission in gear, that’s a good thing, no? At least you can still get remote lock/unlock and car locator service.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Why are people capitalizing “fob?” It’s not an acronym. It looks really silly.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Modern car security systems have become rather clever–sometimes a little too clever for their owners. Here is my “cool story bro”:

    I had just bought a lightly used Porsche Cayman, but it was missing its second key. During a photo shoot with a friend, I unlocked my car to get my camera from the front boot. Not wanting to deal with the bulky key/fob unit in my pockets, I left it in the boot and shut the lid.

    Having never opened either of the passenger doors, the car timed out and locked itself, with my only key in the boot.

    The tow truck came and slim-jimmed my driver door open. The alarm went off, and the electronic front latch switch was disabled! Messing with the fuse in the fuse box also failed to do the trick.

    The car got free lodging in the towing company’s lot until the next Monday, when it was hauled to the dealer. To access the front lid, a front wheel is removed and the actual mechanical linkage can be pulled from behind the wheel well. The dealer charged me an hour and a half of labour. I think it was a fair price to pay for my idiocy.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    The fob breaks apart into a mechanical key and contains a secondary RFID chip that will start the car if you touch it to the start button, in case the batteries in the fob die. Just order a third fob and leave it hidden with no battery inside it. You have the mechanical key to open the doors, and you can start the car by physically touching the fob to the start button — no batteries required ever. With no battery it won’t broadcast a signal far enough to mess with the other 2 remotes during normal operation.

    We do this on our LX570 and it works fine, I’m assuming Acura keyless is similar in design.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Other than attempting to hack his car I think the OP is screwed. This is a big fail on the part of Honda as “Old” GM -of all OEMs- allowed for FOUR transmitters to be programmed as recently as MY2008. I suppose it is some kind of paranoid security measure so some sort of theft ring doesn’t attempt to program a rogue third fob and steal the car, but its not the right way to go about it. If this was the case some sort of user activated security inside of the car would be much more efficient, i.e. the owner can lock the car’s ignition and must enter a password into the computer to unlock it. Successful car thieves only have a limited amount of time to boost a car, if you delay them enough with such an option you do more theft prevention than screwing the owners out of backup keys.

    “Each RKE transmitter is coded to prevent another
    transmitter from unlocking your vehicle. If a transmitter
    is lost or stolen, a replacement can be purchased
    through your dealer/retailer. All transmitters need
    to be re-coded to match the new transmitter. The lost
    transmitter will no longer work after the new transmitters
    are re-coded. *The vehicle can have a maximum of
    four transmitters matched to it*.”

    http://www.gm.ca/media/owners/manuals/2008_Pontiac_GrandPrix_Manual_en_CA.pdf

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Some people put the fob on a light weight strap, when they leave the house the strap goes around the neck and the fob tucked in their shirt.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    It’ll learn ya to buy a Panther or any other FMC product with keypad that’s mounted on the drivers’ side, so you won’t have to worry about not being able to get in the car! :)

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Useless fact of the day: if both fobs are in the car, which one is recognized by the car when you start it? Answer: the fob that’s up higher in the car, as I found out whilst driving to the dealer for service (with fob # 2 in my jacket pocket and # 1 in my pants pocket). (That was another reason that I tried to have an Immobilizer-equipped key made to take to the dealer, versus the spare (or primary) fob, but found out that at least in the case of Honda products, I couldn’t.)

  • avatar

    My 2012 Elantra came with the keyless start as part of the $2,500 ‘Technology Package’ and I’ll be honest, I still love having it. All other Hyundai models of similar vintage have a dock hidden somewhere in the dash (either in the console or storage pocket on the fascia) where the key can be placed to start the car in the even the fob battery dies. The Elantra has no such dock. Instead the manual directs me to touch the fob to the ENGINE START / STOP button on the dash in the event the battery dies and it will allow it to start the engine. I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to test this theory.

    I’ve had only one glitch with the system in the three years I’ve owned the car and that was the night in the parking lot at work when I opened the trunk using the fob access button under the deck lid without unlocking the car and the alarm went off. It never did it before and it hasn’t happened since. I just replaced the battery as a proactive measure since it was original to the car.

  • avatar
    badcoffee

    While the topic is broached, my 2006 caddy STS came with one fob, has no emergency key built in, doesn’t even have an external keyhole, and you cant start (or turn off) the car without a recognized fob.

    Suggestions?

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Flipper35: The Glen Pray 866 Speedsters were “official” Auburn speedsters. Sounds like they were well...
  • justVUEit: No factory cruise, tilt wheel, or automatic headlights.Looks like no rear defroster either.
  • cprescott: One virus down, another on its way as scheduled.
  • Art Vandelay: They could. Ford tested with the Lincoln Mk VIII back in the day even though it never raced. Not sure...
  • Art Vandelay: Don’t bet on it Inside Looking Out…When I run the cup cars on iRacing there are a couple of...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth