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July 25, 2012


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I am renting a Jeep Grand Cherokee while vacationing in southern Ontario for the American Le Mans Series weekend at Mosport (aside: I cannot call it by its new name, it will always be Mosport to me, as it was when I was growing up at Moss Corner in the 70s and 80s) and some other side trips.

It (the Jeep) has this stupid transponder key system too. Several times when I was camping at the race track, I feared I'd lock it inside the car - though the manual (yes, I read it!) says that the car would give me 2 chances to retrieve the key if I tried to lock it inside, then it would dutifully lock up the car regardless of where the key was.

I had the opposite problem you did - when I get out of the vehicle, close the door, and push the little button on the handle to try to lock the car up, it still believes the key in my pants pocket is "inside" the car. I have surely looked like an idiot all weekend standing over a meter away from the car and leaning over, stretching out my arm, to tap the lock button.

(Yes, I know I could use the button on the key to lock it.. but that would defeat the purpose of leaving it in my pocket in the first place!)

Andy Ball

Are we talking about what Toyota calls "Smart Key"?
The system that allows me to walk up to my car in the mall parking lot with arm fulls of shopping and without struggling to find and retrieve the keys from my pocket allows me to stick one pinky under the door handle to gain entry?
The system where it's impossible to lock the keys in the car?
Surely Jim had you dropped conventional keys in the drivers map pocket the car still would have refused to start?
To quote our old IT manager "user error";)


I feel your pain. My office got a new Camry hybrid earlier this year. When I first went to use it, I was surprised; no key. Maybe there's a slot or holder for this key fob....no. Hang on, something is lit up on the dashboard why don't I press that large start button? It didn't work.

I ended up having to spend 10 minutes looking up the starting procedure in the owner's manual. Turns out, I had to push the start button twice and again to turn it off later. Starting a car in the second decade of the 21st century shouldn't be this convoluted, or difficult to figure out.

And the biggest laugh of all? With all this fancy tech, there's no Bluetooth installed!

I'm developing a greater sympathy for the grumpy old guy who used to shout at the neighbourhood kids to stay on the bike paths, and out of his yard.


Most horrific story dealing with a "smart key" (this was a friend of mine with his BMW 135i)

As Posted (private forum so no link):
I drop my car off at my neighborhood car wash down the street and tell them I'll be back in an hour. He asks if the key is in the car - I say yes, in the dash slot. (My car has the Comfort Access package with a proximity key but I always put it in the dash slot at the car wash because otherwise they are utterly confounded)

I walk home and change, grab something to eat, and walk back to the car wash. The car is parked inside and the guy says hang on, let me move this other car out of the way and you can do a 3 point turn and go out the in door. OK, and so I do.

I drive to go pick up my dog and when I come to a stop the instrument cluster gives me a giant *NO KEY* warning. F***. Luckily, I'd not yet shut off the car. I drive back to the car wash and ask them for the key. I see four blank eyes staring back at me. One guy goes "Its on the windshield wiper." WTF - not anymore it ain't.

We looked all around the engine compartment and didn't find shit. Did I mention this is my ONLY KEY>>>? Yeah, awesome. When I showed up to buy my car in Connecticut, the seller said "Oh, did I forget to tell you I only have the one key?" Yippee.

I guess I'm making trip to the dealer tomorrow for a new smart key (more likely two). The owner of the car wash said he'd reimburse me but until I have the cash in my pocket...

I drove it home and parked it. Looks like I'm renting a car or riding the motorcycle for a few days

Next day, I woke up to read:

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