Smart Keys: Beyond Keyless Entry
Several automotive manufacturers, especially those that produce luxury and hybrid cars, are switching to locking mechanisms and security systems that rely on smart keys. Recently, smart keys have become more readily available features on non-luxury models and keyless entry systems once reserved for the likes of Mercedes Benz drivers can even be retrofit to your car.
What is keyless entry?
Until recently, a remote keyless entry system simply referred to the keyfob that allows you to automatically unlock, lock, and start your car without a traditional key blade (in earlier models, you might still have to place the key in the ignition to crank your car). You might see these systems referred to as passive entry systems, and they can be retrofit to your vehicle even if you don’t already have a keyless system. Smart key systems also typically have an anti-theft feature that allows you to trigger and silence the car alarm remotely.
On newer cars, smart keys feature a computerized chip that syncs with your car via a radio pulse generator, which allows drivers to unlock the car, start the vehicle, and automatically lock the car when walking away. On top of these now common features, manufacturers have been able to advance smart key technology and customize each driver’s experience by:
- Saving drivers’ unique seat settings and automatically adjusting once a driver with the corresponding key fob gets into the driver’s seat
- Opening or closing all of the windows at once
- Cranking the car and heating or cooling the cabin remotely
- Opening and closing the hatchback or trunk
- Folding mirrors in when parked in tight spaces
What are the perks of smart keys?
Once you’ve had the ease of simply approaching your car and having the trunk unlock and open up when you’ve got a hand full of groceries, or you’ve opened the door on a hot summer’s day after work to be greeted by a refreshing blast of cold AC, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without a smart key system. Is it totally necessary? Of course not. Is it convenient and simpler than hassling with an old school key system? You bet.
Being able to unlock the doors without digging in your pockets or a purse for a key isn’t just convenient, it’s a safety issue. Having a smart key that unlocks the vehicle when you approach or when you make contact with the driver’s side handle ensures that you can swiftly and efficiently get into your car without delay.
What happens if I break or lose my smart key?
Just as you would with a regular key, you can call a locksmith! Some folks prefer to call a dealership or just assume that only the dealership will be able to replace or repair their smart key, but a locksmith can often replace your key more affordably and faster than a dealership.