Author Topic: Explain car keys to me  (Read 2932 times)

Paul der Krake

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Explain car keys to me
« on: January 13, 2020, 09:41:30 PM »
I have a 2010 Toyota Corolla. It came with 3 keys. They are all original keys from the car that was purchased new 10 years ago. Two look like this:



And one, the "valet" key, looks like this:



I was under the impression that the first two keys were expensive and came with a chip that needs to be programmed to work. They also don't look very waterproof. But I like to go in water. Saltwater, to be precise. For hours at a time. So I carry my valet key with me, thinking it's just a dumb key with no technology whatsoever in it. So far so good. This setup works.

Here is my question: why can I not copy the valet key to get another "waterproof" key? I've now tried two different stores and even though the valet copies look absolutely identical to my untrained eye, I just cannot open the driver door with them. It goes in, but I cannot turn it in either direction.

Please explain. Is there some sort of technology in the valet key that will eventually die when it's been exposed to just enough saltwater?

If that makes a difference, the car also has an alarm, but I have no idea how it works. I only know about it because a red light glows in the interior with "alarm" written next to it.

pdxmonkey

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 09:46:12 PM »
It has a chip in it. It just doesn't have remote buttons and other fanciness that requires a battery. It's probably well sealed and fairly safe to take in the water. You can get a copy, but it's going to need a copy of the chip inside as well.

Wrenchturner

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 10:10:32 PM »
It has a chip in it. It just doesn't have remote buttons and other fanciness that requires a battery. It's probably well sealed and fairly safe to take in the water. You can get a copy, but it's going to need a copy of the chip inside as well.
Bingo.  Seems weird you can't open the door with it though, I thought the chip was just for the ignition.

Ch@d

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 10:28:13 AM »
have you tried using one of the keys that you made with the valet key right by it just to see if it is the chip that makes it work?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 12:54:53 PM »
have you tried using one of the keys that you made with the valet key right by it just to see if it is the chip that makes it work?
Good idea! I put the real valet key as physically close to the other as possible, but no dice. I'm super curious as to what makes this work.

But I guess I have my answer. Keep using the valet key and hope the seal never fails.

GyroTech

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 10:14:37 AM »
It definitely seems very weird that they cant open the actual door lock, considering that that's usually a physical lock. That said, sometimes minor imperfections can make for difficult/impossible lock turnings.

I had a chipped key that I kept a spare nonchipped one in my wallet for ages. Was a 2012 Nissan Versa. Anyways I used that many a time to get myself out of a jam when I accidentally locked myself out of the car. It wouldnt start the engine, but it'd turn the lock just fine.

As far as the suggestion goes to have one of the other button keys nearby...well unless its a keyless start they arent communicating except through the physical metal of the key.

BTDretire

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 08:51:51 PM »
I recently did some searching on this chip in key subject.
It's worth pulling up a few Youtube videos to get an understanding
of the subject.
  I haven't done it yet, but it looks like I can carefully cut and open the key,
 slide out the chip and install that in the column near the ignition ring and
then use a valet key to start the car.

Car Jack

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2020, 11:11:45 AM »
All of the factory keys have the chip in them.  If you have a new non-chip key cut correctly, it will indeed open the doors by the door lock.  A kludge way that most aftermarket car starters work is that the valet key is put inside of the steering column.  Then the electronics are able to initiate a start....the car sends a radio wave looking for the key.....the key chip activates and sends the correct code and bam....the car is remote started.

For swimming, this is a perfect solution.  Carry the $3 non chip key with you (I'd buy 5 of them....put one in a magnetic hide-a-key somewhere on the car, one at home, one to the spouse, one in a magnetic hide-a-key on the spouse's car and then the 5th to carry with you and use all the time.


StashingAway

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2020, 08:08:22 AM »
All of the factory keys have the chip in them.  If you have a new non-chip key cut correctly, it will indeed open the doors by the door lock.  A kludge way that most aftermarket car starters work is that the valet key is put inside of the steering column.  Then the electronics are able to initiate a start....the car sends a radio wave looking for the key.....the key chip activates and sends the correct code and bam....the car is remote started.

For swimming, this is a perfect solution.  Carry the $3 non chip key with you (I'd buy 5 of them....put one in a magnetic hide-a-key somewhere on the car, one at home, one to the spouse, one in a magnetic hide-a-key on the spouse's car and then the 5th to carry with you and use all the time.

+1. The door does not need a chip to open; it is likely that your "valet" key is cut slightly differently- just different enough to not work on the doors. But in theory, it should. My guess is that they key isn't even turning, correct? It's likely an aftermarket key or the tumblers on the doors aren't as worn as the steering column, so the valet key doesn't work anymore.

I'd inspect the valet key visually in comparison to the working keys, then maybe see if you can get it re-cut to match the keys that work. Or, if you can't do that, then see if you buy a cheap dumb key cut to match your working keys (a couple dollar test). If that works, then you can pony up for another water resistant smart key.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2020, 08:19:07 AM »
Last car I owned that had a valet key was a 2004 Golf.  The valet key would open the driver side door and work the ignition.  It would not unlock the glove box, trunk, or passenger door.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2020, 02:01:12 PM »
Last car I owned that had a valet key was a 2004 Golf.  The valet key would open the driver side door and work the ignition.  It would not unlock the glove box, trunk, or passenger door.
You're describing every valet key ever.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2020, 03:53:55 AM »
Last car I owned that had a valet key was a 2004 Golf.  The valet key would open the driver side door and work the ignition.  It would not unlock the glove box, trunk, or passenger door.
You're describing every valet key ever.

Ya, I misread your original Q.  The valet on my golf did not have a chip, it was cut slightly different than the normal key. 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 04:41:34 AM by Dogastrophe »

Car Jack

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2020, 12:22:15 PM »
If the car needed a chip to start (so we're talking like newer than 1990), then yes, the valet key did have a chip.  It didn't have the remote buttons, but that's different.  You can take keys to auto parts shops or hardware stores to check if they have a chip.  I've seen the machines in auto zone and the local hardware store.  You put the key on the machine and push a button and it tells you if you have a chip.

Sjalabais

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2020, 12:30:48 AM »
Wouldn't a "chip" need some sort of battery to stay alive in order to receive and answer a signal? My valet keys don't have batteries, alas, I don't expect them to talk to my cars either.

hdatontodo

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Re: Explain car keys to me
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2020, 05:18:07 AM »
Wouldn't a "chip" need some sort of battery to stay alive in order to receive and answer a signal? My valet keys don't have batteries, alas, I don't expect them to talk to my cars either.
Think of those work door entry cards you hold against a panel or credit card you hold  flat on the outside of a reader or gas pump. They don't have batteries. A magnetic field in the device induces a voltage onto the card to power it.

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