Keyless Fobs, The High Price Of Convenience

from the worth-it dept

Keyless car entry and ignition using a fob is a great convenience, though it does entail some risks. Anyone who has bought a car employing them is warned about the high replacement costs, sometimes nearing $1000. Another risk, with keyless ignition, is that the car can be driven away without the key in it. A driver recently learned this the hard way when a valet started his car for him, but threw the fob on the hood. As he pulled away, it slipped off, but the car kept running. Had he realized this sooner, it might have made for an amusing Speed-like incident, with the driver forced to keep his car running while looking for the fob on the side of the road. Some mechanism that immediately warns the driver when not in the presence of the fob might be useful, as would a security measure that prevented someone from jumping into the car and driving away with it after driver’s unlocked it (admittedly, this could be tough). Other than the risks, shouldn’t this technology reduce costs? It seems like reprogramming a key and an engine should be less expensive than hacking open a door, trying to find a VIN, and then chiseling out a new key.

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Comments on “Keyless Fobs, The High Price Of Convenience”

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MissingFrame (user link) says:

Profit margin$

and CDs should be cheaper than cassettes …

You’re right, it’ll take a while before all the strange circumstance bugs are worked out of the technologies. This is true for any new tech. But for the cost, well, that’s probably because those who buy the fancy items can afford to pay the big bucks. Plus, original equipment parts are WAY WAY overpriced. If you bought a car piece by piece you’d pay over $100k for a Dodge Neon.

Michele says:

FOB replacement

Although it doesn’t solve the issues discussed, a good insurance policy on the loss of these expensive FOBs is

My challenge with my keyless FOB is that I can’t always find it. It will fall under the seat and though the car runs while it’s there, I can’t leave it! I never lost my keys in the car when they were in the ignition.

Dale says:

Written by someone who's never driven a car with k

People who have never driven a car with keyless ignition tend to imagine all kinds of fanciful ways in which the technology is a risk. They’re typically way off base, as I believe this article is:

“As he pulled away, it slipped off, but the car kept running.”

Well of course it did. Would an ignition cut-off whenever the car loses contact with the FOB be a good idea? Sounds like a very bad idea to me.

“Some mechanism that immediately warns the driver when not in the presence of the fob might be useful…”

My car has this. If I start the car and get out with the FOB in my pocket the car lets out a series of quick beeps as a warning.

“…as would a security measure that prevented someone from jumping into the car and driving away with it after driver’s unlocked it…”

I’m not sure what the author is imagining here. I unlock my door and as I’m opening it the car-jacker jumps in before I have a chance to? Here’s the security measure for that one: take a step back away from the car. My car has four FOB sensors: one in the driver’s door, one in the passenger’s front door, one in the tailgate and one inside the dash. The car will only allow operation of the control that’s near the sensor that detects the FOB. If I’m standing by the driver’s door I can unlock that door. No one can unlock the passenger door, the tailgate or start the car while I’m standing in that location. If I’ve already started the car and someone somehow gains control of it that’s no different than if I’d started it with a key. But there’s the added security that without a key or FOB once the ignition is turned off it can’t be re-started.

“Anyone who has bought a car employing them is warned about the high replacement costs…”

Hey, nobody said a word about this to me when I bought my car!

tom randolph says:

Re: Dale above has no clue

written by someone who doesn’t know what he is talking about. I own a 2006 Zo6 corvette. bought it in Oct 05 yeh it is a rocket. I know for a fact because I did it. if you get in the car start it go in the house oull the keys from your pocket put them on the counter and get in the car and drive away it will start two more times. I drove about 6-7 miles stopped engine off, talked to my daughter started and drove away. 2 miles later pulled over to make a call engine off made call started and drove 3 more miles stopped at moms house engine off stayed for 15-20minutes came out NO START . had to be driven to house to get keys came back started went home. That is a fact this did happen. I do not know how far you could drive but I will bet there is software that will keep your car local. in fact the first time Homie nails it around any curved road at all thats where it will be. In two pieces but right there

Dave Zeltser says:

keyless entry.

I have a 2005 corvette. it has a keyless entry and keyless start system which in my opinion works great. i walk up with my keys clipped to my belt, open the door get in and push start. Its simple and easy. As far as driving off without the key in it, i stop by dailly to check the mail at my PO box, i leave my car running as i get out and as soon as i walk about 10 feet away it locks itself while running to keep intruders out. i grab my mail and come back to the car which automatically unlocks. Convenient yes. Additionally the key fob must be in the drivers seat in order to start. It uses a system of triangulation to figure out if the driver indeed has the key fob. Once you get it started you can indeed drive away. It only checks for the fob on startup. On shutdown if the key isnt in the car it prompts you by giving the following message “No fob found. Shut off or run?” i think its safe, so far. Until someone can clone the fob im not going to lose sleep over it.

Chris Irwin says:

After-Market keyless entry and Remote start

I have an After-Market Keyless entry and Remote start system on a 1999 Ford Taurus. The unit itself, and installation costs about $250. It is also two-way and the keychain can identify whether the vehicle actually started.

Also, Keith Zimmerman is right in that they can be wired to the brake. As soon as I depress the brake pedal to place my vehicle into gear, the engine shuts off if the keys are not in the ignition. It just makes sense this way.

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

I hate 'em

The fobs, dongles and all that crap make my keychain too fat. It has only a Medeco house key and a dongle and it’s a pain to stick in my pocket. What happenend to actually touching the damned car to lock/unlock it? I have to be that close in order to actually climb into it!

Just a solution looking for a problem if you ask me.

Anonymous Coward says:

I used to have the keyless start on my Jeep and it would turn itself off after 15 mins but it’s great if you have kids cause I could look them in the car and leave the air on if I went into the gas station to pay etc but I’ve gotten rid of the Jeep and now have an 06 Lexus es and want to add this feature but Lexus says they don’t do it….any ideas where I could get it done??? I’m in Orange County California.

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