Our readers reckon you can outsmart a key
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Jack Biddle’s recent Car Care column on a surfer’s problem with smart keys (Driven, April 18) raised a great deal of debate — and some ingenious ideas — from readers. Here’s a selection:
■When I purchased my Japanese import 2007 Mazda MPV I discovered a second key in one of the little cubbies in the car. I ignored it for the most part but one day my proximity key would not start the car. I tried the surf key but no, it didn’t work in the ignition.
An expert gave me the go: A surf key will get you in and out of the car but should not be used in the ignition as it does not have a chip in it.
Because it has no chip in it, you can get it wet.
You then hide the proximity key in the car where it doesn’t enable the doors to be opened and you are sorted.
I am not a surfer, but this is an issue for anyone wanting to be able to get wet, or risk getting wet (kayakers etc), so hope it helps.
■My wife and I went to the shops in our Audi A6. I hopped out with the smart key in my pocket while she remained in the car. After a few minutes the car locked automatically and she couldn’t get out. The movement set off the alarm and people looked at her trapped in the car with the alarm going.
She had no idea what was going on and thought the car was about to explode. Panic set in and she was close to attempting to break a window.
While she was embarrassed, stressed and and frustrated, I was not popular when I returned some time later.
Lesson learned. Don’t leave someone in the car when you walk away with the smart key in your pocket.
■Silicon Chip magazine (www.siliconchip.com.au) published a whole spiel on this subject about 2-3 months ago. The issues were much more serious than locating the key — eg. total engine-stop power failure while driving on the motorway at night (now subject to legal action). This problem is serious.
■The answer is in the picture alongside the article. Smart keys always have a manual key available in case of battery failure or some such event. You can see it in the picture where the key ring is through the ring on the fob. Press the little round button beside it and the key emerges from within the fob. Your surfers can take the manual key with them and leave the fob at home when they go surfing.
■My Kizashi electronic key has a detachable physical key. I can hide the electronic unit inside the car and lock the vehicle with the physical key. Well thought out by Suzuki and works fine.
■I have a 2005 Mazda which uses the smart key system. As far as I am aware all smart keys come with an ordinary key as part of the smart key. If the smart key becomes faulty from damage or water the user can remove the manual key from the smart key and open the vehicle (all vehicles come with at least one door with a keyhole) and then remove the plastic cover over the ignition and insert the manual key to start the vehicle.
So, this could be a possible work-around for the surfer. Remove the manual key from the smart key and leave the smart key at home while they go surfing. The manual key locks, unlocks and starts the vehicle and will be fine tucked away in a wetsuit pocket.
■The solution to this issue is to wrap your smart key in a thin layer of tin foil. This successfully blocks the transmission from the key. The smart key can then be hidden or placed in a lock box attached to vehicle.