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Discussion Starter #1
My smart key for my 06 prius randomly stopped working. I have replaced the battery multiple times but when I do it only works for a few days then stops (no red light flashing on the key, the car does not register they key and I have to take the hidden key out to unlock my car and put the entire smart key in the ignition to start my car). Before it did this the alarm would randomly go off a couple times it hasn't done it in a long time. I'm not willing to spend. $300 for a new one yet so I really want to try to figure out what's wrong with this key
 

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Help!! I replaced the battery in both of my key fobs and neither of them work. I can't unlock the door, even with the key from the key fob. I watched a video on replacing the battery so I know I did it correctly. I don't know what's going on and I need to get to work tomorrow. I am desperate. Your help is appreciated.
 

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I forgot to mention it's a 2010 Prius. I've never used the key in the door before, so I don't know if the key even works. Right now it is not working. My car is locked. And I can't unlock it.
 

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In response to Kendraa: The key fob battery should last for several years. I only replaced them once on my 2004 Prius. It may be that your key fob has a key stuck on, but that should cause other problems.

A warning on changing the battery in the key fobs: These replacement batteries should not be put between your fingers. There is not a lot of power available in them and touching the top and bottom can drain them pretty fast. This is especially true if you hold them with something like tweezers as that will short out the battery and it will go dead fast.

Make sure to use the exact battery number as stated in the manual. These thin batteries may look alike but they are not!

The problem with the key fob setting off the alarm is due to the red alarm button being raised. It can bet pressed in a purse or pocket. If it happens too often make sure to put the fob in a different pocket or purse and not with a coins or other keys.

If the problem persists, you man have to have a Toyota dealer change the battery and then if it quits you can go back and point out there must be another problem.
 

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To debkatz007: Please read my post to Kendraa about changing the fob battery. With the 2012 and later Prius there is no location to plug in a key fob. Just take your key out of the fob press on the side of the fob as marked and pull on the key ring attachment and your key will slide out. You can open the driver's door with that key. The technique is the same as for the 2004-2009 Prius except for the location of the key release slide or rectangle.

If the battery is really dead hold the fob up by the Power button on the dashboard and then press the button. The direction for doing this is in the manual (which is probably locked in your car - sorry).

Good Luck.
 

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Thanks for writing. After changing the battery, I pressed the unlock button on the fob and a red light showed fleetingly on the front of the fob. I think that means that the battery does work.

However, nothing unlocks the car. I have tried each of the keys in my key fobs and neither of them will unlock the driver side door. Have you ever heard of this happening?

I'm starting to suspect that something is wrong from inside the car and not the key fobs? I also suspect that my keys might be the wrong keys for this car.

Thanks.

I'm not sure if there's a key in the passenger door, I doubt it. If there is of course I will try it.
 

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Fdret24 thanks for the response! Regarding the alarm this happened when my key was sitting on a table in my garage and nothing was near it so I'm sure the panic button was not pushed and my garage was open with my car right in my sight so I know nobody/ nothing bummed it to sound the alarm. The previous owner was not the most mindful of people so he didn't take care of the car very well and was an outdoorsman so I'm thinking maybe dirt or water got in the key fob and after time it eventually wore out due to the dirty conditions. Can you tell me what the "key" BUTTON is under the steering wheel and what it does?! Thanks again for your response!!
 

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For debcatz007: The small flash of the tiny red LED in the fob indicates there is power.

What really shocks me is the key in your fob doesn't unlock the drivers door. That is your emergency access to your car when your key fob battery is dead or the 12Volt battery is dead. This is a mechanical lock and only requires the key you extracted from the fob. There is only one key lock on a Prius and it is on the driver's door.

Did you buy this car new or was it used? If new the dealer should fix this!

If it is a used car I would worry that the previous owner either lost or otherwise had to replace one or both fobs. He/she may not have thought about the physical key not matching the driver door key lock. The means you can not enter your vehicle. I would have thought the dealer should have checked this out or let you know there was a problem.

If you purchased the car directly from another owner then I would suggest you contact them or get your car towed to a Toyota dealer for repair. It could be expensive.

After putting a new battery into the fob and making sure the tiny LED lights when pressing the button, the car should unlock if the 12Volt battery is working (assuming the key fob was working before you changed the battery).

In any case, that key you can remove from the fob is your access to your car in case the 12Volt battery is dead. A Toyota dealer may be able to make a door key that fits the lock if they can look it up on their computer systems. It could also be that the door was replaced (from a wrecking yard) and has the lock from the old car. You can see the possibilities.....

Please post a note letting us all know how this turns out.
 

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For Kendraa: I am beginning to that some you may be correct about dirt, grit, or water may have damaged the fob. The key fob should not have triggered the alarm when just sitting on your table. Not sure if you can clean it out. You may need a new key fob. If you get a new fob be sure to transfer you old driver side key from the old fob to the new one.

The key ring attachment on one of my 2004 fobs broke and I was able to have my Toyota dealer make a replacement from the old key. I did check it out to make sure it worked on the door.

The Key button under the dash is to turn on and off the SKS (key less entry system) where you walk up to the car (with your key in a pocket or purse) and touch the sensor on the door to unlock it. Turning that off will lower the drain on the 12Volt battery when the car is parked for more than a few days. If that is turned off you would normally open the door by pressing the unlock button on the fob.

Keep us posted on what you do next.
 

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Here is what I discovered. I figured out that the 12 V battery was dead and that's why I couldn't use my fob. It died because I accidentally left my dome light on. I sure wish that light would turn off after about 10 minutes!

I called my Toyota dealer ? ? I got the car new, by the way ? ? and they instructed me to get a lock lubricant to spray in the keyhole and try the key again. I did that and also put a tiny bit on the keys, as you can't really get in the keyhole easily. Yes, now I can unlock my car!! Both of the mechanical keys do work.

Important notes about mechanical keys: to unlock the door with the key, turn the key to the RIGHT. AND a locksmith told me that if you have never used the key in the lock, it may be hard to open the door without first spraying a lock lubricant in there. That was exactly my situation. I tried it before, turning in both left and right, and nothing happened. PS: do not use graphite according to the locksmith. The dealer actually told me to use graphite.

Lastly, I'm wondering if anyone knows how long I need to run my car and/or drive it so the 12 V battery will have enough charge. I have roadside assistance coming over any minute.

Thanks for all of your help. The print was tiny so I couldn't read your name. But you know who you are. ?
 

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Thanks for reporting back!

I am glad you got it working. I tried the key in my 2004 and had no problem, but the car was still pretty new. I did check my key in my 2013 when I picked it up from the dealer and it worked fine too. I'll have to carry some lock lubricant spray in case I have to get in with the key.

In my 2004 the charge rate is limited so it does take a while to re-charge the 12Volt battery. Also the 12Volt batteries do not take full discharges well and never seem to fully recover. You man want to keep an eye on the battery. It doesn't really matter if you are driving the car or not. As long as it is in the READY mode and in either Drive or Park the battery will be charging. Keep an eye on the Traction battery level. It will slowly drop down and then engine will turn on when it hits 2 bars. I've noticed that the rate of traction battery charge drop slows down as the 12Volt batter reaches full charge.

I have taken my 2004 out for a couple of hour drive and that seems to completely re-charge it. That is easy to do at rush hour in a big city like Seattle or Portland. I have found my 12Volt battery lasts about 3 years before I have to change it.

One warning: if you try to jumper the car from another vehicle remember to check the polarity of the cables because a reversal is pretty much fatal on the hybrid electronics (from my reading of others that have done so).

Good luck - these are good cars.
 
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