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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Following is what I emailed Toyota:
*******
Just purchased a Prius and was told that the chip in my Master Key would be destroyed if I wrap it in tinfoil. Is that true?

The question arose when I discovered the problem of hiding a key externally on the Prius, as I have done with every car I owned in the past, and my family and I have been saved many times. I asked the tech if there was a better way to hide the key.

If the Prius Master key is hidden on the car, than anyone has access to the car. So I removed the mechanical key from the Master key and wrapped the Master key in tinfoil, and hid it inside the car to better protect it from the elements. I then hid the mechanical key safely under the car.

Now, if I were locked out I could retrieve the mechanical key, and then get into the car and retrieve the Master key from its secret location.

The Toyota tech told me to get it out of the aluminum as that would destroy the chip. I did so and the key seems to be OK, but I don't want to continue experimenting and destroy the Master key.

I think he is confused by the statement in your Prius manual on page 20 that states, "Do not affix any material that cuts off electromagnetic waves (such as a metal seal) on the key."

What I feel is meant by that statement is the well known fact that a metal seal could impede the small radiated signal from the transponder, depending upon its physical orientation to the receiver in the Prius.

There must be millions of small metal key boxes with a magnet attached sold in automotive stores, so that a key could be hidden under the car, and I can't believe that wouldn't be pointed out in the Toyota manual not to use such an item.

Please advise.
*******end of my messge
They responded with 5 Knowledgebase suggestions:

Title: Prius - Tax Deduction
Title: Prius - Fuel Economy
Title: Timing Belt and Timing Chain
Title: Purchasing an Owner’s Manual or Repair Manual
Title: Prius - Collision Safety
*******
I replied to them that none of those seemed appropriate.

I never heard from them again.
******
Help please.
 

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Sounds like those folks from Toyota had left the tinfoil on their heads--no "reception" that way.
 

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Yes, just doesn't make sense to me either!

However, unless the tinfoil is enough to block the Smart Key signal from your key, hiding it in the car doesn't seem any more secure than hiding it on the car, or am I missing something? You could turn the Smart Key function off overy time you did this, I suppose... or is it not a Smart Key? The subject implies it is.

I think you need a Faraday cage cleverly disguised as a rock to hid your key in near the car...
 

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or take the battery out of the key that you hide, and hide the battery with it. Then wouldn't the 'smart' part be disabled until you want it? If it's still 'smart,' you cannot lock the outside door easily. (YES, I know we had a long discussion about how to lock the key in the car on purpose)
 

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Or use my favorite hide-a-key concept: The fake pile of dog$hit.

I'm not making this up, I saw it in a catalog. I do not know if it comes with a vial of, em, "scent."

The idea is to place this in the front yard like the fake-rock. Naturally, the burglar will not think to thrust his fingers into it just in case you hid your key there. Now for this to work, there are several issues:

1) To blend in, this item would have to look right at home. Do you routinely leave steaming piles in your front yard? Your neighbors must love you. If so, go to step 2.

2) Some dark, drunken late-night after-party stumble home, you realize you forgot your keys. Now, think hard, which steaming pile is the fake one? Choose wisely, Grasshopper.

3) Will this fool your dog, too? If he mistakes the fake for the real, considering what dogs sometimes "do", he may ingest the fake one. Then you will have to remove your fake pile from his soon-coming real one, thereby defeating the purpose of using a fake one in the first place. Why not just use a real pile, then?

Okay, okay, try the metal magnetic box instead.
 

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Sanny’s solution seems logical. No battery - no Smart Key. If you remove the mechanical key and carry it in your wallet or place it in a hidden area on the car you would always have access to the Smart Key and its battery hidden inside the car. I think I’ll give it a try.

'05 Silver pkg. 4
Buffalo, NY
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
More information on my key/tinfoil problem.

For those who suggested removing the battery, I thought of that but reading the manual, one must remove 4 small screws, and probably with a special small screwdriver.

Wrapping it in tinfoil or using a small metal box would be quite a bit easier.

Wrapping it in tinfoil did work, but when I was told to remove it or destroy the chip I became concerned.

When the salesman who sold me the car called to see if I was having any problems, I said, yes, quite a few, and he wanted to know what they were. I said I would see if he could solve the tinfoil problem first.

Three or four days later he called me back and said that the Service Manager who told me it would destroy the chip hadn't returned any of my phone calls as he was to busy.

The salesman said he had called Toyota and talked to three techs. One said it would destroy the chip, the second said it wouldn't destroy the chip and a third didn't know.

I wanted to talk to the Service Manager who told me of the problem, so that I could ask him what his source of information was, but I guess he may still be to busy, although when I talked to him the first time to have Protector put on the car, he told me to call him anytime. Of course he didn't say he would return the call.

Incidently the salesman, didn't ask me what the second problem on my list was, or the third, etc.....
 

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Leaving the master key unit inside the car will keep the doors from being locked. Try it. You can't lock your key inside the car.
The battery inside the master key unit only works the lock-unlock-panic functions. The chip does not use power just like other transponder keys.

If the master unit can be placed somewhere iside the car and shilded, the doors may lock. Then you could just purchase and cut lots of small keys for the family, and once inside the car, everyone could use the hidden master to drive the car. This may be why the Toyota dealer advises againt wrapping the key - to sell master keys.

One interesting note I bet most Prius owner don't know. Once the key is programmed to a car, it can not be programmed for another car. I see used master keys on ebay all the time. The unit can be programmed to start another car but is only programmed ONCE for the door locks because ot the one-of-a-knd key code.
 

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I am not seeing any such statement on page 20. Page 23 however states that smartkey may malfunction if in contact with or covered by a metallic object. Other issues that would cause this malfunction are strong radio signals, such as from a radio tower, being too close to a cellphone, or when someone else is using a radio remote control at the same time.
In other words, the metal surround would prevent it from functioning while still in that state, not destroy it. Once you remove the interference, it will continue to work, unless the interference was a bucket of water, lava, a hammer rapidly moving in its direction (actually anything heavy moving in its direction, then making contact), etc.

The fob has 3 functions: Remote door lock, SKS, and transponder ID.
The first 2 require power and therefore a working battery in the fob. The last does not require power if the fob is placed in the slot.

As a matter of fact the SKS uses the remote door lock transmitter/reciever system for when the fob responds and transmits to the car.
 

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How about this one, which keeps it simple:

As Sam says, just hide the mechanical key elsewhere on the car and the smart key inside without the battery. To get the car going, just put the fob in the ignition slot and go.

Since it's a backup plan, can't one get by without SKS for a while?
 

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I liked Sanny's solution, assuming the battery isn't too much of a pain to remove. I have PDA stylii with integral very small screwdrivers. Or disable smart key. But the foil should be harmless.

Think about it... the car is a sort of aluminum box and we put the key in it all the time! The only thing that wrapping it in foil could concievably do is reflect the signal back at higher strength than happens inside the car... not really a likely cause of damage and as someone else pointed out, if it were, there would be all kinds of warnings about where you can and can't put the key.
 

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Easy, just take the battery out and put it in the slot like you do if the battery went dead.
You don't have to worry with putting the battery back in when you need. :)
 

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I'm sure this isn't the cheapest methos - but why couldn't an extra non-SKS fob be ordered and leave that fob hidden in the car and its key hidden outside the car? That way you aviod the tin foil entirely and you don't have to turn off the SKS. I have considered doing this too - so I'd love to hear if the experts think that it will work.
 

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Tried Sanny's idea

I tried Sanny’s idea and it works. Step by step here is how it went.
1. Removed the mechanical key from the fob and placed it in my wallet.
2. Removed the battery from the fob. Sliding the cover off was the hardest part. The screws presented no challenge. I used a screw driver from an eyeglass repair kit. Stored battery and screws in the house.
3. Hid the fob inside the Prius.
4. Opened the driver's door. Locked the doors using the toggle lock on the inside of the driver’s door. It locks ALL doors.
5. Used the mechanical key to open driver’s side door.
6. Retrieved the hidden fob.
7. Inserted it into the ignition slot and started the Prius.
8. Drove around the block. Returned to home base and shut down the Prius.
9. Hid the fob. Opened driver’s side door and again used the toggle to lock all the doors.
10. Confirmed that all doors were locked.

Thanks Sanny.

SamSmithIII
Silver ‘05 pkg. 4
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, N.Y.
 

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Re: Tried Sanny's idea

SamSmithIII said:
...Thanks Sanny.
Sheesh, Sam! Didja have to give me credit for a useful post? You'll ruin my reputation! :D Maybe Hep and Melgish won't notice... But Dan will. Rats. I'm going to have to move and change my name...
 

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Quick! Zip over to the other thread about the black bra. It's not too late to save your reputation! :twisted:

Did I say Zip? :roll:
 
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