2012 Prius v starts (and drives) without key. How can this be?

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by Plhys, Dec 21, 2020.

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  1. Plhys

    Plhys Junior Member

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    My 2012 Prius v wagon starts without a key. There is a blinking light that seems to be a graphic of a key in the lower right corner of the display when the car is off. The display is normal when the car is on except for a "needs air" tire symbol and a needs maintenance light.


    I have not driven the car much for the past several months because it overheats when driven above 50 mph. The battery went bad during the period I was not driving the car and I first tried to start the car with a battery charger set to the start position (after charging the battery) and then replaced the battery with a new non-Toyota battery and the car started right up.
    I probably drove the car 8 times over a 7 month period. During the 8 month period, I assumed the key was in the car but did not know exactly where the key was. I just figured I would find the key when I decided to take the car to a mechanic. The car has 212 k miles on it.

    Today I decided to take the car to a mechanic, went out to the car and it started right up. I looked for the key and could not find it. I then took everything out of the car except for the spare tire and jack and did not find the key.I had a friend who looked for the key. He could not find the key. I hired someone to vacuum out and generally clean the car. She did not find the key.
    I drive the car back and forth in the driveway and then around the block but have not driven it on the road otherwise. I parked the car on the road in front of our house, about 150 ft away from the stuff I took out of the car and the car still starts without a key. The blinking key emblem still shows when the car is off.


    I guess I have 2 questions. Is this possible? If it is not possible and the key must be in the car somewhere, is there some obscure hidden niche in the 2012 Prius Wagon that I should look in?

    I searched Prius Chat for a similar issue. One person reported similar behavior in a Gen 3 Prius and was accused of being a troll. I am not a troll, just a puzzled person.
    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  2. Plhys

    Plhys Junior Member

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    By the way, I just had one key and maybe now have no keys at all. Yes I know, I am an idiot for not getting another key when I was down to 1 key.
    Paul
     
  3. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Did you look in the pull out cup holder under the top console cup holder? There is also a removable tray in that cup holder with room underneath.

    96098FA6-1A2A-4004-A265-5DA6945A2E6A.jpeg
     
  4. Plhys

    Plhys Junior Member

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    I went out and doubled checked the pull-out cup holder. It wasn't there. The removable tray was apparently removed before I ever bought the car. I initially misread your post and tried to pull out a holder from cupholder #1. As I'm sure you know the silver ring pulls off but cupholder 1 is built into the console.

    I appreciate the suggestion.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    maybe the second key is lost in the car somewhere
     
  6. Plhys

    Plhys Junior Member

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    Maybe so. Athur Doyle had Sherlock Holmes say: "(.when you have) eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth". I've taken everything loose out of the car. It seems impossible that the key is inside the car . . . but the car starts.

    So my (somewhat revised) question is: is it impossible for a 2012 Prius v to turn on if a key is not inside the car? Because if it is impossible for the car to start without a key the key must be in there somewhere and I need to continue searching until I find the key even if I have to remove seats and carpet to find the key.
     
  7. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    By the way, the bottom right indicator light is the security system. On a Toyota it is called the Immobilizer System. It always flashes with the car off. It will only go off if you push the Power button WITH the keyfob inside the car. Which is what your car is doing. Plus it goes to Ready and runs only with the keyfob inside the car. FE931D0B-E215-4BE6-B1F7-CE41D1990EF7.jpeg
     
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  8. Air_Boss

    Air_Boss Senior Member

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    So begins the find-the-key interior teardown...
     
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  9. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Do you have a remote start in the car? They did not come standard.

    Given that you took the car 150 feet away and it still started and drove, I believe the fob is in the car. I would at least take out the front and back seats. I might unhook the glove box tabs to access the area behind it. There are some air ducts under the seat as well.

    Otherwise you could make an appointment with the dealer to buy a new fob and have them program it to the car. They could then disable the current one in the car's ecu. You need to do something before the current fob dies due to weak battery.

    Note to moderator: it took over 24 hours to allow this guy's response to be viewed.
     
    #9 rjparker, Dec 22, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
  10. overexposure

    overexposure Junior Member

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    With your key outside of the car press the button on the main door handle ( drivers side ) to close the car , if the car closes there is no key in the car remaining. If it beeps the second key is somewhere in your car
     
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  11. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Check the second post. He does not have a second key. In the first post he indicates he drives the car around and has parked it 150 ft away and it still starts.
     
  12. Landon51

    Landon51 Member

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    I didn't have time to read all the replies. Look at the place where you can insert the key before pressing the start button.

    You are looking for a small chip that is located in your key. this allows you to bypass security and start the car.

    To start the car, you just need that little black chip. All the other circuitry is just to open the door when you walk up to it.

    For a while with a Corolla, i had it taped to the little ring where you turned the key. That Allowed me to use a metal key when everyone else has this big bulky key.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  13. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Pull out the #10 fuse in the fuse box under the left dash. That deactivates the Smart Key system. If there is a key in the car, it should not start. That will definitely verify that there's a key in the car.

    If you can not find it, you can use Techstream and take it off the list of functional keys. If you ever find it, it can be readded.
     
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  14. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Any update?
     
  15. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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    @Plhys
    How did you make out? Any developments?
     
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