my 2008 prius key fob experiences

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by prosh0t, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. prosh0t

    prosh0t New Member

    Dec 14, 2009
    Foster City, CA
    2008 Prius
    After many aches and pains with Toyota's lousy key fobs I just wanted to post my experiences to hopefully save someone else money.

    The prius I'm referring to here is a 2008 so this will apply to prius fob's from 2006-2009, i believe

    What I learned :
    - you CAN create a backup yourself buying a used keyfob off ebay (although I was never able to figure out how to program the smart key functions OR the remote lock/unlock etc)
    - Not all Toyota dealerships don't necessarily know what they are doing. After some research on this site you'll probably know more about key fobs than many of them do
    - you CAN fix stuck buttons on the keyfob yourself without dealer intervention

    Problem #1 : Lost the backup key fob, and had to make another one

    Toyota gave me 2 keys when I bought the car. After moving I realized I had lost the backup key. Obviously you always want a backup especially with smart keys which can cost hundreds to replace at the dealer (especially if you are missing both smart keys).

    First after researching this site I learned that there are two types of keyfobs : the first is where the toyota logo on the back is totally black, and the other is where the toyota logo on the back is chrome. I read that the one with the chrome logo has smart key capability, and the other does not.

    I bought a keyfob off of ebay with the silver chrome logo for $55. This was a good deal, they are usually around $100. The metal key on the side was already cut, so I bought a blank metal key (to fit in the new keyfob) off ebay for $10. The metal keys you can get duplicated at any hardware store - I used orchard supply. The new duplicate metal key was able to open the car. Now all I needed was to be able to drive the car in the case I lost the last original key.. so I had to program the keyfob I bought off ebay.

    after following directions I found in these forums (search for 'finally how to program non sks key fob detailed')... sorry I'm not allowed to post URL's yet since I haven't made 5 posts to this forum

    I was able to get the key to drive around WHILE it is inserted in the key hole in the dashboard. It only took about 2 tries for me to program it successfully. I was not able to program it to remote lock/unlock or any of the smart key functionality from the directions in the link above. If anyone was able to do this please let me know!

    Problem #2 : the last original key fob had the 'unlock' button stuck

    The unlock button was stuck down and I could not press it at all. It also prevented me from using the 'lock' button. The smart key functions still worked though.

    Took it to the toyota dealer. They wanted to charge $125 to ATTEMPT TO reprogram my backup key fob (which has working buttons) and there was no guarantee that it would work. On top of this they said it's possible that the code would get erased from the original key and it would not have smart key functionality anymore. If this happened it would be another $200 for a new keyfob plus $125 for the programming on the new one. Just a note, this Toyota dealer was in Daly City, CA... very shady so stay away from them. (I'm not sure.. maybe other Toyota dealerships are better). They did tell me that a stuck button can drain the battery on the FOB. I don't know how accurate this is because the battery was stuck for a good 4 months or so and the battery is still going.

    After refusing to pay the money and have them 'TRY' I got home and read on these forums and found that you can fix this yourself. You have to remove the metal key, then slide the back cover off (which covers where you replace the battery). Next is the tricky part: The two sides of the keyfob are glued together tightly. You can separate the side where the metal key goes (while the other side stays stuck) and the stuck button on the inside will pop back in place automatically! You don't even really have to go inside there. Separate the 2 sides of plastic by about 4 or 5 millimeters and it will pop back in place. That's it! I didn't even have to glue anything back together because the remaining glue holds the key together pretty well still. Let me explain as best as I can how to separate the glued part on the side of the metal key since this is the hard part:

    The metal key fits inside the 'hole' parallel to the fob that runs along the side. I first tried using a pocket knife to dig into where the fob is joined by glue toward the corner (under where the black part of the metal key would be). This proved too hard to open this way. I then used the pocket knife to run the sharp side of the knife parallel to the side of the keyfob right down the glue joint. This is the thin part above where the metal would be if the key were in. Once this thin part separated, much of the left side of the whole keyfob also separated and lifted up enough to allow the button inside to automatically pop back in place. That was it.

    This issue alone has been enough of a headache for me to actually be deterred from buying a Prius again (or any other smart key car). It might prevent my car from being stolen, but with insurance it would be cheaper for me to have my car stolen than to lose my keys... that's just ridiculous in my opinion. I hope this post can help save someone else a bit of the same headache I've had.
  2. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

    Mar 2, 2006
    Northern Michigan
    2006 Prius
    This has been covered many times on PC, but in the interest of completeness let me add a couple of points to this thread:

    1) Only new SKS (Smart Key System) fobs can be associated with a car for smart functions. SKS fobs from EBay will most likely not work.

    2) Only a dealer or someone with dealer tools can associate an SKS fob for smart functions.

    3) Anyone can pair a fob, dumb or smart, to work as a dumb fob. You do this by inserting the fob in the dash and doing a little dance with the controls. Instructions can be found on PC.

    4) The dumb fob, as described in #3 above, will only work when inserted into the dash slot.

    5) The metal key is a normal Toyota key blank. Backups can be cut at any competent key shop. It looks different since it lacks the normal top, but the rest of the key is a standard blank.

    6) If you lose all of your key fobs, it will cost you more to get the car ECU reset and reprogrammed.

    As a final comment, I love the SKS. It's one of my favorite features.