Smart Key Absolute Insanity (or why I sometimes wish for a $2 key from the hardware store)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by tigressa, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. tigressa

    tigressa New Member

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    Ok...I have a few key dilemmas that I'm having trouble solving:

    1) how do I know for sure that the Smart Key is dead and doesn't just need a new battery? My smart key died altogether and when I took it to dealer he popped in a battery and said, 'nope, it doesn't work...fork over $450 and buy a new one.." But who knows?

    2) then I went home and tried my back-up key and it was 'dead' too...but I'm figuring since it's a rechargeable battery it needs to just be plugged into the car for a while?? I drove with it for about an hour but it still showed no signs of life for door opening...anyone know how long the key has to be driven with before it is recharged?

    3) going back to the first supposedly 'dead' smart key...if I do indeed need to replace it, there's the pricing...after saying Adios to the overpriced Guy another dealer quoted me $205 for the key plus $70 to reprogram....

    4) but then I found a promised Brand New Key on ebay for $99... my concern if I get that one is that a dealer may claim they can't program it because they want you to buy key from THEM. Anyone have experience with this?

    5) Finally, if it's too hard to go the ebay route, I'll just go tomorrow and plunk down $275 which at least sounds cheap after the insane $450. because if no one will program the ebay one, it's $99 down the tubes.

    HELP???!

    Thanks for any insight!
     
  2. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    wait... the key starts your car but doesn't open the door?.. that's your doors problem.. not the key...

    putting the key in the dash proves it works in some sort of fashion. (at least programmed to your car still) the dash doesn't charge the fob. it's not rechargeable. i don't recall any battery that size being rechargeable.

    we need to verify a few things.

    1. does the fob open the doors by touch.. any of them? (i assume this is no)
    2. does the fob start the car while in your hand? (i assume it works while in dash)
    3. do the buttons on the fob get a response from the car?
    4. when is the last time you changed out the battery? (i assume never... LONG overdue)

    if you do put a new battery in... try sticking the fob in the dash and turning on the car... then shut it off.. pull it out and see if any functions work (buttons on fob, door handles, starting the car while non in-dash)


    btw.. in response to your original post

    1. the car will Never start or responsd (similar to a dead 12v)
    2.Fob battery life is really only a couple years. heavy use and it ends up being 2 to 3... i assume you can store them for roughly the same time if not less (the key is always looking for the car)
    3.they can be expensive. what your seeing sounds average. dealer install is a tad less to much more expensive.
    4.from what i've heard... most will program it. few won't. it happens
    5. ... my first half of the post will hopefully keep the money spending down... if it Is magically dead-ish.. then 275 dollar guarantee is not too bad at all.
     
  3. sub3marathonman

    sub3marathonman Active Member

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    Wow, a dealer possibly trying to overcharge you? I'll have to do some research on that.

    As V8Cobrakid said, if the smartkey works when plugged into the dash, it isn't bad.

    The next step is to go to WalMart or some other place that can replace the little battery with a new one. This can be interesting too. They can usually disassemble it OK, although that can be a problem too when it hasn't been opened in years. You will have to slide the little "latch" on the top where the key comes out a bit further than just taking out the key, then simultaneously pressing on the smartkey and pushing the cover down and off. It is very difficult if you've never done it before, at least that is what I thought. Once it is off, you have to unscrew the little screws and get to the battery. Now, what is interesting is that they can manage to put it back together incorrectly, which I think could possibly let the battery stop making contact. You must put it back on the right way, I believe there is a little ridge in a circular shape that presses down on the battery. You must make sure to pay attention when taking it apart.

    Now, with a new battery and put back together, you can test the smartkey. Even if it still doesn't work, it could be other problems, such as a sensor, or I believe even a cellphone nearby (but I'm not 100% sure on that). It is also possible that the smartkey button under the steering wheel has been inadvertently bumped, so you will have to check that too.

    I would hate to see someone get ripped off by a car dealer. I have heard that it can happen though. I know, who would have guessed?
     
  4. MJFrog

    MJFrog Active Member

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    There is a teeny-tiny led on the upper right corner of the fob. If you press any button and the light does not go on, the battery is dead.

    Make sure you haven't accidentally pressed the 'key' button under the steering column. This will turn off the SKS functions.
     
  5. firepa63

    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

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    Make sure the fob battery is installed correctly and is not upsidedown.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how often does a remote 'go bad'? and what are the odds that both went bad at the same time? i think you need to look elsewhere.
     
  7. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    +1. Check to see if the "Key" button somewhere below the steering wheel is not unintentionally pressed in and thus disabling the smart key function. Good luck! :)
     
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  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    The fob batteries are not rechargeable. You can leave one plugged into the dash forever and it will still have a dead battery.

    Replace the battery yourself and see if the LED flashes when you press the buttons. If it still doesn't work after that, take it to another dealer to make sure.

    Tom
     
  9. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

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    You didn't post where you live. There might be a PriusChatter nearby that would be glad to offer a hand.

    As mentioned, The batteries are not rechargeable. Find someone with a Multimeter that can check the batteries, or if not possible, buy a known-fresh CR2302 battery from a reputable store. All you need is a tiny phillips screwdriver (jewelers type) to change the battery, then if the LED flashes when you press one of the buttons, everything is likely OK with the key.

    A Radio Shack store might be able to offer a hand as well, but it really depends on which store you visit.

    If you are in the Bay area, there are plenty of places!
     
  10. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Everyone's absolutely correct that the fob remote battery isn't rechargeable. Don't get ripped off on a CR2032, esp. at Radio Shack. They frequently want $5 or more when one can be had for <$2 at Fry's Electronics, if there's one near you.

    And yes, to reiterate an earlier post, there's a SKS disable button below the steering column.
     
  11. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

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    Yes, it's true Rat Shack is a ripoff, but they might be willing to install it for you, whereas if you don't have the tools, knowledge, or capability, you may not have many other options.

    Though another choice might be a Jeweler that sells watch batteries.
     
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