Is it worth paying more for a car with a smart key system?

November 7, 2014

A smart key lets you enter your car or start the engine without turning a key, simply by having the smart key in your pocket. But is it worth the extra cost?
Hate the bulk of carrying around car keys, or simply can’t remember your keys when you walk out the door of your home? You may think that a key-free car is something from the future, but more and more cars are incorporating this type of smart key technology into their designs.

Touch the door—and it opens

When someone who has a smart key equipped car approaches their car door, the smart key they carry on their person communicates with the system in the car. It signals the door to unlock as soon as the person pulls the handle.

Imagine not having to fumble in your purse for keys on a rainy or cold day, or set down children or pets as you carry them to the car. The smart key offers a new level of convenience for car owners.

Start your car with the press of a button

Ready to start your engine? You won’t need to insert a key into the ignition to get the car going. Simply push the engine start button and the car will roar to life—it’s the smart key card on your person that tells the car it’s okay to operate. Someone sitting in the car without the smart key cannot get it to start simply by pushing the button.

Is this technology safe?

It might seem that moving away from physical keys is opening up a new avenue of vulnerability for the car owner.

Car manufacturers have included anti-theft measures in their smart key technology: rolling codes, for example, are projected by the smart key and then verified by the car’s computer before unlocking the car door. Other manufacturers use computer-encrypted microchips to ward off thieves looking to take advantage of the technology.

Which cars have smart key technology?

Several car manufacturers are including this technology in their cars; luxury and hybrid car makers in particular. Smart keys (or another, similar technology of a different name) may be available as an option for a vehicle. It’s wise to ask the dealership about this feature if you don’t see it listed as a standard feature.

Do I really need a smart key?

That depends on you. If you want the latest in technology available to today’s drivers, a smart key is a fun and useful option. On a budget and can’t invest in the latest? You’re not going to be left in the cold long because you have to unlock your car with a fob or a key. It's just a modern convenience.

Is it worth paying more for a car with a smart key system?
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