According to a large number of news media, keyless entry is replacing physical car keys. Many of our portable gadgets are enough to guarantee us the entrance to our parked cars. According to a recent report from BMW, the car manufacturer is inclined towards the replacement of physical key systems with mobile applications. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
Apparently, keyless car tech is going to be here soon to make the life of car rentals, owners, and regular car users a lot easier. The prototype applications use Near Field Communication or NFC and Bluetooth to connect with the car’s security system and release the locks. The manufacturing companies include a keyless reader to the doors of the car, which instantly unlock on command from the registered electronic device. So you do not have to worry about mobile network or Wi-Fi while opting for a keyless entry system.
However, can you even imagine the ordeal that will ensue once you manage to misplace your phone or lose access to the application? It is going to be quite the hassle if your phone is just low in charge and you are stuck outside your car in the middle of nowhere. Families love to take their vehicles for camping trips in nature parks, far away from civilization and charging points, at times. What will you do once your battery drains and you do not have a physical key to your car?
What are the hidden secrets no manufacturer is telling you –
While buying a high-tech car with keyless entry, you may not notice the cost of the keys since it is nicely included in the net price. However, you are indeed paying for it, and it is not just a few dollars. If you misplace your smart key or merely rig the keyless entry system, you may need to pay at least a couple of hundred dollars for fixing them.
These electronic fobs are not cheap. They are not at all like TV or VCR remotes you can buy from cheap electronic shops. A universal remote cannot control your car, and the manufacturers know this too well. They usually give a single copy of the program and one fob only. When you “break”; it such that the Start button stops working, you can take it to the manufacturer for car key replacement. However, if you do so, be ready for a hole in your pocket.
Even with smart keys and keyless entries, you will need the help of an experienced locksmith. It does not matter if your fob is just unresponsive or if you have broken it in half, a good locksmith can always replace your car keys within a few hours.
If you misplace the fob after a late night party or after pulling overtime at work, you may have to wait till morning till the dealership opens. It becomes a great deal of a hassle for those who frequently travel out of town with their car for work. Physical keys might tend to “hide” when you need them most, but you can always get multiple copies of them during emergencies like these.
The present reality shows no production applications of mobile-based keys en masse right now. It is somewhat complicated, and the process of optimizing the systems for security is quite elaborate. The most significant challenge of losing Smartphone keys might be cracking the encryption. Earlier you could achieve by just going to the locksmith. Once the keyless entry is enforced in the mainstream, you will have to find a hacker and programmer to help you crack the code.
Why do we love the old physical keys?
A good locksmith can also create a copy of your car fob before you break it or misplace it. Smart keys may not be cheap at dealerships or from the original manufacturers, but authorized locksmiths always have ways to make a fresh copy for working keys for you in no time and without a visible dent in your finances.
A word of advice
In case you are tempted to go for fobs, the secret to a peaceful ride is to haggle for an extra set. The dealers can always throw in an extra with your car for few extra bucks. Also, get insurance that covers all the odds involving key related trouble. Electronic keys with remote unlocking deserve a good insurance policy that includes both repairs and replacement under all possible conditions.
We think physical keys are still going to thrive for quite a while. In a world where people are still hesitant about fingerprint scanner to unlock their Samsung Galaxies and iPhones, the time for biometric keys and mobile application based keyless entry to cars are still quite a few decades away.