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Camry Hybrid Discussion area for the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Topics of discussion range from fuel economy, safety, modifications, performance all involving Americas favorite family car, the Toyota Camry.

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Old 11-19-2012, 11:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Spare Key Ideas

Hello. I just joined toyotanation after having purchased a 2012 TCH last week. It's an interesting vehicle, which on very early data seems to be delivering on its promised gas mileage. It's also the most technically complex car I've ever owned, and this has banished any thoughts of my trying to work on it myself -- even to change the oil.

One decided disadvantage is the ridiculously expensive Smart Key fobs. I should have bargained for a third key when I bought the car. Now the dealer is quoting over $400 to add one. Ouch!

Actually, all I really want is a backup key for emergencies, so maybe I don't really need a third key, but I definitely don't want to start on a road trip with only one key. I'm pretty good about not losing them, but there is always the possibility that I'll drop the fob and break it, or get it wet, or any other number of arcane possibilities.

For all intents and purposes, I'm the only one who will drive this car. I used to carry a spare key in my wallet, but, well, the fob wouldn't fit there too well. So, what I'm considering is taking one of the Smart Keys, engaging its Electronic Key Battery Saving Function on p 59 of the manual, and storing it in some unobtrusive area inside the car. I'd then put it's metal key in my wallet or change purse for safe keeping. I've tested this and it seems to work OK - the car doesn't complain about the fob being left inside with the Batt Svg function engaged. Another advantage is that every couple months I could swap the fobs to make sure both still work and so each gets some use.

How durable are the fobs? Can they reasonably withstand being dropped a few times without breaking? (On thinking back, I can recall dropping my keychain while fumbling for a key on many occasions and it never killed any of my previous fobs, but this fob isn't just for convenience, it is essential.)

What are people's thoughts on this spare key thing? Any other ideas? Also, is it possible to have a key cut which has a flat traditional head on it instead of the 3D plastic one on the key in the key fob (so that it really would fit well in my wallet)?

Thanks for any advise or insight. I'm looking forward to enjoying my new TCH and interacting with you all here.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum. I think given your circumstances your plan for the spare key is a good one. For extra insurance you could put it in a metal box to block radio frequencies. I recall that such a thing used to be sold. However, those old boxes typically had a magnet on the box to hide the key/box under the car somewhere. Problem now is finding metal instead of plastic to stick it to. And I am also always paranoid about getting a magnet anywhere near electronics for fear of wiping out the memory chip.

I would try a locksmith shop to see if they can make a more compact mechanical key. Sounds like a good idea.

The hybrid is a complex car. However changing the oil is no different than changing it on a standard one. The only issue is the goofy cartridge filter that Toyota has used. But, the non hybrid Camry's have it too.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Ron. I suppose an associated question would be: Has anyone here had a Smart Key actually fail (as opposed to simply being lost), and if so, what were the circumstances? Also, if you have a bad Smart Key in your possession and it is not obviously smashed, is it covered under your warrantee, or will the dealer try to tell you that it failed because of abuse?

BTW, I'm sure I could still manage to change the oil -- I changed the brakes on my Avalon this year -- but the older I get the less enthusiasm I have for crawling under automobiles.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First smart key for me so I wear it around my neck. Just like dog tags they give you in the navy. I bought a plastic cover for it to keep my toxic body secretions from rotting the thing. So far so good.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just like BO, I have my fob around my neck, alongh with my gym card. Pretty darn hard to lose it.
As of dealer pricing. Yes, it costs what it costs. They do have to do some serious reprogramming every time you add a key. You can add up to 4 keys.
Even my neighbor, who is even cheaper than I am, and much more creative in finding cheap way of doing things, had to pay dealer to program key for his wife's Prius. He found stolen key, but that's different story.
No we did not have anyone here reporting failed fobs. Which you should treat it just like your cell phone. TCH will tell you when battery approaches low status.
Also, everyone here does oil changes and braver ones do transmission fluid changes DIY. So, no fear.
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