What's the Point of a 'Valet Key' That Won't Start the Car? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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What's the Point of a 'Valet Key' That Won't Start the Car?

When I had to get new (reprogrammed) keys at the dealer for my wife's 2007 Subaru Outback, they sold me a 'valet key' (without a chip inside, I think). I thought a valet key would start the car but not open the glovebox or trunk (though the Outback has no trunk). But this one will open the doors, turn the ignition on, but will not start the car.

The only point I can see is to carry it with you in case you lock the real key inside. But my wife says she always uses the pushbutton remote fob to lock the car, and the key's with that, so she can't lock herself out.

What am I missing?

/Mr Lynn

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 01:00 AM
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I can drive my car with my Valet Key.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 02:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlynn View Post
When I had to get new (reprogrammed) keys at the dealer for my wife's 2007 Subaru Outback, they sold me a 'valet key' (without a chip inside, I think). I thought a valet key would start the car but not open the glovebox or trunk (though the Outback has no trunk). But this one will open the doors, turn the ignition on, but will not start the car.

The only point I can see is to carry it with you in case you lock the real key inside. But my wife says she always uses the pushbutton remote fob to lock the car, and the key's with that, so she can't lock herself out.

What am I missing?

/Mr Lynn
The valet still contains a RFID chip, same as the other keys, but is cut differently to prevent access to the glovebox. If it will turn the car on but won't start it and the other keys work just fine, they never programmed it to the car. Take it back and have them make sure all of the keys work properly with the car.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Update

OK, I finally broke down and called the Parts Dept at our local Subaru dealer, where I had the new keys made.

The parts guy said that they can't make 'valet keys' for 2007 Outbacks. What they sold me was a 'door key', which has no chip, and cannot start the car. It will open the doors and turn on the ignition—so you can listen to the radio, I guess. I forgot to ask if it will open the glovebox. It cost $10. Don't ask me why I bought it.

I'll give it to my wife to keep in her purse, in case she ever accidentally locks herself out. She claims that's impossible, but. . .

Thanks for the responses. False alarm, I guess.

/Mr Lynn
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 03:00 PM
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They sold you a $1 key for $10 is what they did. If it were my, I'd return it. Obviously they didn't explain what the key does very well at the point of sale. If they can't create a valet key then they shouldn't have told you it was a valet key.

And if I remember correctly, the alarm will go off if you unlock the car manually, after locking it with a remote, and turn the ignition on. Rendering the key pretty useless.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 03:33 PM
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isn't there still a 'valet mode' you place the security system in? wouldn't the key work then?

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vr4Legacy View Post
They sold you a $1 key for $10 is what they did. If it were my, I'd return it. Obviously they didn't explain what the key does very well at the point of sale. If they can't create a valet key then they shouldn't have told you it was a valet key.
Well, it was several months ago, so I'll have to chalk it up to customer stupidity.

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And if I remember correctly, the alarm will go off if you unlock the car manually, after locking it with a remote, and turn the ignition on. Rendering the key pretty useless.
I don't think so. I've unlocked the car manually many times, as I don't carry the remote with me (I don't usually drive the car), and no alarm has gone off. Then, I don't know if this one actually has an alarm. Does have a red blinking security-system light, but no sign of what it does.

/Mr Lynn
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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isn't there still a 'valet mode' you place the security system in? wouldn't the key work then?
Good question; I'll have to check the owner's manual. Although the parts guy told me that a true valet key will have a chip in it; he says this one doesn't.

/Mr Lynn
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 08:06 AM
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I ran into this same issue with a 2007-ish oyota Corolla. Had what I thought was a valet key, and would crank the engine but never start it. Then I tried the glovebox and it unlocked it. It made ZERO sense.

However, yes it appears it's a good last-ditch thing to have around in case you lock the keys in the car. The thing to do is use duct/foil tape on it and secure it behind the license plate. If you have license plate screws that are straight-slot, you can undo them with a dime or penny or whatever. After locking my keys in my truck twice in one week, I learned this simple trick from the locksmith who cut me an additional key for that exact purpose.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 10:03 AM
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There needs to be some disambiguation between "valet" key and "non-transponder key that won't start your car". . . we lockies just call them plain metal keys.

A valet key by definition will only operate enough locks to get in and start/drive the car. . . so no glove box, trunk, seat backs, trunk release lockout, etc., etc.

Lots of people get plain metal copies of chip keys for reasons of cost, but the person selling the key should explain the limitations. It will never start the car, it can never be made to start the car, and it's primary use is to get you back into the car in the event you find yourself locked out. It's handy to have if you lose all your keys as it WILL save some money and time if you hire a locksmith to replace them, but that's about all you can do with it.

We do this every day. We hear people freak out over the cost of chip keys every day. We offer the metal key and explain the limitations clearly and concisely, and often even go so far as to demonstrate that it won't start the car (as some folks refuse to believe their cars are equipped with an immobilizer as 'you can't see the chip').

We still occasionally get people who call irate that they lost their only chip key and the key we sold them won't start the car.

What we've got here is a failure to communicate. . .

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I seem to get a lot of "will xx fit in my car?" emails. . . I'm not the authority on everything Subaru, so I very well may tell you the wrong answer as there's nobody else to check me. Please search or ask via the forums first. . .when I answer you via email, it never gets posted and nobody else can confirm or refute my answer.
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