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Quick question for those who surf or for those with a solid knowledge of the OB key. Does the grey valet key have a chip in it ? I would like to stick it in my wetsuit or trunks when I'm surfing rather than hide it around my car. Just wanted to make sure there were no electronics in it that would be harmed before I did. Thanks in advance, it's much appreciated.
 

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Tried in my Forester with the Valet Key, alarm still went off.

Tried with my Outback with my Valet Key, alarm still went off.

Just let the alarm go off, that's my surfing trick. There will be a lot of Subaru owners there anyway, they will understand.
 

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Quick question for those who surf or for those with a solid knowledge of the OB key. Does the grey valet key have a chip in it ? I would like to stick it in my wetsuit or trunks when I'm surfing rather than hide it around my car. Just wanted to make sure there were no electronics in it that would be harmed before I did. Thanks in advance, it's much appreciated.
Pretty sure it does - given the key used to start the car must have the right electronic Id for the ignition cut off security aspect.

I sail small boats I've been putting the valet key in a water proof pouch and zipped into my webbing pocket on my life jacket. However several surfer buddies who I sail with have had dummy keys made which more or less just work for unlocking the door old school at which point they retrieve their real key. Two of them installed / bolted down a hand gun safe in the trunk where they keep their wallet - car keys etc. They were hit by smash and grabs a couple of times crooks were targeting their car after they watched em gear up and hit the water.
 

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Dummy key and surfing

I'm a surfer around SF also, and know that at certain spots there are derels who watch surfers hide their keys, etc, so I'm not comfortable using a hide a key or stashing my key someplace after locking my car.

I've got a new '14 Outback and have been to three full service lock/key specialty shops and none of them have the current blank to even cut me dummy key just to unlock the door.

Anyone know if the key blank changed between '13 and '14?

Also, I saw on another post related to the valet key, where someone had popped open theirs, and there was a chip inside to allow for ignition function.
 

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There definitely is a chip inside, or it wouldn't start the car. I purchased a non-chipped duplicate of my '13 OB key online and it fit the door perfectly. But guess what, it wouldn't start the car. Duh. I had to try though.

There are plenty of small waterproof bags and boxes available, perhaps you could try one of those.
 

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Braveswan, I can ship you a "dummy" key that'll only unlock your doors if desired. . . Or I could probably find someone near you via one of the locksmith forums I frequent that should be able to help you.

Blanks have not changed from 13-14. Subaru has only used 4 different keyways since the early 80's. The newest is used on the BRZ, Impreza, and Forester, and is actually a reverse of a popular Toyota keyway (that GM had adopted about 10 years earlier).

Anyway, email or PM me if you need help with that.

We don't get surfers around here but we do get lot of whitewater kayakers in the same boat (no pun intended). What we suggest to them is to hide the master key in the car somewhere and lock it up by using the electric power door lock control on the driver's door. That usually doesn't arm the alarm. If it does, when you come back, you've got a master key hidden in the car, just listen to alarm for a few secs while you grab the remote.

Be glad Subaru has a valet option. . . some manufacturers only offer integrated keys.

The transpoinder chips used in non-remote keys (i.e. valet) are fairly impervious to the elements. Being submerged as far as you'll ever be in the surf won't hurt them a bit.
 

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^^^ that's cool! I have to Google the source...
 

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Lockmedic, thanks for the info and offer.

I dropped into the local Subie dealer this afternoon and the "dumbest" key they can cut for me is a valet key type with the chip in it. So do you have access to other types of blanks?

On the way home, I dropped into another local, and reputable, lock shop and the owner happened to help me. He didn't have the right blank either, got on the phone with his supplier, and was told he also could only get a valet type blank with a chip in it. I could go that route and just never sync the chip, since I don't really want the key to be functional for starting the car... He also had another blank he said was an older Honda blank that is just a plain metal type (no plastic grip), which is thicker metal but which he said he could try shaving down, then cutting to fit my key. So I might bring the car over there and he said he would be interested to see if he could that to work just as an experiment for his own interest, and of course wouldn't charge me if it didn't work.

I typically leave my 'surf' key in the car, and am not comfortable if that key can start the engine, otherwise I would just use the valet key that came with the car as others have suggested.

I like the key safe and have used that with rental cars when travelling. Also like the trailer hitch safe, so might have to get a hitch.
 

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Just for a little disambiguation: we're talking about master and valet keys here. . a valet key by definition only operates the doors and ignition. . not the glove or trunk (if those are equipped with locks). People sometimes confuse non-remote with valet keys. A non-remote key will still do everything a master remote key will, it just doesn't have the fancy buttons to let you do it. . .remotely.

Before Subaru HS blanks were available, we would make them from Honda HS blades. . . just have to shave it down to the same width as the Subaru blank first, then duplicate. It can be done, sounds like your guy knows it can be done, buuuut. . .

JMA makes "shell keys" for Subaru already, so there's not really any need to. They look like this:



and they sell wholesale for about $2.50. We sell them cut for about $25. Why? Because the machine needed to cut them accurately was bloody expensive (cheapest one is about $8,000 right now--they've come down a lot. . .and we didn't buy the cheapest one when we bought the one we have).

A shell key is one that has no transponder loaded in it (that little red thing holds the chip and slides into the rest of the key), so you can use them to either build a keyblade/chip combo that does not exist in the aftermarket, or to repair a customer's broken key (cut out the chip and transplant it to the new key shell, no programming required). We do superglue the little red insert in once we've loaded a chip into it and tested the blade, otherwise it might fall out and we'd have a rather unhappy customer.

There are two very big locksmith distributors right there in or near SoCal that I trade with occasionally. One is American Key Supply, the other is National Auto Lock. I don't know if either has a retail division but I'm sure they could hook you up with someone local who has the blank, or perhaps point your guy in their direction. They will sell onesy-twoseys on shells, in case your guy doesn't want to stock any more Subaru keys than the one sale you're bringing. If you tell me where you're at, I can probably suggest somebody without all the cold calling.

In your situation and doing it remotely, the only thing I could make would be a shell key (which would work the same as a master) with no chip in it. I can furnish the chip if you'd like to maybe have it programmed in someday. That can be done at any Subaru dealer or a well-equipped auto locksmith. There won't be much functional difference between the key I make and a "valet" key from Subaru. . .mine will open the glove box, theirs won't.

Just for the record, the chips themselves are pretty much waterproof. . . so it'll live through anything you will.

So there ya go. . . what I can offer isn't really that special in the grand scheme of things, just sounds like you haven't been talking to the right folks over there. For every 10 locksmiths, you might find 1 that really knows cars. . . factor in a small brand like Subaru and that figure probably drops to about 1 in 20.
 

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Again, great info Lockmedic. Thanks.

I'd like to see if my local person can get their hands on one of those JMA blanks or find one in another local shop.

I'm just north of SF in Marin County, and the locksmith I was talking to is in San Rafael, CA 94901.

Please PM me or reply and let me know if you can ID a local retailer that might have those JMA blanks. Thanks again!

Cheers.
 

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I got an all metal key for my doors from a local lock smith. Only charged me $12 for it.
If you lock the doors with the remote the alarm will go off until you start the car with a chipped key. I think if you lock it with the inside button the alarm doesn't arm.
 

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Just for a little disambiguation: we're talking about master and valet keys here. . a valet key by definition only operates the doors and ignition. . not the glove or trunk (if those are equipped with locks). People sometimes confuse non-remote with valet keys. A non-remote key will still do everything a master remote key will, it just doesn't have the fancy buttons to let you do it. . .remotely.........
Interesting. The "Valet" key that came with my '13 SAP will open the glove box.
 

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Lockmedic: So assuming that you have the Barnes programmable CNC machine for security keys (BD Laser) or similar, we could order basic door lock keys cut for our cars by just providing you with the key tag code that came with the OEM keys? And you could do this on a JMA shell so that if for some reason in the future a master key plastic shell gets defaced, we could transfer the working guts to your JMA shell and have a fully restored functional chipped key with door lock buttons? Have I got that right?
 

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I got an all metal key for my doors from a local lock smith. Only charged me $12 for it.
If you lock the doors with the remote the alarm will go off until you start the car with a chipped key. I think if you lock it with the inside button the alarm doesn't arm.

Why not just lock it from the outside with the same key you're going to unlock it with later?

I just tested this, worked fine, no alarm noise:

  1. Exit vehicle, both keys in hand.
  2. Click the lock all remote button to lock everything.
  3. Unlock drivers door only with one click.
  4. Open driver door and stash master key in car
  5. Close door, lock door manually with surfer key

Car is now secure, no alarm set.

Unlock door with surfer key, open door, no alarm. Grab real key, drive away happy.
 

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These "valet" chipped keys are non-remote-control keys, right? No batteries to be replaced?
In that case, why not just coat the key body in epoxy/sealant? I would think the coating would hold up to at least a few days' seawater exposure :) And a DIY solution.
 

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These "valet" chipped keys are non-remote-control keys, right? No batteries to be replaced?
In that case, why not just coat the key body in epoxy/sealant? I would think the coating would hold up to at least a few days' seawater exposure :) And a DIY solution.
No need to coat the things... the RFID capsule is watertight to begin with, and at least a few of the people on this thread don't even want it to work so that the key can't start the engine- it just mechanically unlocks the door.

This is just about having a piece of metal the right shape for the keyway in the front left door, in addition to the key with the coded RFID capsule for starting the engine.
 

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Why not just lock it from the outside with the same key you're going to unlock it with later?

I just tested this, worked fine, no alarm noise:

  1. Exit vehicle, both keys in hand.
  2. Click the lock all remote button to lock everything.
  3. Unlock drivers door only with one click.
  4. Open driver door and stash master key in car
  5. Close door, lock door manually with surfer key

Car is now secure, no alarm set.

Unlock door with surfer key, open door, no alarm. Grab real key, drive away happy.
Good thinking! Sounds like the best way to do it to me.
 
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