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2007 2.5i Outback
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33 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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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'14 3.6R Outback
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2,345 Posts
I can drive my car with my Valet Key.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i Premium 6MT
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34 Posts
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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2007 2.5i Outback
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33 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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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'11 Outback 2.5i CVT - '06 Forester X 5MT
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1,765 Posts
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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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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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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2007 2.5i Outback
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33 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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.

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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2007 2.5i Outback
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33 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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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2012 OB 3.6R Limited, 2006 LegacyGT
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68 Posts
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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I has car.
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4,621 Posts
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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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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What we've got here is a failure to communicate. . .
I think that originally came from the prison warden in "cool hand luke"

and then later used in many other movies. (somewhere in smokey and the bandit...)

keys,....keep the honest people honest,....runaway bride Sally Field, did not lock her to be husband's car and look what happened:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcNFjpxU0E8
 
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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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^^^ yep - character actor Strother Martin I think.


 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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Some people keep one of those keys around that will only crank and not start just to turn the engine over to circulate oil after doing an oil/filter change, or major repairs.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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4,861 Posts
Well...we bought the OB...took one key fob each and threw the valet key into the kitchen cupboard. That was 6 years ago. Now when I get home I want to take that key and try it just to see what happens...:surprise:
 

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2008 Outback 2.5i
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1,148 Posts
Here in Oz the plain metal key is commonly called a surf key. You lock the transponder keys inside the car at the beach, take the surf key so you can get back in, and go swimming.
Exactly.

When you go hiking, swimming, ect, rather then risk soaking and killing the transponder key, take the plan metal key. Also, the plan metal key is much smaller and a lot easier to stash in the small zipper pockets.
 

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2017 OB Premium 2.5 CVT
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137 Posts
"I also disabled my car alarm so it doesn't go off when I use the plain metal key to unlock my door."

I believe if you lock the door with the metal key the alarm won't go off when you unlock it.

How did you disable the alarm?
 

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'15 Outback 2.5i Premium
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"I also disabled my car alarm so it doesn't go off when I use the plain metal key to unlock my door."

I believe if you lock the door with the metal key the alarm won't go off when you unlock it.
As I recall, if you use the pushbutton in the armrest to lock the doors, then unlock the driver's door with the toggle at the door latch, exit, and lock with the metal key, the alarm will go off when you open the door after unlocking with the metal key. I think that if you manually lock each of the doors with the toggles (or metal key), the alarm will not go off when you unlock and open. It's been a while, though... I deactivated the alarm (that's what they call it) long ago and I no longer remember the exact procedure to lock up to keep the alarm from being tripped. I hate those things, anyway.

Note that a metal key will not silence the alarm if it does go off. It requires a properly-programmed "chipped" key to do that, although it will sound for "only" 30 seconds if you don't silence it.
How did you disable the alarm?
The procedure for deactivating and activating the alarm system should be in your owner's manual. It's in the Doors and locks section, pages 2-27 and 2-28 for the 2015 models, and is pretty simple to execute.

I find it ironic that these enhanced security features require you to sometimes leave a key stashed in the car, perhaps with the alarm turned off.
 

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2014 Outback 3.6R Limited
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125 Posts
All this talk about keys.
When I bought my 2014 recently the Transp. keys did not come with the key code tag that is mentioned in the manual. What will be the fix if I want to get a extra Transp. key made.
 
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