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Everything You Need to Know About Japanese Cars

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of Pick'
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


How to Start the Engine If the Smart Key Battery is Dead? - Vol.356

No matter how advanced technology is, there's always a cost. We buy a smartphone and then we can't do without it. New cars have done away with keys in favor of keyless entry systems with smart key fobs that can do several other tricks.

Smart key fobs are really awesome. Having the key fob in our pocket is all we need to open car doors and boot like magic. Get in the car with the key fob and we can start the engine by pushing a button with or without inserting the key fob into a slot. It's awesome all the way around until the battery inside is dead, which will inevitably happen one day in the future.

Oh, the Tricky Key Fob
The other meaning of "fob" is to trick or deceive. And you'd better believe it ? the key fob is full of tricks.

The easiest way to solve the problem of a dead key fob battery is of course to change the battery. The tricky part is that a lot of us don't have a spare battery. Even if we do, the spare might be somewhere else that we can't get to. If this happens in the parking lot of a shopping mall, maybe you can walk back into the mall to get a new battery. But as luck would have it, the battery would probably decide to die when we're somewhere else.

Open the Car Door First
Before starting the engine, you would have to get the car door opened. Try touching the key fob on the lock and pulling the door handle. There's a chance the battery has enough charge to open the door this way.

Next, remember if your car has a remote unlocking service. This depends on the make of the car. Some makes would require you to register for this service ? you're out of luck if you didn't. If you don't remember what number to call for remote locking and unlocking, you can just google it.

Finally, the surefire way to unlock the door is to expose the manual key in the key fob. Almost all makes of cars have a key fob that contains a mechanical key. Use the mechanical key to open the door and be prepared to hear the alarm going off. People are going to look when the alarm goes off. Just smile and tell them your key fob is out of battery. The alarm will go silent shortly.

Use the Backup Method to Start the Engine
Your urgent task is almost complete when you're able to get in the car. Every automaker puts in a provision for car owners to start the car if and when the key fob battery is dead. You will find the backup starting method detailed in the owner's manual. In the unlikely event that you didn't leave the manual in the glove compartment, you can try googling the backup method according to your car's make and model.

The most popular backup starting method used by a school of automakers is to touch and hold the nose of the key fob on the start button, step on the brake, and hit the button. You might have to try this a few times to get it right. This is because there's a chip in the key fob that works like a transmitter for the receiver embedded in the start button to detect, and upon detection the ignition is unlocked. Alternatively, other manufacturers might require you to touch the key fob on the steering column or other location accessible from the driver seat.

Whatever it is, remember to get in the car first and then the rest is easy. It's totally unnecessary to call the dealer or a locksmith service unless you actually lost the key fob.