Key chain for multiple car remotes?
February 24, 2014 11:29 AM   Subscribe

We have two cars, each with a fat remote, plus I carry maybe five other ordinary keys. What can I use to hold these things?

Currently I have two separate keyrings, with one car key on each, but it drives me crazy because:
- They bump into each other in my pocket and activate the locks ALL THE TIME;
- I have to fumble around in my pocket to find the correct one every time;
- It's a big fistful of metal and plastic.

How do other people manage all this stuff?

I don't want to hang them off my belt because of the noise and the Custodial Engineer Ambiance and the aforementioned tendency to lock and unlock and re-lock the cars whenever I sit or reach. I am reluctant to hang them by the door because everyone always assumes that Dad Has The Keys. (Also, that doesn't help during the workday.)

Thanks for any advice!
posted by wenestvedt to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total)
How do other people manage all this stuff?

I leave the separate keys on a shelf in my living room and only bring the one with me for the car I'm actually driving. There is no point in which I need to get into one of my family's cars where it's not at my house or in the presence of someone else who has a key for it, so there is no reason for me to carry keys for cars I'm not driving.

It's not like you can accidentally drive off without your car keys.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:32 AM on February 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: How do other people manage all this stuff?

Most people probably aren't carrying two sets of car keys with them at all times.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:40 AM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Any chance you'd go down to one key+remote at a time?

We do something like this:

Each car key+remote has a tiny carabiner.
Each driver has a bigger carabiner or keychain of preference with house keys, office keys, etc.
By the door are hooks for each driver and each car.
When you walk out to the car, you select the keys of the car you are taking and clip them to the main keys.

Since there is no circumstance in which you're driving two cars at once, you're probably good. If you need to switch cars in the middle of the day, the car keys clip off easily. If you'd like to have your spouse's car key with you (in case of accidental lock outs, etc) detach the remote and leave it at home. This doesn't help if you've got one of those flip key remote combo thingies.
posted by fontophilic at 11:42 AM on February 24, 2014

Carry a bag and put the keyring in that (I like bags with o-rings that I can attach my keys to on a strap, so that I don't have to dig around in the bag for them). I still haven't found a solution to the accidentally-hitting-the-button problem, though (I carry a garage door opener, and I think the only thing I can probably do about that is tape a bottle cap over the button).

Also, smaller keychains with easily removable keys are a good idea. The ones from Nite Ize are pretty nice.
posted by asperity at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2014

Seconding fontophilic, and adding that if all of your ordinary keys are copyable (and necessary), you don't even need to do clipping every time -- just copy them all, and make a "red car keychain" with all of your ordinary keys and the red car key, and a "blue car keychain" with all of your ordinary keys and the blue car key. You can even make a "not driving keychain" with just the ordinary keys. Yeah the clipping is only 3 seconds of your day, but it always bugged me, so that's what I did, and I just have to grab the right keychain off the hooks out the door.

Your "dad has the keys" thing confuses me a bit -- wouldn't everyone just get over it in like a day that the keys are by the door instead of actively in your pocket? What issue are you trying to overcome there?
posted by brainmouse at 11:45 AM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think I am suggesting what fontophilic is, but I would keep the fob for your primary use vehicle and just the key for the other vehicle on your key ring. Why carry another large fob just in case?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2014

In our household each car has a fob and carkey on its own ring. That's all that's on there, car key + fob.

House keys (only those necessary to get into the house, so at most that's a key for the knob and a key for the deadbolt) are on a separate ring, each person in the household has their own set.

Any additional house keys (shed, mailbox, etc), live on a ring for everyone to share and stay in the house. The person designated as the household's keykeeper also has duplicate sets of these keys squirreled away for the day when someone in the household inevitably misplaces the common set.

The above means you are only carrying 3 keys + a fob all day. I tend to toss the house keys into my briefcase/laptop bag/purse as soon as I leave the house, but if I'm somewhere where I don't have a bag, I just toss them out of sight onto the floorboards of my car. If you do the later, make sure you've scrubbed your car of any paperwork that has your home address on it in case someone breaks into your car and finds your house keys.

My car's fob has a ridiculously sensitive panic button and after I set it off a few times by accident, I encased the entire fob inside a length of extra-wide heat-shrink tubing. I can still push the buttons, it just takes a bit more pressure than before. When it's time to change the fob's battery, I slice off the tubing and replace it with a fresh length.
posted by jamaro at 11:50 AM on February 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Use a wire keyring, rather than a solid metal ring. The increased flexibility/"give" will make them easier to manage. Ever since I switched to wire I can't imagine going back.
posted by alby at 11:56 AM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I carry my car key and house key. I have several other keys, but as they aren't things I need on a regular basis, I leave them at home and only bring them if I need them.
posted by cecic at 11:57 AM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: How about keeping each set inside its own leather case? At least then they won't be noisy or push each other's buttons.
posted by payoto at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why carry both fobs if you are only using one car? I'd get a copy of each car key (door only if you can) and put it in the glove compartment of the other car so that you can rescue a family member if they lock themselves out of the other car. Then, leave the unused car's keys on a hook at home.
posted by soelo at 12:04 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you can buy remotes that can be "trained" (using the relevant algorithms/seeds from manufacturers) to open more than one car. That might be an option worth looking at.
posted by alby at 12:04 PM on February 24, 2014

I like the wire rings in certain circumstances, but they're a bit too 'jailer'.

I use quick-release disconnects (bought here) for car keys, which makes it easy to leave the 'car you're not driving' key at home, because the connectors are the same. Bonus: also easy to leave the key with a garage when it's getting work done.
posted by holgate at 12:04 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: You don't need the fob - there's a keyhole in the driver's side door. Twist forward to lock, twist back once to unlock the driver door, twice to unlock all doors.

If there's a car you take less often than the other, leave the fob at home.

(Our new Subaru has the remote built into the key, but they included a much smaller remote-less key, and extras are available from the dealer).

If you like the button - here's a tutorial on programming one fob for multiple cars.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:22 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are awesome answers so far; thank you all!

It's not like you can accidentally drive off without your car keys.

Though some poeple can't believe it, sometimes my wife & I will arrive at a place separately and swap cars. We have four kids, and are always on our way to somewhere; depending on who has care of a plurality of the kids, that person gets the minivan. (I love the minivan.)

I thought about ditching the remotes, but there are only keyholes on the driver's doors now -- so if I only have the car key, I always have to walk around to the driver's side to open the car. It makes me froth.

payoto, that "bell" key-holder is pretty cool. I have searched before for a leather key folio but the fobs prevent them from folding shut. This design doesn't have that problem, and I think I might look into this one.

My dad always used one of those Swiss key rings, holgate, and I may yet end up taking that option.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2014

"sometimes my wife & I will arrive at a place separately and swap cars."

But then you'd just swap keys too, right? I'm not understanding how this scenario means anyone ever needs to carry more than one set of keys at a time, provided all sets contain the same house keys, etc.
posted by jessicapierce at 12:39 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Though some poeple can't believe it, sometimes my wife & I will arrive at a place separately and swap cars.

Presumably when this happens each of you has a key to the car you arrived in. You can swap keys with the cars.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 12:40 PM on February 24, 2014

Response by poster: Slap*Happy, the directions for reprogramming the remote sound like Konami Code:

1. With the driver side door unlocked and open slide the key in and out of the ignition twice without turning it. (Should be done within 5 seconds)
2. Close the driver side door and then reopen it, and then close and reopen it again.
3. Put your key in the ignition again and remove it.
4. Close the driver side door and then reopen it, and then close and reopen it again.
5. Put the key in the ignition and then close the door
6. Turn the key to the "On" position without cranking the car and then turn it back to the "Off" position and remove the key.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:44 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: No, she and I have different keys.

(Man, am I thread-sitting. Sorry.) (And also sounding pretty key-neurotic.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:45 PM on February 24, 2014

"No, she and I have different keys."

Gotcha. Then it sounds like a good compromise to everyone carrying ALL the keys all the time, would be to have a set of "husband's keys plus easily detachable car fob" and "wife's keys plus other easily detachable car fob" and, when trading cars, just trade the fobs, and let the rest of the keys stay with their respective owners.
posted by jessicapierce at 12:51 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done two options, for a similar setup.

1. Use one of these clips; Size 0 is tiny, stays clipped well, much less bulk than a standard carabiner style. Swap your set of five keys from your her key to your key when swapping cars, and have her use the same thing for her keys.

2. (The one I'd recommend). Since you only have about five regular keys, head to the store and get a copy of each of those made. I like the silly colors and designs because its so much easier to distinguish on the go. In your center console, keep the set of your wife's car key and the second set of regular keys. When you get to her car, drop the matching set of your keys in the cupholder, center console, somewhere easy to remember. Make it a habit. That way you never disturb your wife's key setup (or can repeat the action with her keys if it helps).
posted by shinynewnick at 1:21 PM on February 24, 2014

Here's what my family did when we had 2 adults + 2 teens sharing 3 cars:

Get a handful of something like this or this two-part detachable key ring. Everyone gets one. Personal keys (house key, work key, etc) go on one half. Assign a set of car keys to each other half. Spare car keys go in the house somewhere. Then, when you need to swap keys, just detach and swap the car half of the fob.

Alternatively, you could start carrying a bag to keep your wallet and keys in.
posted by muddgirl at 2:10 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have a Keyport Slide! (Sorry can't link directly at the moment - google it, it's great!)
posted by analog at 3:51 PM on February 24, 2014

Response by poster: The number of answers here telling me to re-think the habit of "Carry All The Keys!" makes me start to….rethink the habit. :7) Thanks, everyone!

(Also: murse ahoy!)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:25 PM on February 24, 2014

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