Is an OEM SmartKey a waste of money?
June 12, 2019 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I bought a used Prius, came with 1 key fob, which has the electronic component that lets the car unlock, start, etc., as well as the metal key insert that will unlock the door. No ignition port for a key, just proximity. Pretty sure it's a smartkey system(SKS). Lots of ebay sellers with new key fobs, and there are instructions for programming them. I hate the thought of paying dealer prices. Good/ Bad idea? Do you have a recommended source with links for a key fob, instructions? thanks.

I have found Priuschat, priusforum, priusonline, but I trust Ask.Me more.
posted by theora55 to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I looked into this two years ago when my wife lost my key to the prius C. Unless things have changed dramatically during that time (possible), the process of programming your own key is so expensive and difficult, requiring special equipment to "copy" the code from a working key (and god help you if you don't have one working key as then you have to replace the lock console in the car).

Auto locksmiths are a thing, they may be marginally cheaper than a dealer but all up it was about four hundred bucks for us. There was no practical way around it. I feel your pain.
posted by smoke at 1:52 PM on June 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I had to get a new key for our 2006 Prius a few years back and ended up getting a new OEM key on Amazon. This was the older style that was both ignition port and proximity. Programming was a little annoying, but worked on the first try. Not the cheapest option, but still a lot less than going to the dealer.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 1:53 PM on June 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


I’d go to the dealer just to have the peace of mind of not having an unknown key programmed for a used car I just bought potentially still with the previous owner or someone who had any secondary keys from them.
posted by tilde at 2:51 PM on June 12, 2019


2006 seems to be a point where the fob tech was changing, for my old hyundai a couple years earlier self programing would have been a no brainer. A bit later a few more options. That year needs special equipment. It looks like there is a procedure for that year that seems reasonable but be super careful and do lots of double checks about versions/models and have a backup (dealer).
posted by sammyo at 3:33 PM on June 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


When I needed an extra key for my wife’s Lexus, I bought a cheap key/fob off eBay, along with a $30 programming cable and a copy of (dubious legality) of Toyota’s Techstream utility. I’m not paying $150+ for the dealer to plug in a cable and press two buttons.
posted by bradf at 4:11 PM on June 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Locksmiths are hip to programming key fobs these days. If you make an appointment and go to their place, it might be cheaper than if they come out to your place. Call around.
posted by Oyéah at 7:43 PM on June 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Unless you have specific, detailed instructions from a trustworthy source on how to do this for your specific model year and trim level of Prius, I wouldn't attempt this as a DIY. Things change between years and trim, and it's worth the piece of mind to either shop around for a locksmith that can handle this or just get it done at the dealer. If this is your only keyfob, I'd personally go to the dealer for a copy, as you already don't have a backup in case something goes horribly wrong, but that's just me.
posted by Aleyn at 5:05 PM on June 13, 2019


Getting the correct keyfob is non-trivial, even for locksmiths. Keyfob was @ 100USD, cutting the actual key was 40(there's a key in the keyfob, in case of dead battery). Local locksmith charged 100 for programming, had the computer & program and cables and experience to do it quickly and accurately. So, locksmith was the right choice. Also, there a numeric code that allow unlocking in case of lockout and no key at all, and he provided that, which I will store online*. Dealer would have been much more, they're rapacious bastidges.

*6 digits. If I hadn't already gotten the license plate, it would be an excellent custom plate.
posted by theora55 at 7:36 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


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