A car has lots of important components. The engine powers everything, the tires meet the road to get you where you need to go, the brakes bring you to a stop, and on and on the list goes. However, one element that a lot of people forget about is their car key! Your key plays a crucial role in your car’s performance - you use it to start the car, but also to unlock and lock the doors and open the trunk or hatch. And modern key fobs make those processes even easier - with the advent of technology like the Smart Key System, drivers can simply touch the handle or hatch of their N Charlotte Toyota and unlock and open it. There’s even remote start available on some of our vehicles. Your car key is essential, and Toyota of N Charlotte is here to give you some background and care tips.
Car keys: A history
Did you know that it wasn’t always as simple as just turning the key in the ignition to get your car started? Way back in the turn of the 20th century, drivers had to complete a series of steps to get things up and running. This usually included turning a hand crank to get the engine moving, pressing a button, AND turning the key to be able to drive the car. Chrysler saw how inefficient the process was and streamlined it by creating the first modern car key in 1949. Here are a few other highlights from the history of the car key:
- In 1965, Ford created the first double-sided key which could be inserted into the ignition both ways without an issue.
- Remote keyless entry (a key fob) was first introduced to the market in 1987 on the Cadillac Allante.
- Laser cut keys for increased security were introduced by Lexus in 1990 on the LS400.
And progress isn’t slowing when it comes to the car key, either. Here at Toyota of N Charlotte we see features like the Smart Key System keyless entry and some vehicles, like Teslas, even can be opened and started by smartphone apps.
Taking care of your car key
Just like any other part of your car, you need to take care of your car key. It doesn’t require too much maintenance, but our N Charlotte Toyota experts recommend you take the following steps:
- Don’t rely on just one key, especially if you have a key fob. You should always have a spare key in case you lose your key, lock it in your car, or the fob stops working. Don’t keep it in your car!
- Replace your key fob battery once every year or two. Over time, the battery weakens, which leaves the key more prone to failure. You can do it at home OR ask one of our N Charlotte Toyota service experts to help you out.
- Use your actual door locks occasionally. If your N Charlotte Toyota still has actual locks, use your physical to unlock your car periodically to ensure that the lock is still working and hasn’t rusted.
Have questions? Call our N Charlotte Toyota service department today at (704) 659-2025.
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