Keyless cars are becoming increasingly common, largely because they work particularly well with our busy modern lives. Having to search for your keys while carrying your week’s groceries, holding your children’s hands, or juggling a morning business call with a takeaway cup of coffee is never easy. Fortunately, this innovative technology can help you make light work of these tasks by allowing you to open your car doors or boot by simply getting close enough to your vehicle.
Of course, as with all new innovations, there are still some kinks that need to be ironed out, but the technology has a lot of advantages, too. So, to help you determine whether a keyless car is right for you, we’re going to go through the pros and cons.
How do keyless cars work?
To get an idea of how keyless car technology works, we spoke to Mark Barclay from online retailer GSF Car Parts. He told us: “The access fobs of keyless cars are constantly listening out for specific radio signals emitted by the car itself. And, because these signals can only travel a short distance — typically around five metres — your fob won’t receive an alert unless you’re getting particularly close to your vehicle.
“Typically, a keyless car won’t unlock itself until you’re touching one of its door handles and, in some cases, you might have to press a button for the system to work. When you go to open a door or your car’s boot, the vehicle will send out a short radio signal and, if your fob is in range, this will send back a code that your car will recognise, unlocking the doors. Many keyless cars are so advanced that your vehicle also won’t start until the fob is inside.”
What are the advantages of having a keyless car?
The primary advantage of keyless cars is their convenience. Whether you’ve just had your nails painted or simply hate having to rummage through your bag or pockets to find your more traditional key, they can work well. Plus, at a time when car technology is coming on in leaps and bounds, using a physical key to open your vehicle can feel pretty old school. This means keyless entry can help your driving experience to feel a lot more stylish, luxurious, and futuristic, which should inject an extra dash of fun into your everyday life.
Some vehicle manufacturers that are particularly ahead of the game have also developed passive keyless entry keys that allow you to set specific comfort preferences. So, for example, when your fob is recognised by your car, the seat and mirror positions will change to match your needs. Some will even pre-set the climate conditions and radio station for you. This is ideal if you share a car with someone, because you can both set your preferences and, as long as you have your own key on you, the car will always be ready to go as soon as you slide into the driving seat.
Particularly innovative car models will even allow you to set speed limits for certain key fobs. This can work well for parents who want to have some control over how fast their kids can drive when they’re out unsupervised.
What are the disadvantages?
Of course, with the pros come the cons, and it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
The main concern surrounding keyless cars is that there have been cases where hackers have been able to manipulate the technology to ultimately steal a keyless vehicle. They will typically do this by boosting the signal emitted from a keyless car, tricking it into thinking that the appropriate fob is nearby. Some criminals have also found ways to block the signals from keyless devices when drivers leave their vehicles, which stops their doors from locking.
Additionally, there is a potential problem in that a keyless car’s engine doesn’t automatically switch off if its fob moves out of range. This is to prevent you from getting stranded if the key’s battery dies while you’re out and about. However, this means that, if you ever drop someone off and they accidentally take the key with them, you might not immediately notice. Then, if you switch the engine off at any point, you won’t be able to active it again.
Car manufacturers are continually finding new ways to iron out issues associated with keyless vehicles, and the technology is becoming more sophisticated and secure all the time. So, if you’re looking for convenience and want an extra dash of style or luxury in your life, next time you’re car shopping, consider whether a keyless entry vehicle could work for you.