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Proxy key (fob) safety?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by ChooseGreen, May 17, 2016.

  1. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    Firstly, I'm assuming that the Model 3 will have the same style key as the Model S and X.

    Considering that our current car has hand-crank windows, it is safe to say that we will take a giant technological leap forward in many ways when we get our Model 3!

    I'm fairly certain that the below situations have been worked out as this style of key is far from new. I would love to hear how the below are non-issues and for what reason.

    I am open to any tips on how best to manage safety and security around a car with proxy keys. Situations like:
    • I'm showing someone the car; they are in the driver's seat and I'm in the passenger seat. If the mechanical key is in my pocket and I'm sitting next to them, they can't do any harm. With a proxy key in my pocket, they can essentially drive away, potentially inadvertently.
    • Same situation as above, but my child is playing in the driver's seat and I'm in the passenger seat with the key in my pocket.
    • We are going on a road trip and my wife packs our spare key in a bag inside the car. With a mechanical key, someone would have to know where it is, find it and fire the ignition to drive away. With a proxy key, anyone can drive away with the car, potentially inadvertently.
    • I'm putting the winter tires on and I have the key in my pocket. With a mechanical key, I know that if I have the only keys to the vehicle in my pocket, the car can't be started. With a proxy key in my pocket, the car can be opened.
    • I leave the keys in the car with my spouse while I run in to grab something. With a mechanical key, it would be a difficult 'accident' for someone to put the key in the ignition and turn it. With a proxy key, I suppose someone would have to depress the brake pedal AND flip the lever into drive to get it to go.
    • Our car keys are in the house. With mechanical keys, one would have to break into our house to get the car keys to gain access to the car. With a proxy key, if they are in the house but JUST close enough so the car will unlock if someone walks up to it, can they gain access to the car? I have heard that keeping the fobs in a metal container will prevent this, but I'm not sure that will be practical (keys find their way to funny places in our house).
    • I have locked my car and walk away. I forget something near my car so I walk back and grab it and walk away again. Is there a way for the car to unlock because I'm close to the car with the fob in my pocket, but no re-lock as I walk away again?
    • Are there any other situations that you noticed when you first started using a proxy key that made you think? What was your solution to that?
    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    Mostly it's just getting use to the new rules. As you point out, this isn't a Tesla thing. Many, many new cars work this way (my wife's Honda CRV has a keyless fob).

    For some of the situations like leaving a spare key in the car you can get a pouch that blocks the signal.

    Somebody sitting in the driver's seat while you are in the passenger seat with the fob, you just need to be aware they can start the car. Don't do this if you don't want to take the risk. I let my child play in the driver's seat now, but that's because he's too short to reach the brake pedal.

    Putting the winter tires on I don't understand. Are you concerned with somebody running up and jumping and to drive off? It seems pretty unlikely.
     
  3. Jason Bourne

    Jason Bourne Member

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    My current car (G37x) has a proximity key, so I can tell you my experiences with that. But I have never owned/handled the keys to a Tesla.

    - If the proxy key is on the person of either the driver or front-seat passenger, the car will start and operate normally. For a Tesla Model S, the 'gear' selector is a steering column stalk on the right side. Click it up for Drive, down for Reverse and press it in towards the stalk for Park. Let's assume the Model 3 will be the same. I think it's likely your child or friend could engage a gear and drive away. But to put the car in gear, you have to be pressing the brake pedal simultaneously.
    - I do not believe a proximity key will allow the car to operate if it was in luggage in a storage area of the car, or in your pocket while you're outside the car. I believe it has to be very close to the driver controls, intentionally.
    - There have been proven methods that allow a proximity key's range to be extended by a signal amplifier to gain access to a car while the key was inside the owner's home but JUST close enough. That's why some people say you could keep the key in a metal container.
    - A Model S unlocks as you approach the car and locks when you walk away. I don't see any difference if you walk away, quickly walk back to retrieve a forgotten item, then walk away again.
     
  4. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    After a few years with a Model S key fob, I can offer the following:

    • When we first got our Model S my wife accidentally left her fob in her purse when she secured her purse in the rear foot well and we walked away. All evening the car was unlocked and could have been driven away. Despite some reports that a fob in the foot well is not readable by the car, we've found that not to be true. Accordingly, if one wanted to travel with a spare fob in luggage that remained in the car, removing the battery is the safest method of rendering the unused fob inert.
    • Yes, someone in the driver's seat can drive away if the fob is anywhere in the car (and in close proximity if outside the car, in fact). As others have observed, this requires that the driver place the car in "gear" and depress the brake, but it's certainly doable.
    • When not in my pocket, my key lives in a wooden tray that's on a shelf in my office, approximately 13-15 linear feet from the car in the garage. That's sufficiently far away that the car is unaware of the key. My wife leaves her purse on a table in our downstairs hallway that's even closer (~8-10 linear feet) from the car and, as with mine, the car is unaware of the key's presence.
    • I've heard reports of the car sometimes failing to unlock (though they didn't seem to correlate with the speed and frequency of returning to the car), though I've never had the car fail to lock when I walked away. I'm not a good test for that, however, because I tend to lock it manually most times, just out of habit.
     
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  5. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    Awesome, thanks for those comments! I figured it was all easily-solved things; just different nuances to get used to.

    Sorry that I was not too clear on that. This is a carry-over when I used to inspect cranes. I would have the keys to the vehicle in my pocket such that it couldn't be operated when I was underneath near the drive shaft. Perhaps a little extreme to apply the same logic to a small passenger vehicle without a drive shaft, but old habits die hard!
     
  6. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    I'm still not seeing what the supposed problem is when it comes to changing the winter tires. I've changed tires on army trucks where there are no keys to the vehicle, just a push button start. Never had a problem.
     
  7. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    The idea is that if someone is under the truck near the drive shaft or if someone had the rear right tire removed, they should have the keys on their person such that someone couldn't jump in the driver's seat, start the engine and try to drive away unaware that they may hurt someone or may not have all 4 wheels.
     
  8. Frank Schwab

    Frank Schwab Member

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    All of the kids in my rocket club know the same thing - nobody walks out to the launch rod without the key for the launch controller in their pocket. I don't have a strong desire to figure out how to remove a smoking rocket from some kid's sinus cavity.
     
  9. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    I've never known anyone to go underneath the vehicle while changing a tire. As for the jumping in and driving off while the vehicle is on a jack and stand, that's kind of an obvious thing to see. I've never heard of that happening. Does this happen often when you're trying to change a tire? If someone does, doesn't the person not notice the person approaching the car and say anything? Does the person changing the tire expect someone to hop in and start the car if the other person doesn't have the key? How would they know to hop in and start the car?
     
  10. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    If you're worried about someone starting the car, just plug it in! With a cable connected, the car is immobilized. Use that as your safety lockout for when kids are playing or you are working around the car. Even without power (meaning the other end of the charge cable doesn't have to be plugged in), the mere presence of the cable in the charge port prevents the car from moving.
     
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  11. jsanford

    jsanford Red 3 Reserver

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    I wonder if the Model S has a "Where's my iPhone" feature.

    I worked in a car wash in high school and picked up many, many of those magnetic key holders from the floor of the wash bay. As a result, I've never stashed a spare in the car. The fob will likely stay on my person.

    You bring up a good point, though. Will we need to consider risk of theft with our Model 3s?
     
  12. Chopper

    Chopper Member

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    Owner helps police find her stolen Tesla using app
     
  13. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    Yep, fair enough. In my original post, I was trying to think of situations when the fob would be in/near the car and it would be undesireable for someone to either gain access or be able to drive the vehicle. As I mentioned, perhaps this situation (akin to locking out a breaker and keeping the keys on your person to prevent someone from turning it on when you're working on it) is more of a fringe case with passenger vehicles.

    However...
    I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for sharing!
     
  14. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    The only issue I have with the proxy key is when hand washing my Prius. As I run the sponge over the LF door handle, it locks / unlocks depending on which mode it started in. I swipe across it several times, so it drives me nuts. Then I stop, go put my keys in the house, then finish washing and drying it {some issues}. Then, I go back in the house to get my keys.

    As far as locking the keys in the car, not happening in a Prius with the key inside, my door doesn't latch, it just bounces back open. Doesn't allow me to walk off accidentally if I forget to power it off before I get out.
     
  15. Jason Bourne

    Jason Bourne Member

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    My car has protections from locking the proximity key in the car also. But all cars run some risk of locking the key in the car. I'd actually say it's harder to lock a proximity key in the car vs a mechanical key for two reasons: 1) a proximity key is less frequently removed from your pocket/handbag so less chance of it staying in the car when the driver exits; 2) the car knows when the proximity key is in the car and often protects against the lockout.
     
  16. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    That's kind of neat. I guess with the Tesla there is also the mobile app; so long as you're in an area of coverage I suppose.
     

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