Whether your car comes with one or not, you might be wondering what a valet key can or cannot do. Specifically, can you use it to drive a car just like your regular car key? We turned to the car experts, and here's what we've found out.
Yes, you can drive your car using a valet key. It will open your car door and start the ignition, and you can take it from there. The only thing it wouldn't do is open your glove compartment and trunk door as a layer of security in case you have valuables in there and you've handed your valet keys to someone else.
Continue reading so we can tell you more about valet keys, their function, and how they differ from regular car keys. We'll also share with you how valet keys work with a push-button start. Let's get started!
Can I Use My Valet Key To Start My Car?
Not all cars come with the gray key also known as the valet key. It usually comes with luxury and sports cars and other high-end vehicles.
Valet keys are essentially spare keys. They are also programmed with a security code that overrides the immobilizer system of your vehicle. That's why you can use them to start your car.
Aside from this, you can also use these keys to open the door of your car. Valet keys will also allow you to open the hood of your car should you need to have your battery charged or jumpstarted.
However, they cannot unlock the glove box, center console, or trunk. This is a way to protect any valuables you may have in there in case you have to give your valet key to someone else such as when you leave your car in a repair shop or the parking valet at the hotel.
Let this be a reminder for those with valet keys as well. Never leave this key inside your car because once thieves get access to this, they can drive off with your vehicle. Make sure you keep it in a safe place that's also easily accessible for you in case you have a need for it.
How Do You Unlock A Car With A Valet Key?
As the valet key has been designed to be able to open your car doors, you can use it just like a regular car key when you want to unlock your vehicle. Insert it in the lock cylinder, and then turn it so you can go inside.
The lock cylinders in some cars might be hidden by a cover piece. There's usually a hole underneath the door handle. Use the valet key to release the cover and reveal the lock cylinder.
How Does A Valet Key Work With A Push-Button Start?
Cars with a keyless entry still come with a valet key. The valet key is the key fob itself. So when you need to have your car parked by a valet attendant, just remove the physical key from the key fob and then hand it over to the person.
As long as you have the physical key, they won't be able to open your trunk and glove box. This will help ensure that your belongings are safe and secure.
Now, as for starting the car, the key fob contains a microchip that'll send a signal to your car that the receiver will be able to pick up. As long as it is inside the car, you can press the start button and you can start the engine.
How Far Can You Drive With A Valet Key?
Since valet keys basically have the same function as regular car keys except that they cannot open certain storage facilities in your vehicle, you (or the person who has it) can use it to drive your car anywhere you want to go. There's no limit to the distance as long as your car has gas.
Do Valet Keys Limit Speed?
As mentioned above, valet keys are almost the same as your regular keys. They have been encoded with the same security code that will enable your car to start. Other than that, they contain no other special program that would limit the speed of the vehicle.
When we're talking about setting a speed limit on your car, you can use the valet mode if your vehicle has one. This is different from one car to another, but one thing they have in common is that the vehicle's computer system will allow you to put a limit on your car's speed once you set it in this mode.
For example, the 2017 Tesla Model S will allow you to set the speed limit to 70 mph. You'll also be able to control the power, acceleration, and other settings of the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the 2017 Infiniti Q60 and 2017 Nissan Leaf have apps that can be accessed through the owners' smartphones. They will be notified if their car's location is moved beyond 0.2 miles from the original drop-off location.
So it is not the valet key that limits speed but the vehicle's valet mode that'll allow you to control the speed and other security settings of your car when the valet key isn't in your possession.
What Is The Difference Between A Valet Key And A Regular Key?
Most cars come with 2 master keys. These are your regular car keys. Some also have another extra key: the gray key or valet key. As we've said earlier, the valet key acts as a spare key in case you don't have your master keys with you.
All of these keys have been programmed with your vehicle's unique security code. That's why you can use any of them to start your car as long as the microchip inside them is intact.
However, only the master keys or your regular keys can unlock all of the doors and compartments of your vehicle. The valet key only works on the door locks. This is their main difference other than their physical appearance.
It is a security measure to prevent the person who has your valet key from having access to the valuables that you've stored in your trunk, center console, and glove box. Provided of course that you've locked these compartments prior.
This will hinder any attempt to steal your belongings, and it's also meant to protect any private information that you have in there.
Just a reminder—the valet key is usually found inside the owner's manual of the vehicle. Thieves know this information. Make sure you remove it from there and keep it in a safe location.
To Wrap Up
You can use a valet car to drive your car, but you won't be able to open the trunk and glove box. This is very useful as a spare key, but be mindful of where you put it or whom you give it to. Once it falls in the wrong hands, that person has the opportunity to drive away with your vehicle.
For some related reading, take a look at these posts:
Can A Locksmith Make A Car Key?