How do I use the valet key?

I'm going to an event soon that will have valet parking. I don't really mind giving them my main keyring, but just for kicks, I thought I'd try out my Outback's valet key. Except I can't figure
out how to use it; it won't go in the ignition.
I found a section of the owner's manual that talks about valet *mode*. Do I have to put the car in valet mode in order to use the valet key? Valet mode disables the alarm on the car. (I didn't buy an alarm system, but I guess the car will honk its horn if someone tries to open the door with a key that doesn't have the right transponder in it, yes?) So if I want to use the valet key, do I have to disable the alarm, then re-enable it afterwards?
Patty
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On 9/2/17 2:19 PM, Patty Winter wrote:

Let me see if I've got this right.
You're OK with turning your keys over to a bunch of minimum wage (or working for tips only) low-lifes that will look at the paperwork in your glove box to find your address so they know where to go to do the burglary (or worse) using the duplicate house key they made while you were dining, drinking and dancing?
Why don't you save some time and just go ahead and file the Victim Who Brought it on Herself form with the local cops right now....
--
The grass isn't greener on the other side; it's greener where you water it.

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Patty Winter wrote:

Get one of these:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lucky-Line-Quick-Release-Pull-Apart-Key-Chain/38470916 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lucky-Line-3-Way-Pull-Apart-Key-Chain/38470505
Personally I find prying apart the ends of a keyring and sliding off the car key is easy enough for those few times when needed, like when I take the car into the shop or dealer. In fact, I moved away from a rigid key ring to using:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/6-Cable-Key-Ring/16652510
It's flexible so my keys are more comfortable in my pocket. You unscrew the connector; however, the key hole may be too small for the larger (outer) connector so put the car key on last so it slides off the little (inner) connector rather than have to slide off a whole bunch of keys.
We don't know what year of car you have, just some Outback. If you have a separate keyring fob remote, you don't want to give that to them. You use the fob to disable the alarm (aka valet mode) and then hand them just the key. Upon returning to your vehicle, you use the remote again but to reenable the alarm (aka disable valet mode).
If you have a newer model that has the remote built onto the key then you're stuck giving them all the remoted controls to your vehicle in which case it doesn't really matter if you disable the alarm or not as they have your remote to turn off the alarm should it go off.
Just don't hand them over ALL your keys. Give them just the car key (and without the remote if it is a separate fob -- but if it is then disable the alarm before leaving your car with them).

Don't expect some car jockey to know the ins and outs of every vehicle they park. Disabling the alarm is merely so they don't set it off and it goes indefinitely beeping in the car lot causing them problems and nuisancing everyone around. Yep, your alarm will be disabled. That's all valet mode means: disable the alarm.
This is like leaving to go on a vacation while you have someone come in during that time to feed your pets. Rather than give the code to the caregiver (which means you'll have to change it upon your return), you disable the alarm while on vacation so the caregiver doesn't set it off, get flustered over how to turn off the noise, have the cops show up, and irritate your neighbors.
Don't ask me why the car manufacturers called it valet mode instead of just alarm disable. I think valet mode harkens from the old days when you had 2 keys: one for everything (doors, trunk, and glove box) and another that only did doors (no truck or glove box access but you had to make sure to lock them before handing off your car).
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2013. Have things changed in recent years?

Separate from what? My normal Outback key has buttons to push to lock and unlock the car. I think some Subaru models have additional remote features, but mine doesn't.
So I have to go through the procedure to disable the alarm before the valet key will go into the ignition?
Patty
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On 9/2/2017 4:47 PM, Patty Winter wrote:

This whole thing is weird. I carry the valet key in my wallet in case I lose my keys but if I'm reading correctly you have to set the car in valet mode to get the valet key to work which if you need the master key to set in valet mode, it sounds like carrying the valet key in case you lose the master key is useless.
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Frank wrote:

Patty doesn't have a valet key. She has a secondary remoted key: it has the door lock/open buttons so it has a battery, circuitry, and a chip.
A true valet key doesn't have any of that. It's just a flat key (but might have a thick head). So with the key that Patty has, she doesn't have to disable the alarm. Her "valet" key has the remote buttons that will unlock the door and let them open without setting off the alarm.
A true valet key lets you start the car, drive the car, and open/lock the car door *manually*. That's all the valet need. However, disabling the alarm means it won't go off if you happen to use your remoted key to lock the doors and then give the non-remoted (valet) key to the valet. If the doors were locked using the remoted key, open the doors with a non-remoted key means the alarm goes off. Then the one using the non-remoted key has to start the car to shut up the alarm.
Note that some cars do not enable the alarm by just pressing the Lock button once on the remoted key. It may take 2 presses of the Lock button to both electronically throw the lock mechanism and then enable the alarm. Alternatively, use the key, any key, manually to lock the door(s). That will throw the lock mechanism but not engage the alarm.
"Except I can't figure out how to use it; it won't go in the ignition."
I starting to wonder if Patty got a key that isn't for her car. The non-remoted (valet) key should fit into the ignition switch.
http://www.cars101.com/subaru/outback/ob10keys1.JPG
Those all go into the ignition switch and also the door locks for manual operation of the vehicle. It may not fit into the glove box lock. It may also not work for the hatchback door (but then in an Outlook there is no separate trunk space).
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I do have a spare real key, but in this thread, I'm asking about what according to the owner's manual is called the valet key.

No, there are NO buttons whatsoever on the valet key.

Is it possible that the dealer gave me the wrong key? That seems very unlikely given that my car was brand new and, as far as I recall, all of the keys came together, along with some ID tags.

Yes, that's exactly what I received: two little metal tags, a key with a gray top and no buttons, and two keys with black tops and buttons.

According to the owner's manual, the valet key will NOT work with the glove compartment or rear hatch.
Patty
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Patty Winter wrote:
Just WHO are you citing? Yes, my nym is VanguardLH but what you show within angle brackets is NOT what I gave as my e-mail address! Either change your NNTP client (trn) to just show the nym (username) from the From header without the e-mail address or have it show nym <email> and not corrupt the identity (nym+email). Would you like me to cite you as

I hate those fake valet keys. They don't have a full metal head, just a tang onto which the fat plastic head attaches. I wanted to carry it as a spare in my wallet but when I removed the fat plastic head what I was left with was a guillotined key (it's metal head looked chopped off). While the guillotined key was usable, I'd have to use a pliers to grab onto the stub to turn the key.

Valet *mode* (disabling the alarm) can only be toggled using the remoted keys (the ones with battery and buttons). If you forget to disable the alarm before handing over your car, the valet will have to start your car to stop the alarm after they use the valet key to manually open the door to get inside. You use the remoted key to disable the alarm before handing over the valet key to the valet.
The valet *key* operates the manual car door locks and the ignition switch. It won't work on the glove box lock (if you locked it using a primary/remoted key). It might not work on the hatchback door lock; however, that area in an Outback is not a separate trunk. Not usable on the rear door is really only viable for a vehicle with a sedan (and whose back seats don't fold down).
Valet *mode* refers to the alarm. Valet *key* refers to which locks in which that key will work.
The valet key you got with your new car should fit the manual car door locks (perhaps not the rear hatchback door) and the ignition switch. If the valet key doesn't work in those locks then you got the wrong key.
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On 9/3/2017 2:20 AM, VanguardLH wrote:

After writing my comment last night, I went into the garage and tried my key. It fit and turned on all accessories. I did not try to start the car as garage door was closed but now I know it would work.
The valet keys apparently do have a chip in them without controls as when I bought the car I told the saleslady that I might file down the bulky fob to fit my wallet better but she said it I did it would ruin the chip.
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On Sun, 3 Sep 2017 01:16:44 UTC, Patty Winter

Our family Subaru belongs to my wife and I'm not sure what her valet key does or even whether she has one. What I can do is tell you how the valet key for my Infiniti works.
Like yours, the Infiniti valet key does not work the glove compartment or the trunk. So, when I am going to turn the car over to a valet, I put anything of value into the glove compartment or the trunk and lock them with the valet key (actually, that's not exactly how it works for the trunk, but the effect is the same).
So, when I give the valet key to the valet, he can lock or unlock the doors and he can run the car to move it around, but he can't get into the glove compartment or the trunk. That makes perfect sense to me.
I'll bet that your Subaru works exactly the same way, except that since yours has a hatchback you can't actually lock the trunk.
--
John Varela

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On Sun, 3 Sep 2017 21:30:51 UTC, "John Varela"

WHOA! I garbled that. After locking the glove compartment with the valet key, I put that key in my pocket (it's on a ring with the house keys) and give the attendant the keyless fob. It is the keyless fob that cannot unlock the glove compartment or trunk. There is a switch inside the glove compartment that disables the ability of the dashboard switch and the keyless fob to unlock the trunk.
--
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On Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 10:41:07 AM UTC-10, VanguardLH wrote:

38470916

My friend's car has two key fobs. A regular one and another that limits the power to 500HP. That's the one you give to your wife. You can also put the car into valet mode by punching in a code on to the dash screen. This rest ricts the power even more and disables first gear. I'm still waiting for hi m to give me a ride in that damn car!
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On 9/2/2017 2:19 PM, Patty Winter wrote:

To quote the owner's manual for the 2017 Outback "The valet key fits only the ignition switch and door locks. You can keep the glove box locked when you leave your vehicle and valet key at a parking facility."
If you find that the 'valet' key you have won't fit and operate the ignition (and door lock) then it seems likely that you were given the wrong key. If I read the manual correctly, 'valet mode' pertains only to the security system and should have nothing to do with the key fitting or not fitting.
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Yep, that's what my 2013 owner's manual says, too.

I think you're right. Time to call the Subie dealership...
Patty
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John McGaw wrote:

As per Frank's reply, he said the dealer told him even the valet key has the proximity chip. That means the valet key will insert into the ignition switch but the chip must work to start the car. Could be the chip is coded wrong or inoperable. When the OP said the valet key wouldn't work to use the car, I had thought it meant the key wouldn't fit into the ignition switch's slot. It might fit but the chip has to work. Since the primary/remoted key works which also has a switch, the matching coils in the ignition switch are working (that power the chip in the key that has coils to which EMF is induced to power the chip).
Seems something the OP needs to address with the dealer to get the chip in the valet key correctly coded or have it replaced (should be warranteed). I haven't looked into how the chips get programmed but I'm sure an online search will discover that procedure.
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Is there a way to replace a battery in the valet key? If not, then I suspect there is no chip. But if the key doesn't work both doors and ignition then clearly there is something wrong with it.
--
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On Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 11:35:23 AM UTC-10, John Varela wrote:

The chip needs no battery. It's powered by a coil next to the ignition lock.
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On 9/3/2017 6:13 PM, dsi1 wrote:

Most credit cards now have chips along with the magnetized strips. The newer readers use the chips and the older, less secure ones still use the strip.
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John Varela wrote:

There is no battery in the valet key. There are no buttons on the valet key. There is no remote on the valet key. All the valet key has is a chip which gets its power via a fluctuating EMF field across a couple of coils. The ignition key has the other set of coils. When the key (primary/remoted or valet) is inserted into the ignition switch, the coils in there will induce current into the key's chip coils to power the chip in the key.
The battery is only needed for the remoted keys. Those have the remote (radio) to actuate the electric controls for the door locks.
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VanguardLH wrote:

More info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transponder_car_key http://www.locksmithchico.com/transponder%20keys.htm http://united-locksmith.net/auto-locksmith/transponder-key-programming
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