Valet parking and keyless entry

Do I just give the whole key(less) fob to the attendant?

I think there’s a key hidden inside the fob. Should I give him the key? There nothing valuable in the trunk. Just shopping bags.

I have a Mazda 6 Grand Touring (if that’s relevant).

Need answer by 10:45 am (cst) tomorrow. Thanks.

yes, the whole fob

You CAN give them the skeleton key inside the fob, but that’s sort of a PITA for them, and (more importantly to me) an indirect slight against the valet/valet service’s professionalism. Basically when you give a skeleton key like that you’re saying you don’t trust them to not fuck with your preferred settings and orientations or with the ancillary access areas like the trunk and the interior compartments.

That said, if I had valuables inside the vehicle, or a car that was valuable for being low-mileage or special in some way, I’d be all over insulting the valet - skeleton key all the way.

I’ve seen two basic kinds: either there’s a “fingernail/coin” depression or ledge that you depress/toggle, and the key-fob snaps apart like a clamshell and the skeleton is nested inside, or the key is the “spine” of the fob, and there’s a protrusion on the outside you can manipulate to pull it out from either the top or bottom.

Thanks, I think I’ll just give them the whole thing. I finally have a car that I’m not embarrassed to have valet parked. :rolleyes:

Just for another point of reference, this is all based on keyless entry, if you have a push button start, it’s sort of the opposite.
You take the key apart, give them the fob and keep the physical key. But you also have to take two additional steps (at least for a Honda)
1)Open the glove compartment and flip the little switch so the trunk ONLY opens with the physical key
2)lock the glove compartment

Then put all your valuables in the trunk.

The only time I’ve ever thought about doing that (not that I valet my car very often) is when I went to the dealer for something) and had quite a bit of cash in my trunk. But I figured that would tip them off that something might be in there and they’d probably have no problem getting into it.

ETA, if you’re really, really worried, you can even use that key to lock the remote gas door release thing by your feet so they can’t open that either.

ETA2: I assume that the skeleton key doesn’t open the trunk, right? How do you open it if your car battery is dead or you don’t have your key fob on you?

On my Avalon you can use the skeleton key on the panel behind the rear seat center arm rest and pull on a cable to open the trunk lid.

If you’re that worried about the valet stealing stuff, why don’t you just park your own car?

I pull out the key and hand them just the fob, because it’s easier than taking the whole fob off the ring and they don’t need the key anyway. No one seems to care.

A skeleton key is a bit key (the type made for antique lever-tumbler locks, which are now considered obsolete and not secure) which has been specially modified for the purpose of attempting to manipulate large groups of locks rather than a single lock. In the early part of the 20th century, skeleton keys were carried by thieves. To this day, it is still a felony to send one through the US Mail. But they have little practical value, except for the occasional bedroom door, roll top desk, or armoire.

Lasciel and GaryM appear to be talking about a mechanical key or an emergency key. That’s not the same thing.

Most automobiles have some method for you to lock your valuables in the trunk and/or glovebox and still allow a valet to drive the car without accessing those areas. Typically, this involves two different keys, one called a master key (which operates all the locks) and one called a valet key (which operates the doors and ignition but not trunk or glovebox). You lock your valuables in the trunk with the master key and give the valet key to the valet. But every car is different. Check your owner’s manual. The catch is that most car owners are completely unaware of which key is which, and often one key or the other gets lost so they only have one but not the other.

A further complication to this is the fact that the vast majority of cars sold in America during this decade use transponder keys (which contain a tiny radio, whose signal is required to start the engine). Remote fob contain mechanical override keys so that you can unlock the door even if the car’s battery is dead. But the mechanical override key by itself will not start the engine because it lacks a transponder. Again, check your owner’s manual. It may say that there’s a way to lock the trunk so that the mechanical override key is needed to unlock it again and the remote alone won’t do it. If that’s the case, then keeping the mechanical override key might keep a valet out of your trunk if you follow the procedure in the owner’s manual.

This is what I do. Since I have the emergency key part of the fob, no one can open the glove compartment. Since the valet has the RF portion of the key, they can start the car and lock and unlock the doors. No way to start the car with the emergency key any way.

Major life tip: Do not pick your car up then drive away without making sure the valet has left the fob in the car. I came home from the airport once, tired and cranky and failed to notice I drove out of range of the fob. Valet still had it in his pocket. Once I got home and turned the car off, I had no way to restart it. :eek:

I don’t let anyone drive my car. Park it yourself.

As I hand over my keys, I always give the valet guy my dead-eye stare and say, “if anything is missing from my car, I’ll hunt down your mother and make her wish she’d never given birth to you”.

And if she’s dead?

You mean I’ve parked there before and my jumper cables were missing afterwards?

I already said there was nothing of value in the car. I never said anywhere that I was worried about the valet stealing stuff.

Anyway, when I got to the hotel there was a line of cars around the block waiting to get parked, so I parked on the street.

The end.

Thanks to all who played.

Sorry, didn’t mean you :slight_smile: Others mentioned complex ways involving secret levers to keep them out of the trunk and whatnot. Just seemed excessive for the privilege of not having to drive and walk 2 minutes.

I would dine at a restaurant that offered ballet parking. I don’t like ballet enough to go to a theater and watch it, but the small dose of a man or woman in a tutu, en pointe, accepting my keys would be nice. Maybe it’s been done, but I haven’t seen it around these parts.:frowning:

Important safety tip: make sure the ballet isn’t The Rite of Spring, or your car might be destroyed in the resultant riot.

No prob. :slight_smile:

Or, God forbid, The Firebird. :eek:

I seriously thought I was having an original idea.