If you’re smart key, push button start system doesn’t work and you can’t unlock or start your car, never fear. There is a way to enter and start your car if your smart key battery is dead. First you’ll need to remove the mechanical key from the fob by pressing a button on the side of the key and pulling out on the keyring loop on the fob. This will reveal the mechanical key (called the shank):

Smart Key Mechanical Key

Smart Key Mechanical Key

The driver’s door on all models will have a place to insert this key to unlock the door.  On some Lexus models it is covered.

Once inside, hold the fob up to the start button (on the early Prius insert it into the slot), depress the brake pedal and then push the start button with the fob itself.  A coil inside the starting button pulses just enough to induce a current in the key – the code from the key is broadcast and the car disables the immobilizer and begins the start sequence.  It’s a great fail safe!

If your smart key car can’t turn off for any reason, press and hold the start button for three seconds.  This is the only way to turn off a Prius with a failed combination meter other than disconnecting the battery.

As Eden Prairie and Chanhassen’s Toyota and Lexus specialist repair shop we hope this helps an owner avoid a trip to the local auto mechanic on a tow truck!