The smart key system in Toyota vehicles allows you to unlock, lock, and start your vehicle without inserting a traditional metal key. While this keyless technology offers convenience, there may be times when you need to deactivate the smart key system in your Toyota. This comprehensive guide will instruct how and when to turn off your Toyota’s smart key.
WHAT DOES THE SMART KEY DEACTIVATION SWITCH DO?
The smart key deactivation switch disables the vehicle’s smart key system. When this switch is pressed, it prevents the smart key fob from being able to lock/unlock the doors or start the engine. The purpose of this switch is to provide a way to secure your Toyota even if someone has access to your smart key.
Some reasons you may want to deactivate the smart key system include:
- Your smart key fob’s battery has died, and you must lock the vehicle.
- You lost your smart key and don’t want anyone who finds it to be able to unlock your car.
- You’re storing your Toyota for an extended time and want to ensure it stays locked and the engine can’t be started.
- You’re transporting high-value items in the vehicle and want to prevent theft if someone attempts to steal the car.
The smart key deactivation switch disables all key functions, reverting your Toyota to manual key operation only through the physical metal key built into the fob. Once deactivated, only inserting and turning the metal key will unlock the doors and start the engine.
WHERE IS THE SMART KEY DEACTIVATION SWITCH?
The location of the smart key deactivation switch varies depending on the Toyota model and year. Here’s a breakdown of where to find this important switch for different Toyota vehicles:
FOR TOYOTAS LESS THAN 15 YEARS OLD
In most modern Toyota models built within the last 15 years, the smart key deactivation switch will be inside the vehicle, commonly under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
For example, in the Toyota RAV4 (2001 and newer), Camry (2002 and newer), and Highlander (2008 and newer), the deactivation switch is a small black or grey button positioned below the steering column around the driver’s left knee.
In the current Toyota Corolla (2014 and newer), the switch is a similar button placed on the lower left side of the dashboard closest to the driver’s door.
Refer to your owner’s manual to find the exact location of your specific Toyota make and model. The switch may or may not be labelled, but your manual should indicate its precise position.
FOR OLDER TOYOTAS
In Toyota models older than 15, there often won’t be a smart key deactivation switch since the technology is less common. You’ll need the physical metal key for these older vehicles to lock, unlock, and start the engine.
If your Toyota is this age, the smart key will be a backup convenience rather than the primary entry system. Check your owner’s manual to see if a deactivation switch exists for your specific vehicle.
3 WAYS TO DEACTIVATE YOUR TOYOTA’S SMART KEY SYSTEM
You may need to turn off the smart key system in your Toyota for a few different reasons. Here are the main methods and situations where temporarily deactivating this keyless technology is advised:
1. DEACTIVATING YOUR SMART KEY BECAUSE YOUR FOB ISN’T WORKING
Sometimes, the battery in your smart key fob can die, causing the fob to stop locking, unlocking or starting your Toyota. When this happens, you’ll need to deactivate the vehicle’s smart system so you can use the physical metal key instead.
Here’s how to do this:
- Locate the smart key deactivation switch, usually under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
- Push the button to disable the smart key system. An indicator light on your dashboard will illuminate to confirm it’s been turned off.
- Use the metal key inside the fob to unlock the doors and manually start the engine. This allows you to continue driving your Toyota until the fob battery can be replaced.
- Once the battery is swapped, push the smart key deactivation button again to reactivate the system.
Following these steps lets you temporarily override the smart key so your Toyota stays operable even with a dead fob battery.
2. DEACTIVATING YOUR SMART KEY FOR LONG-TERM STORAGE OR THEFT PREVENTION
Another reason to turn off the smart system in your Toyota is if you’re storing the vehicle or transporting valuables and want maximum security. The deactivation switch ensures the doors stay locked and the engine can’t start. You also need for theft prevention.
To deactivate for storage/theft prevention:
- Find the smart key deactivation switch inside your Toyota, push and hold for 2-3 seconds until the indicator light turns on. This disables the smart key.
- Make sure the vehicle is locked using the metal key. The smart key will now be unable to unlock it.
- Store your smart key fob in a safe location away from the vehicle. The car cannot be opened or driven without the physical metal key.
- When removing from storage, insert the metal key and turn it to unlock the doors, then push the deactivation switch again to reactivate the smart key system.
Following this method when parking your Toyota for long periods ensures optimum security and protection.
3. DEACTIVATING THE SMART KEY SYSTEM PERMANENTLY
In rare cases, you may want to permanently disable your Toyota’s smart key system permanently. This could be for repairs, selling the vehicle, or if the feature is malfunctioning.
To permanently deactivate the smart key:
- Access the fuse box panel, usually under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
- Locate the correct fuse for the smart key system, labeled in your owner’s manual.
- Remove this fuse from the fuse box. This will completely disable the vehicle’s smart key functions.
- The Toyota can only be manually operated with the metal key, not the smart key fob.
Reinserting the correct fuse can reactivate the smart system if desired. But for permanent deactivation, leave the fuse out.
This method disables the smart key operation entirely, which can be useful for repairs or preventing issues if the system has problems.
The smart key system in most modern Toyota vehicles offers convenience by eliminating the need to insert your key to unlock, lock, or start your vehicle. However, there are legitimate reasons you may want to temporarily deactivate these keyless functions, such as a dead fob battery, long-term storage, or preventing theft.
Locating the smart key deactivation switch and understanding when and how to press it can help you override your Toyota’s smart technology. Remember that deactivating the system will disable all keyless entry capabilities, only reverting your vehicle to manual, physical key operation. But when used properly, this simple switch gives you full control over your car’s smart functions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should I do if my smart key deactivation switch is not working correctly?
If the deactivation switch is damaged or malfunctioning, you may need to have your Toyota serviced to reset the system. A technician can use diagnostic tools to override or reset the vehicle’s computer controlling the smart key system.
Will deactivating the smart key disable the engine immobilizer anti-theft system?
No, deactivating the smart key itself will not disable the immobilizer system. The engine immobilizer uses a separate electronic chip in the physical key to prevent the engine from starting without the correct key present. This security feature will remain active even with the smart key disabled.
If I lose my smart key, can I order a replacement and repair it to the vehicle myself?
Unfortunately, no. For security reasons, the smart key systems in Toyota vehicles require dealer-level tools to “relearn” a new or replacement smart key fob to your vehicle. Your Toyota dealership can program a new smart key to work with your car properly.