Rental car keys

BOBOT

Recycles dryer sheets
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Aug 17, 2006
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Why does a car rental co. give you 2 sets of keys but attach them together with an non-detachable cable? If you were to lose 1 set you'd lose them both, and of course if you lock yourself out the 2nd set is useless.:facepalm:
Wouldn't it make sense to have the 2nd set in a safe place, like DW's purse?



I suppose I could cut the cable with something, but why should I have to?
 
I recently had to replace a key fob. A new key fob is about $125 online, and it comes with a blank key (for the doors) that has to be laser cut. A locksmith charges about $85 to reprogram the security module for two key fobs, as both have to be reset after losing one fob. Total cost is about $250.

I bought a used key fob at an online auto salvage yard and had the locksmith come out. Many locksmiths won't even flash the module unless they sell you the fob too. A dealer will hit you for over $300 if you lose a key fob.

But it's impossible to drive the car when you don't have a fob. Losing both fobs on a rental car is just not cool.
 
Rental cars are often picked up at one place and dropped off at another place, frequently many hundreds of miles away. If the rental office that the car is picked up at forgets to give both sets of keys to the customer (and humans run these offices, and humans make mistakes), they are responsible for getting that key back with the car. Once they figure out where the car is, they have to transport it there, which means that the car will be out of service while waiting to be reunited with the other key, which means lost income. And often times that key will never make it back with the car. When it comes time to sell the car, a missing key will drop the resale price (even a small amount) or they'll have to pay to get a new one. Either way this costs the rental company money.

So, what they do instead is place the burden on the customer. With the keys permanently bound together, it is damn near impossible for both keys not to go with the car. If the customer loses a key, they lose two keys, and will be charged (a premium price) for replacing two keys. It's a simple case of cutting down operating costs.
 
Why does a car rental co. give you 2 sets of keys but attach them together with an non-detachable cable? If you were to lose 1 set you'd lose them both, and of course if you lock yourself out the 2nd set is useless.:facepalm:
Wouldn't it make sense to have the 2nd set in a safe place, like DW's purse?



I suppose I could cut the cable with something, but why should I have to?
https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/why-do-rental-car-companies-attach-both-keys-264381

The rental car company does it because they're afraid they will lose the keys if they don't keep them together.
Eventually they will probably sell the car and want to give the buyer two keys.

I hate it because, as you say, you're on the hook to replace two keys. Also, as a runner who sometimes drives to a place to run, I have to carry two keys with me, along with their big tag.
 
https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/why-do-rental-car-companies-attach-both-keys-264381


Eventually they will probably sell the car and want to give the buyer two keys.

I hate it because, as you say, you're on the hook to replace two keys. Also, as a runner who sometimes drives to a place to run, I have to carry two keys with me, along with their big tag.

+1!!!!!!!!

I had to stop running about the time I retired. Just too many injuries, But as a road warrior who ran daily, carrying the F-ing log chain really, really p!ssed me off.
 
which company gives 2 keys.........don't believe I've ever gotten more than 1 ....ever.
 
which company gives 2 keys.........don't believe I've ever gotten more than 1 ....ever.

Enterprise definitely puts two key fobs together. I recently rented a Dodge Grand Caravan. Really nice vehicle with lots of features, including automatic side and rear door opening by touching the key fob. The two fobs were on a cable in such a way that the active surfaces touched each other. Twice I walked to the parking lot to find the van sitting there with the rear hatch or side door open. At first I assumed it was my senior citizen complacency, but after the third open door, I realized the keys in my pocket were activating randomly. Not a good feature!
 
which company gives 2 keys.........don't believe I've ever gotten more than 1 ....ever.
Pretty sure I always have, or at least almost always. Hertz is my usual. Avis. Can't remember for certain which all others but lots.
 
I just had a Hertz rental last week and there was only one key fob.
 
which company gives 2 keys.........don't believe I've ever gotten more than 1 ....ever.

Alamo sometimes does and sometimes doesn't. When we rented a car from them at SFO for a month-long road trip to Canada in 2017, we got two keys cabled together. The first stop was at BIL's house so we had him cut them apart so we could each carry one. We zip-tied them back together before returning the car and they never said anything about it.

We rented from Alamo again in Hawaii a few months later, and we both noticed that they only gave us one key that time. It makes sense now that I've read dirtbiker's explanation that they were not too worried about their car being returned to a different location. :D
 
Rental cars are often picked up at one place and dropped off at another place, frequently many hundreds of miles away. If the rental office that the car is picked up at forgets to give both sets of keys to the customer (and humans run these offices, and humans make mistakes), they are responsible for getting that key back with the car. Once they figure out where the car is, they have to transport it there, which means that the car will be out of service while waiting to be reunited with the other key, which means lost income. And often times that key will never make it back with the car. When it comes time to sell the car, a missing key will drop the resale price (even a small amount) or they'll have to pay to get a new one. Either way this costs the rental company money.

So, what they do instead is place the burden on the customer. With the keys permanently bound together, it is damn near impossible for both keys not to go with the car. If the customer loses a key, they lose two keys, and will be charged (a premium price) for replacing two keys. It's a simple case of cutting down operating costs.

This is fascinating to me but totally makes sense. That said, I always rent with Avis and don't think I've ever gotten two keys (even when I was doing a planned return to a 2nd location). They still put a big tag and connector on them, so no rental key is ever going to fit discreetly in my pocket for a run but I've never managed to lose one either which, if you know me, is amazing.
 
I rented 100's of cars throughout my business travel career. I can only recall getting both keys with the car only a few times. Recently, I rented a newer 2019 Infinity G35 from Enterprise (National) for a week and only got one key fob.
 
IIRC, the lost key charge is ~$250.

....so no rental key is ever going to fit discreetly in my pocket for a run but I've never managed to lose one either which, if you know me, is amazing.

I'll make a long reach here and speculate that at $250 each, that wouldn't happen very often no matter how they package them....:)
 
Enterprise definitely puts two key fobs together. I recently rented a Dodge Grand Caravan. Really nice vehicle with lots of features, including automatic side and rear door opening by touching the key fob. The two fobs were on a cable in such a way that the active surfaces touched each other. Twice I walked to the parking lot to find the van sitting there with the rear hatch or side door open. At first I assumed it was my senior citizen complacency, but after the third open door, I realized the keys in my pocket were activating randomly. Not a good feature!

I have rented from Enterprise a few times in recent years and not had this problem. So I am guessing it depends on the rental location too, not just the company.

Once I rented in Las Vegas and had to have the cable that held both key sets cut by hotel staff. It was just too bulky for my pocket. I think that rental was from Avis.
 
which company gives 2 keys.........don't believe I've ever gotten more than 1 ....ever.


OP here. My most recent experience is with Alamo; I've had the same before but don't remember with what companies.


Thanks for the replies; they make sense.


Off topic, but this rental was arranged through Costco travel; saved us at least $100 & had other perks, e.g. free 2nd driver. And they upgraded us at the counter.
 

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