We all appreciate the remote that locks and unlocks our cars. It’s great for individuals with disabilities who use wheelchair accessible or handicap vans or seniors with arthritis. But now there are “smart keys” (fobs) that do even more—and the number of vehicles that offer them has quadrupled in the last five years.

The car, truck or accessible van recognizes the fob as you approach—even if it is in your pocket or bag. It’s hands-free, so there’s no rummaging around for a key or remote.

It uses a small transmitter to communicate with your vehicle’s computer. It automatically unlocks doors when you near the vehicle and locks them when you walk away. The engine starts with the push of a power button on the dashboard.

Some models may require you to touch a door handle, but drivers don’t need to push a button on the fob or even take it out of their purse or pocket.

Once youʼre in, press the button to start the car or, depending on the model, step on the brake and push the start button.

All smart keys differ, but may offer the following:

  • Remote start
  • The vehicle will lock all the doors and arm the alarm system.
  • The vehicle can roll-up open windows and/or close the sunroof.
  • Walk up to the trunk and it opens. If the fob is left inside the trunk, the lid automatically opens so you can retrieve it.
  • Using a heartbeat sensor, the fob can tell if someone is in the car.
  • Your preferences can be set, including seat position, steering wheel position, exterior mirror settings, climate control temperature settings and stereo presets.

The smart key is also available as an aftermarket product for all vehicles.

Talk to your local NMEDA handicap accessible vehicle dealer for more information.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible vehicle please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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