Skip to main content

Toyota is going to make you pay to start your car with your key fob

Toyota is going to make you pay to start your car with your key fob


The functionality only lasts as long as your free trial

Share this story

Car Logos
Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Toyota is charging drivers for the convenience of using their key fobs to remotely start their cars. According to a report from The Drive, Toyota models 2018 or newer will need a subscription in order for the key fob to support remote start functionality.

As The Drive notes, buyers are given the option to choose from an array of Connected Services when purchasing a new Toyota, and one of those services — called Remote Connect — just so happens to include the ability to remotely start your car with your key fob.

The key fob’s remote start functionality is tied to the audio package that comes with the car

Buyers are offered a free trial of Remote Connect, but the length of that trial depends on the audio package that’s included with the vehicle. Even more confusingly, only some Toyota models support the Audio Plus or Premium Audio packages that the free trial is offered with, which you can check out for yourself in this PDF.

In other words, the key fob’s remote start functionality is tied to the audio package that comes with the car. This was first spotted in a post on Reddit, where the original poster added a link to Toyota’s Remote Connect marketing materials (PDF). The post has since been flagged as “potentially misleading,” however, Toyota confirmed to The Drive that users will, in fact, have to pay for remote start when the free trial ends.

The pamphlet linked to in the post details the key fob’s remote start feature, as well as its relation to the Audio Plus and Premium Audio packages. While a car with Audio Plus gives drivers the luxury of free remote start using a key fob for three years, a car purchased with Premium Audio offers free remote start for 10 years. After that, drivers will have to pay the $8 / month or $80 / year price for the full Remote Connect service, which includes the remote start feature for the key fob.

On Toyota’s Remote Connect page, it’s not entirely clear that the key fob’s remote start functionality is included within the plan. It says that the Remote Connect service lets drivers use their smartwatch, smart home devices, or smartphone to start their cars, but there isn’t any mention of using the key fob for remote starts.

And as The Drive points out, it looks like some users have been aware of this for years. In a thread dated back to 2019 on the Toyota Nation forum, users discuss the key fob’s remote start functionality — some users claim that their key fob is still able to start their car remotely, however most of the users on this thread own a Toyota that’s 2018 or newer, which means they may still be covered by the free trial.

Typically, paywalled features like these are limited to luxury car brands

Typically, paywalled features like these are limited to luxury car brands. In 2018, BMW made drivers pay an annual subscription for Apple Car Play — in addition to the $300 it charges to install the feature in the first place. The German car manufacturer later walked back on its decision nearly two years later.

However, BMW still does let you pay to “unlock” new features in your car, in a way that’s been described as in-car microtransactions. The all-electric Porsche Taycan has a similar system, dubbed Functions On-Demand, which lets drivers purchase new, optional features for their Porsche, like Active Lane Keeping or Dynamic Light System Plus. Meanwhile, Cadillac charges users $25 / month after the end of the free trial for its hands-free driving mode, Super Cruise, which has since been temporarily discontinued in newer Escalades due to the chip shortage.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 21 minutes ago Not just you

Emma Roth21 minutes ago
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma Roth55 minutes ago
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma Roth5:52 PM UTC
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.