Little-known car key fob button can personalise vehicles and ‘limit’ certain features

Motorists may be able to personalise their driving experience and even limit safety settings through a secret button located on certain petrol and diesel car key fobs, according to experts. 

Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at the automotive research firm Navigant, has claimed road users can adjust a whole host of features which will be remembered by the fob the next time it is used.

Features such as seating position are then automatically adjusted depending on which key fob is activated, ensuring multiple family members can enjoy the same vehicle hassle-free. 

In an extra safety boost, he revealed parents can even “limit functionality” such as reducing the speed of cars. 

This means young drivers can get behind the wheel of their family assets in a more controlled manner.

Sam stressed many manufacturers have programmed the technology into their vehicles despite many being unaware it can be used.

He told Consumer Reports: “Personalization of some manufacturers’ key fobs is another area that many customers may not realize they have.

“If there are multiple users of a vehicle in a household, each [driver] can have their own fob, and once they set things like seat and mirror positions, the car will automatically adjust those as you approach the vehicle. 

“For homes with young drivers, this can be used to limit certain functionality, such as top speed and preventing the disabling of driver assist features.”

According to experts, premium models produced by brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Land Rover, Volvo and Ford should have the technology installed.

However, he has urged drivers to check with manufacturers to see if their fob has the function available. 

Consumer Reports has stressed motorists should read the specific sections of the owner’s manual that cover the fob when they secure a new vehicle. 

At this stage, road users should configure the settings on their car remote to “lock out” any features they don’t want to accidentally set off by mistake.

They suggested that new owners should also read the car’s quick reference guide which will usually cover the basic features of the key fob.

However, experts admitted key fobs can be fiddly with limited labels in place making it almost impossible for owners to understand what all the features are used for. 

Sam added: “The fundamental problem here is that the key fob is, ideally, reasonably small. 

“Unfortunately, like other small devices such as smartwatches, that means you have limited space for both controls and labels.”

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