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Did you know Toyota’s basic remote start key fobs require a freaking subscription?

This is ridiculous.

toyota steering wheel
Image: Unsplash

Toyota is really taking subscription services to the next level by tying drivers’ key fob remote starts to other subscription services.

First highlighted in this Reddit thread and reported on by The Drive, Toyota’s confusing set of rules and subscription services means many drivers might not realize that their proximity-based RF key fobs are tied to the unrelated Remote Connect subscription service.

Essentially, Remote Connect allows 2018-and-up Toyota owners to interact with their vehicles through a smartphone app and offers smart assistant functionality. It also allows you to start your vehicle easily, regardless of your location. The key fob, however, doesn’t use any of that fancy tech to remotely start vehicles.

Even so, in Toyota’s marketing materials for the service, the company notes that “Key Fob Remote Start will note function if Connected Services are waived.” Remote Connect, for example, sets users back $8 a month.

toyota remote start feature
Toyota’s Remote Connect features (Screenshot: KnowTechie)

Some Toyota owners might not even realize that Remote Connect isn’t free. The Remote Connect trial could last anywhere between one and ten years depending on various factors. The car that you purchase, along with the audio package, determines the length of the trial.

It’s a muddled mess, but Toyota has confirmed the key fob will only work with a valid Remote Connect subscription.

“A paid subscription is required for the key fob’s remote start function to work for every single model,” notes the spokesperson in a statement to The Drive.

For models older than 2018, Toyota is actually removing the paid requirements. The Drive notes that this is because older models use 3G for many of its connected features, and cellular carriers are phasing that out. So the car company is spinning this as change as “enhanced,” when in reality, it was more of a necessity.

This is absolutely absurd. A feature that doesn’t require the use of Toyota’s servers or anything will not work without paying for other connected services that drivers’ may not want. We are truly living in hell.

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