U.S. Cars Sold Overseas Leave Drivers in the Dark

Over the last several months we have been contacted by two drivers of U.S. cars sold and likely built overseas who could not find a back-up spot to drop the key fob in the event of the fob’s battery dying. Well, a good deal of sleuthing and a hunch resolved one of these cases.

First, we have to acknowledge the diligent work of one of the vehicles owners. He sent pics of all the spots we could think of that might be used as a back up slot and noted which style key was in use. Then after the hunch, he took the time to perform the test we suggested. The other driver essentially gave, up or possibly found an answer elsewhere and didn’t let us know.


Malibu consoleThe car in question was a Chevrolet Malibu.  The owner’s manual was available and was dead wrong, which is, of course, the true source of the problem. The year, make and model in the U.S. has a back up slot in the center console. As you can see (right), the client’s car does not.

Cruze slotIt also uses a flip key, which suggested a spot like that is used in the Cruze (right) or first generation Volt. No such plug in spot exists in the Malibu in question.

Then, we got hold of a new, 2017 Cruze. And like a handful of other GM models, the back up slot had been moved to one of the cup holders. And, unlike European cars, the spot goes unmarked.

And while the Cruze did not use a flip key, it suggested a possible solution to our overseas client. He removed the battery from the fob and dropped it into the front cup holder, and was able to start the car (the fob will be recognized from the back up slot in GM vehicles, at least temporarily, even with the battery actually missing). He is relieved to have an actual back-up plan.

The moral of the story for drivers of U.S. designed vehicles sold overseas is this (and we include Ford as well just in case, although we have not seen this come up). If the battery in your key fob is dead, there is still a back up plan. However, your owner’s manual may not reflect it. Try each and every one of the dozen or so back up spots found on our pages. We are pretty confident one of them will get you going.



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