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Old 06-29-2004, 04:01 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Naperville (Chicago suburb)
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Pass keys

When I purchased my ML320 used I didn't receive any pass keys (valet keys). I ordered a couple from the MB dealer yesterday at $32 a pop. My question is two fold. 1) Did the folks that purchased new get such keys? 2) Any chance this cost could be covered under the 3yr/50K mile waranty?

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2000 ML320 (37K Mi)
1985 BMW 735i (155K Mi)
1989 Caravan (102K Mi) cargo hauler
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:28 PM
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Just my opinion, but . . . .

Why would MB be responsible for a lost key(or, keys)? Perhaps you should have asked the dealer for an extra key as a condition for buying the ML. Also, my new ML came with one valet key.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:49 PM
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Warranty on the truck is 4yr/50,000, not 3 yr. I agree, the dealer should be responsible if they lost a key before the vehicle was delivered HOWEVER at some point, MB "dropped" the "Mickey Mouse"/valet (???)/emergency key, may have been 2000 as the DAS system was totally redesigned in 2000, but may have been dropped later.
I'd strongly urge a 1998 or 1999 owner to reconsider before ordering one of these keys, as these first 2 years can only have 8 (EIGHT) keys, after that it's a very expensive proposition to get the truck set-up for new keys (engine control module, etc etc). The 2000 and newer are like the cars with smartkey, can get 24 total keys, no more than 8 at once.
Myself I never saw a great use for the Mickey Mouse key. No remote function, and if the truck is locked and you use this key to unlock the truck the alarm goes off until the key is turned in the ignition. By the way, on the 98/99's you got 2 remote keys and 1 Mickey Mouse key, not 2.

Gilly
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:54 PM
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The 2000 owners manual I have does refer to the Mickey Mouse key, they call it the "reserve key", and seem to describe it like you would describe an "emergency key", not a valet key. A valet drive would have no more or less access to the truck with the Mickey Mouse key than with the remote, the disadvantage is if you give a valet the Mickey Mouse key the truck probably won't get locked in the valet parking area, won't be able to figure out how to lock it without the remote. Maybe they don't normally lock cars in valet parking anyways? I'm not a "valet parking" kinda guy so unsure.

Gilly
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:50 AM
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I feel an explanation of my original post is in order. As to why MB may cover the cost of keys under a warranty – perhaps keeping the customer content is a better description of MB’s return investment in such a case. BMW recently made me a pass key for my 735i free of charge and that vehicle is 19 years old. BMW was not responsible for the cost yet they absorbed the cost in good faith. Will a $35 free key prompt me to spend $90K at BMW rather then MB when I purchase my next new vehicle? Sometimes little things impact big decisions.

As for why would anyone want a mickey mouse key consider the possibility your wife somehow locks your ML with the keys inside. A pass key in her purse can open the driver’s door and she can insert the real key into the ignition to turn off the alarm. The alternative is calling a tow truck service to gain access to the vehicle which is costly, time consuming, and could cause damage.

Gilly, as always I appreciate your detailed response and info concerning the number of keys for certain model years.

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1989 Caravan (102K Mi) cargo hauler
2000 Montana (40K Mi) family hauler
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