Originally Posted by Toller
The key I got has a chip in it. If the fob with a dead battery works by holding it up to the start button, it is a reasonable assumption that a chipped key can do that also. And if it doesn't, the dealer shouldn't have sold it to me.
As far as I know, it actually does and the dealer didn't bother to program it in.
The smart key system is more than just a chip though. There is a reason the fob is as large as it is. The key responds to low frequency (LF) transmitting antennas (about 125kHz) in the car by replying with an encrypted rolling ID code in the RF range (>300MHz) that the ECU then decrypts and verifies before allowing the engine to be started. There is an LF antenna behind the start button which is why you can push it with a dead fob and the car will still start.
The chip in a normal transponder key (the kind that you have I am guessing) is more akin to a simple RFID tag that supplies the same code every time. In this system the key is put in the ignition, the car will send an signal to the key which energizes the circuit, the car can then read the code on the transponder in the key, and if verified allows the car to start. So in this system the car would be programmed to the key. In the smart key systems the key and car are programmed to each other as there is more communication going on back and forth.
Simply put they are somewhat similar systems, but the smart key is more active in that there is a back and forth communication whereas a transponder key is passive.
I agree that the dealer should have explained this better, but in the end it is your responsibility as the consumer to do the research before you buy. Since there are no valet keys for this vehicle from Mazda, it would be a safe assumption that the key provided by the dealer only works where there is a standard tumbler lock. And since the car does not have a tumbler lock ignition it would not work there. Even just asking for more clarification from the dealer ("so these valet keys will open the doors and start the car, right?" "well no, they will only open the doors") should have provided you the answer you were seeking.
As an FYI, most cars that have a smart key and locking glove boxes do valet keys slightly differently. You would use the built in "backup" key to lock the glovebox/console/under seat storage, then give the fob without that key to the valet and he can get in and start the car, but has no access to your super secure plastic boxes. That may be what the dealer was referring to when they mentioned a valet key for this car. Bust since we do not have locking storage, that is somewhat of a moot point.
I'm not trying to shoot you down here, I am only looking to educate and provide a balanced perspective of the realities of the situation as it has been presented. You asked if you have a valid gripe, and I don't really see that you do. In the end, if you need a third key, you may just have to spend the additional $400-500 to get another fob. If all you need is a second key, I would ask the dealer where it is, though if it wasn't included on your "we owe, you owe" form you may be up a creek.