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Safety is a concern for all drivers, but parents of teen drivers may be particularly focused on learning about the array of available safety features. Both Lincoln and Ford vehicles offer a feature called MyKey, which has the potential to help parents encourage safe driving behaviors from their teen. Here’s what you need to know about this useful tool.

What is Ford MyKey?

According to Ford, MyKey is a feature that enables a parent to configure their teen’s car key, creating “restricted vehicle modes that promote good driving habits.” An identical feature is available on many Lincoln vehicles.

As a parent using MyKey, you will be able to program a restricted vehicle mode onto all but one of your keys. Any key that you do not program remains an admin key, meaning that you will be able to use it to create and configure other MyKeys. 

When you create a MyKey, it will always feature several default settings that cannot be changed. First, the audio system will automatically mute if it detects that passengers in the front seats do not have their seat belts buckled. For vehicles that feature satellite radio, MyKey will also automatically restrict adult content.

Additionally, MyKey will automatically enable any driver assist features that your car is equipped with. And in order to ensure the driver has plenty of time to recharge or refuel the vehicle, MyKey forces the low charge or low fuel warning to activate earlier than usual.

How to customize this feature

A yellow Ford EcoSport is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview at Messe Wien, as part of Vienna Holiday Fair
The Ford EcoSport | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

In addition to the pre-set MyKey configurations for Ford and Lincoln vehicles, there are several settings that you can customize to suit your family’s needs.

Several of these configurations center around speed: You can set speed minders that will alert the driver if they exceed your chosen speed, as well as vehicle speed limits that will fully prevent the driver from exceeding your chosen speed.

Ford does warn parents not to set a speed limit that will prevent the driver from maintaining a safe speed, as this limit cannot be overridden by the driver.

You also have the option of setting volume limits on the audio system. The MyKey driver will receive an alert if they try to exceed this limit.

Finally, MyKey allows you to enable the “always on” setting for emergency assist, traction control, and do not disturb. If you set this up, your teen will be unable to turn any of these features off while driving.

It is worth noting that while you can set up multiple MyKeys at a time, you cannot customize each of them individually. The settings you choose will apply to each active MyKey.

Which Ford and Lincoln vehicles offer MyKey?

Before you can take advantage of a safety feature like MyKey, you have to know which vehicles offer it. Unfortunately, a 2020 study showed that Ford is one of the worst automakers when it comes to telling parents about important safety features. This is surprising, given how many great features it has — many 2021 models will even offer Ford Co-Pilot360, a comprehensive safety suite that will enable hands-free driving.

Despite the fact that Ford may not always tell parents enough about potential safety features, you can at least be on the lookout for the MyKey option when shopping. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be too hard to find, as it now comes with the majority of Ford and Lincoln vehicles, including the Ford Explorer, Ford EcoSport, and Lincoln Navigator.

The MyKey feature is an excellent tool that parents can use to help encourage safe driving habits in their teen driver. If you’re shopping for a Ford or Lincoln, be sure not to overlook this valuable feature.


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