When Amazon debuted their Key in-home delivery service last summer, some were concerned about letting delivery people step into their homes, while others were excited to get their goods safely inside to prevent porch pirates from swiping them.
But now, Amazon might have created a solution that works for everyone. The retail giant recently introduced an in-car delivery service through its Key app, which means you can get Amazon packages brought directly to your car instead of having them left by your door or inside your home via the Key service.
Step 1: Confirm you have the right car
Amazon’s in-car delivery only works with certain car models. First, your vehicle needs to be a Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, or Volvo. No other brands support this feature thus far. Second, your car has to be a 2015 or later model—it won’t work on any older cars. Third, your car has to have an active OnStar account (or the Volvo equivalent, Volvo On Call). If your vehicle passed this gauntlet of requirements, you are eligible to sign up.
Step 2: Check availability in your area
Not just any Prime member can sign up for this in-car delivery service. Amazon is only rolling it out to specific locations in a number of states. Specifically, there are 37 different cities where this service is available: these include Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Boston. Here’s the whole list, which covers most United States major cities. Make sure you are in a compatible area.
Step 3: Sign up for the service
Head over to Amazon’s page about in-car services. Here you can check your specific zip code and vehicle model to make extra sure that you qualify. If you do, then download the Amazon Key App, also available on this page. The Key App governs Amazon’s in-car and in-house delivery options, and it’s necessary to enable this option. Once you sign into the app, it’s a good idea to make sure that alerts/notifications are enabled so that you can get messages about your package.
Why does this matter? Because it’s how Amazon gets access to the inside of your car. OnStar and Volvo On Call are services that have remote access to your car in case of emergencies. The Amazon Key App connects to those remote services. When your car is in the right place at the right time, the services have permission to unlock a part of your car for the delivery. The Amazon delivery person doesn’t have any ability to access your car at any other time, and Amazon does not gather any data from onboard services.
Step 4: Buy something from Amazon
Head over to Amazon and shop as you usually would. When you check out, select the right address for delivery. This step is important, because you must choose an address that is very close where your car will be parked. Don’t choose your home address if your car is going to be at work. If your car will be at work, make sure to provide your work address.
You should be able to indicate that you want an in-car delivery when choosing your shipping method, with a “Free Two-Day Shipping” label or another option similar to other Prime shipping choices. Of course, not all Amazon products are covered by Prime or qualify for in-car delivery (you won’t be able to buy, say, a washing machine), so make sure you are buying compliant products. The product must be under 50 pounds.
Underneath your shipping choice in the in-car delivery section, you should see a date and time in red. This is the four-hour window during which you can expect the package to be delivered.
Step 5: Park in the right spot
On delivery day, make sure that your car is parked within two blocks of the address that you have chosen during the correct time frame. Keep an eye on the Amazon Key App during this process, as it will tell you if the delivery window has changed and if your car is in the right area (trust the app over your physical location for this, because that’s the data that Amazon delivery services will be using).
When the delivery is completed, the app will send you a notification letting you know that the package is in your car. It will send an additional notification when your car has been locked back up afterward. You can get or transport your package at any time after the notification.
Most in-car deliveries take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for two-day deliveries, and between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. for same day deliveries. Keep this in mind when deciding where your car will be. If something comes up, you can (and should) input a backup delivery option in the Amazon Key app.
Note: Amazon guarantees a lock check and a backup auto lock to make absolutely sure that the car will be locked after delivery. However, the other danger is that someone will see packages in your vehicle and break in to steal them. The best way to prevent this is to have the package delivered to your trunk where no one can see it.
Fortunately, Amazon deliveries default to putting the package in the trunk, and it’s often the only part of the car that’s unlocked by delivery folks. With that said, it’s important to make sure there’s enough room in there first. If your trunk isn’t big enough, the delivery person will try to put the package in the vehicle cabin instead.