Why Isn’t My Car Key Remote Working?

Although car key fobs can be useful, they will eventually stop working. Even if the battery is dead, it is almost certain that your car doors won’t unlock with the remote.

There are many reasons why a keyless remote may stop working. However, the majority of them can be easily checked by you. Most car key fobs will have a problem with their batteries. In this case, you can replace the battery.

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While other key fob remote problems can be more difficult to resolve, it is still possible. These are the five things that you should check first if your remote stops locking and unlocking your car doors.

  • You can verify that the remote is working by using a backup.
  • Replace the key fob battery if necessary.
  • Take apart the key fob and inspect for broken contacts or misaligned buttons.
  • You can either program your remote by yourself or hire a professional to do it.
  • Replace your remote if necessary.

Is your car key remote really bad?

This is very basic information and won’t be applicable to everyone, but it is the first step to determine if the problem is with the car key remote. If you have a second remote and have not checked it, you will need to verify that it works.

If your backup remote locks and unlocks your doors, you will know that your main remote is having problems.

It is possible that your backup remote does not work. There could be an electrical or mechanical problem with your door locks.

You will need to verify that the physical key or emergency valet keys can be used to open the locks at this stage.

You may be able buy a second hand remote or one from your local dealer if you don’t own one. A universal remote may be available at your local dealer to verify that the remote lock mechanism is working.

What about cars without physical keys?

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Some cars only work when the key fob closes. This vehicle may have a physical key to unlock and lock the doors. However, it might be hidden. A key fob often has a hidden key. If you don’t have one, look inside for a release switch or button.

Another problem you might encounter is the inability to insert keys into car doors. These vehicles may still have a keyhole but it might be hidden behind trim pieces near the handle. You will need to search for a trim piece that has a small slot, which will allow you to reach the keyhole.

You can damage the paint on your car’s door or handle by prying at a trim piece. It is also possible to bend or dent the trim piece. If you feel uncomfortable and you don’t have an immediate need to be inside your car, it’s a good idea to call a professional.

If you have the physical key to lock and unlock the doors, the locks will work fine mechanically. There could be an electric problem. This can be ruled out by locking and unlocking the doors using the primary physical control within the vehicle. This will indicate that the electronics are working properly.

It is possible that your receiver might be damaged or disconnected. However, it is more likely that you have a problem with your keyless remote. If you are unsure if it is the wireless door lock receiver, check the underside and behind the dashboard.

Verify the battery in your keyless entry remote

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The majority of car key remotes are powered by category 4 buttons cell batteries, which aren’t too expensive. It’s a good idea, however, to check the battery in your remote and make sure it is working properly.

There are several ways to determine which type of battery you require. You can either find the information in your manual or contact a local dealer. You can also look inside the remote to see the battery. It will usually have a number stamped or printed on its surface.

Car key remotes usually use CR2025 or CR2032 battery, but CR1620 and CR1632 are also used in certain applications.

Knowing the type of battery in your remote will allow you to either test it with a multimeter, or you can swap for a better one since they aren’t too expensive. These batteries should display between 3 and 3.6 volts.

An old battery can show a nominal voltage on the voltmeter but still not be capable of operating under load. Consider replacing the battery if it is older than five years. Even if this doesn’t solve the problem, you will have a safe and new battery after your locks are working again.

After replacing the battery, your car key fob will work if it works. Now you can use your key fob normally again.

If the remote doesn’t turn on, it could be due to broken battery contacts, or buttons not working. You may also have lost your fob in your vehicle. In this case, you will need to program it again.

Broken Internal Contacts on Car Key Remotes

Key fobs are subject to a lot of abuse and are not indestructible. Buttons and battery terminal contacts are the most common failure points, but there are other ways they could fail.

This is the best way to inspect it yourself. You can see if the battery connector terminals have broken by looking at them. They may also feel loose. You can repair your key fob by carefully soldering the terminals back in place if they are damaged.

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If you don’t see any damage to the battery terminals, it is possible that the buttons have become loose or soldered. If you notice that a button is physically breaking, they can be re-soldering. You will need a new remote in such cases.

Many things can go wrong with rubber buttons that are used in car key remotes. You may notice that some buttons are not popping out properly or appear to be separating from the inside of your car key remote.

If that happens, you can try to remove the buttons and clean them. Next, flex the buttons in and out and reassemble the remote. If the buttons don’t work again, you will need a new remote.

Reprogramming a Car Key Remote

To make a car key remote work securely, it must be properly paired with your car’s receiver unit. If the make and model of your car is different, it won’t be possible for someone else to use the fob to unlock your car.

To regain the functionality of your key remote, your keyless remote will need to be reprogrammed. This can be done by repeatedly turning the key in the ignition while keeping the doors closed.

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Programming Sequence Standard Key Fob

Here is the basic sequence for key fob programming:

  1. Close the garage door and get in your car.
  2. Place the keys in the ignition.
  3. Instead of starting the vehicle, turn the key to the run position then back to the locked position several time in a row. Depending on the vehicle model and made, the number of times you need to do this will vary.

    If the engine cranks, or starts, it is too far. Turn it only to the run position and not the start.
  4. After you cycle the key multiple times, you will usually hear a chime. After pressing one of the lock/unlock buttons on your remote, you will hear the chime again.
  5. Your key fob remote should work again if the procedure went well.

Alternate Programming Sequence

Different vehicles use different procedures. If the first one didn’t work, here’s another:

  1. Lock the car manually by getting in and out of your car.
  2. Insist your key in the ignition, and then pull it out six times in a maximum time of 10 seconds.

  3. This method will make your car’s exterior and interior lights blink.
  4. Turn the ignition to the accessory position by inserting your key.
  5. One button can be pressed on the remote.
  6. The hazard lights will go on if the procedure goes well.
  7. Now your key fob can be used.

Some require special equipment, while others can be done in other ways. You may need to contact your dealer or independent shop with experience in your specific make and model.

You will need to verify that your aftermarket car security system includes remote-controlled doors and a car alarm.

Replacing a broken car key remote

There is always the possibility that your car’s receiver is damaged or not working properly. You will need to have your vehicle checked by a professional.

You can also buy a replacement remote from your dealer, or you can purchase one used. You will need to reprogram the vehicle to recognize a used remote before your doors will unlock and lock. Keep this in mind if your car has a remote control that you can’t reprogram at home.

Although used car key remotes can be cheaper than new ones but programming costs may be higher, they are still more affordable than new ones.

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