Why Does My Car Key Fob Not Work? (and How to Fix It)

There is going to be a point in time where the key fob of a vehicle will have issues functioning. Whether the issue is unlocking the door from a lockout, locking the door for security reasons, or starting the vehicle with the electronic push-to-start button, the issue will come at an inconvenient time.

Often, technology comes in handy; however, what happens when the technology is malfunctioning? There are a few different possibilities on why the electronic keys will not function promptly. Listed below are some reasons that the key fob for the vehicle will not work properly.

The most common reason why a key fob will not work is due to a dead battery. If the problem is not fixed with a new replacement battery, a more complex issue might be present. These include a broken remote, a remote not paired to the vehicle, a low vehicle battery, or a damaged keyless operation system.

Key Fob Not Working After Replacing The Battery

After replacing the battery, the vehicle’s key fob is still having issues functioning the vehicle. The steps to take are simple. First, the driver should locate a spare key. The majority of the time, a vehicle should have two keys (and always will have two keys when the vehicle is purchased brand new from the factory).

Second, it is in the driver’s best interest to review the owner’s manual about a potential solution to start the vehicle. The manual will state ways to get around this issue, like pushing the button with the key itself. Also, the vehicle can be equipped with a key slot around the steering wheel. This allows the key to manually activate the vehicle (and sometimes even charging the key fob).

Third, try to warm the key fob gently. If the weather is cold, the key fob’s electronics can go haywire. To activate the battery and the electronics inside the key fob, warmer temperatures will allow for a better chance of a startup.

Can You Reset / Reprogram A Key Fob?

Luckily for the driver, if the solutions stated above do not work, resetting a key fob takes seconds out of the day. Most companies follow the steps listed below, but it is best to check out the owner’s manual and the vehicle’s forums to ensure the process is done correctly. Each vehicle is different, resulting in a possible different process.

The first step is to get inside the vehicle with the correct key fob (with both the physical ignition key and the remote) and close all the doors.

The second step is to press the vehicle’s “on” button (but not fully starting the vehicle) and the “lock” button on the key.

Then, the third step is to repeat step two a total of four times while ending with the vehicle in the “on” position. Step four is to pause to hear the vehicle lock. This means that the vehicle is in the key fob programming mode.

Within five seconds of hearing the vehicle lock, click the “lock” button on the remote. If done successfully, the car will cycle through the locks.

The last step is to press “lock” on any spare keys that need to be programmed within a ten-second interval of engaging the programmer’s mode. To test the vehicle’s remote, cycle through the key fob’s buttons.

Key Fob Will Unlock But Will Not Start The Car

If the vehicle’s key fob will unlock and lock the vehicle but will not start the vehicle, this could be a couple of issues. First, try to replace the key fob’s batteries. The batteries within the key are the most common issues, and symptoms can include a partially working key fob or a key fob that does not function at all. There could also be an issue with the vehicle’s battery.

If this is the situation, consider getting a jump start from another vehicle to help with the battery issue. If the vehicle battery isn’t the culprit, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check the vehicle’s starter.

Many of the issues regarding the startup of a vehicle tend to point to the vehicle’s starter. To diagnose this issue, try clicking the vehicle’s “on” button. Is there a ‘click’ under the floor or the hood? If there isn’t a ‘click’, then the starter is dead.

If there is a click, then take the vehicle to a mechanic. There is a possibility that the vehicle may have an issue with the electrical system. The mechanic can also check to see if any engine codes arise. This could be the reason why the vehicle isn’t starting.

Can A Locksmith Program a Key Fob?

An automobile locksmith can do anything by replacing the key fob. The locksmith can replace it with a new one (both factory and aftermarket) and reprogram it to connect with the vehicle. The problem with the locksmith is the cost of the job.

The average cost of an automotive locksmith is around $250 (which is before the cost of traveling to the vehicle’s location and the cost of taxes). This is why it is really more economical to do the programming independently.

Most of the time, the forums are handy with reprogramming the key fobs; however, not all vehicles can independently pair the key fob with the vehicle.

Final Thoughts

While the key fob issue at hand is frustrating, the fix is most likely quick and easy. Following the steps to ensure that the key fob is properly working are straight forward. The only time the vehicle should be taken to a specialist is if the steps above are too difficult or if the vehicle is not starting after these indicated steps. Good luck!

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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