When Your Keyless Entry Doesn’t Work
While the key fob has really upped the convenience factor in today’s automobiles, where entry to a vehicle can be achieved with the push of a button, a broken keyless entry can make your car difficult if not impossible to use. Basically, in keyless entry technology, the key fob communicates with the locks in your car using radio wave signals and memory chips. When the button is pressed on the fob, it sends a code to the car with instructions as to what the car can do. With this level of sophistication, it’s not surprising that there are things that can go wrong with a key fob. Before bringing your vehicle in for repair, here are some things to try if your keyless entry is not working.
- Make Sure the Problem Is the Remote: Chances are that your car came with a backup keyless entry device or key fob, so be sure to try that backup one first to make sure that the problem is indeed associated with the non-working key. If the second/backup key fob doesn’t work, then the problem lies within the car itself. This can be due to a number of things, including a broken transmitter or memory card and faulty locking mechanisms (such as when door lock switches and motors burn out).
- Replace the Battery: Most automotive key fobs can simply be split open via a small slot on the side of the remote, and inside you will find a small coin battery. When a keyless entry device stops working, the first thing you should do is replace that battery, especially if that device is over a year old. The old battery will have a number on it that will indicate the battery size. If you are afraid of breaking the device, you can always bring it to a battery store and have them do it for you.
- Reprogram the Remote: A third common problem seen with car remotes involves loss of memory. This problem is especially seen when there has been a faulty battery in the device. Fortunately, reprograming the remote is a simple process. In most cases, all you need do is enter the vehicle with your key, close the doors, and reprogram the remote by inserting the key in the ignition. Don’t start the car but rather rapidly flip the key back and forth between the first and second settings until you hear a chime (similar to a door ajar signal). Press one of the remote buttons (this confirms the programming operation) and then wait for a second chime. Finally, remove the keys from the ignition, exit the vehicle and close and lock all doors, and wait around 20 seconds before trying the remote again to see if it works. Do keep in mind that the exact steps for programming a particular key fob will depend on the make, model, and year of the vehicle, so always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Replacing a broken or damaged key fob can be quite expensive, so it’s always best to try the above first or seek the help of an automotive locksmith. However, if nothing works, then check with your dealership about ordering a new one.