8 Reasons Why Your Car Key Fob Is Not Working

Fatima Buzdar

September 25, 2022

A locksmith wearing a high-visibility vest and a blue long-sleeved shirt is seen unlocking a white vehicle's door with a remote key. Only the person's hands and part of the upper body are visible. The car is parked outdoors.

Automotive key fobs are steadily taking over the place of traditional mechanical keys in most modern vehicles. This is not surprising with the technological and security advancements and convenient perks they offer. However, this does not mean they are not immune to inevitable issues that can greatly disrupt your day-to-day schedule – that is, refusing to unlock your car and leaving you in a frenzy.

There may be various reasons behind why your key fob is not working. The troubleshooting may either require repairing or replacement, or it may even require repairing or replacing the car lock. An expert automotive locksmith’s key fob repair and replacement services may be the best option in many cases compared to the alternatives like DIY or a dealership.

Common Issues That Cause the Car Key Remote to Not Work

There are various reasons your key fob may stop working, ranging from simple to complex. Here are 8 common reasons.

1. Erased Programming Data

The programming data of a car key fob is an essential aspect of the keyless entry system, as it facilitates the access of the key fob to the car. If the programming data is lost, then the key fob stops functioning. Reprogramming the key fob should bring its data back to working properly. 

Certain key fobs allow you to reprogram them on your own. In order to do so, you may refer to the owner’s manual and see if your key fob is self-programmable and how so. However, certain key fobs are not self-programmable. In order to reprogram such key fobs, you would have to seek an automotive locksmith’s services to reprogram the key fob. 

2. Worn Out Key Fob Buttons

The key fob buttons relay the signal to the car circuit board for the respective action. If buttons are showing physical signs of being worn out, then the issue may be stemming from them. The signs would include loose or stuck buttons or damaged plastic covering. You will need to replace your key fob in this case.

3. Damaged Battery Connector Terminals

The battery connector terminals utilize the battery to power the key fob. If these suffer some damage, then the key fob would not be able to function due to the lack of power. To inspect for this issue, the key fob would need to be disassembled and inspected for the signs of broken or loose components. Any malfunctioning components would have to be replaced or repaired.

Obviously this is a complex procedure beyond a layman’s capability and tools. It is best to leave this to an experienced locksmith who knows how to navigate this method of troubleshooting and has access to replacement parts if needed.

4. Dirty Contacts on the Circuit Board

The contacts located inside the key fob read the signals sent by pressing the buttons and relay them ahead as needed. Just as about anything, they need to be clean to operate properly. Any debris or other build-up can disrupt that process and in turn prevent the signals which would cause the key fob to stop working.

In this case as well, the key fob would need to be disassembled and have its contact board cleaned. The procedure may range from easy to challenging. A locksmith can clean up the circuit board for you while ensuring that no mistake damages the circuit board further.

5. Broken Circuit Board

Alternatively, the circuit board may be damaged. It may be due to the components wearing down, getting broken or damaged. This would likely require the circuit board to be replaced entirely.

6. Malfunctioning Car Door Lock

The problem may lie in the lock system rather than the key fob itself. There may be an underlying issue with the car lock mechanism that prevents it from unlocking. There can be various reasons behind this issue and these are best left to locksmiths to diagnose and resolve, which may involve either repairing or replacing the lock.

If your key fob comes with an emergency physical key, then this issue can be quickly tested for. If even the mechanical key does not unlock the door, then the problem most likely lies within the lock.

7. Depleted Battery

Key fobs not working due to a dead or low battery is a common problem. Key fob batteries have a lifespan as long as 2-4 years. If you have had the same battery since around that long, then it is likely due to a low or dead battery, and you need to replace the battery. Even if that long period has not passed, it is best to try changing the batteries to ensure the problem is not as simple as this before removing on to other troubleshooting means.

8. Electrical Issues

It is also entirely possible that the issue does not lie in the car lock or key fob at all. The car electrical system may be defective due to a wiring issue. This may be the case if it is not just the key fob not working but also other car features like lights, horns, etc. not working properly. This kind of case is best left to the car mechanic to repair the wiring system, as it is not an issue with the key fob or the car lock.

Why Hire a Locksmith to Replace or Repair Your Car Key Fob?

An automotive locksmith can provide key fob repair or replacement services without the downsides that may come with a dealership or DIY methods to fix the problem.

Advantage of Hiring a Locksmith to Repair Your Key Fob

For key fob repair, you might consider a dealership’s services. However, you may be well-aware that dealerships tend to charge a hefty amount for their service. On the other hand, locksmiths tend to charge much cheaper compared to the dealerships for the same tasks.

Locksmiths are not capable of just helping you with the headaches of mechanical lock systems, but also the keyless entry systems. There may be some cases that locksmiths can not help with due to the restrictions from the manufacturers, but it is best to confirm that is the case before turning to a dealership.

Alternatively, your other consideration may be to solve the issue yourself. While there are simple issues like battery replacement that can be within your capabilities, the more complex issues may be beyond your capability. In that case, it is best to not take it on your own. It may end up being a waste of your time or even worsening the issue.

All in all, if the issue looks complicated to troubleshoot, then it is best to seek the services of an automotive locksmith. Automotive locksmiths are equipped with tools and expertise to promptly solve the issue without causing further damage and more affordably so than a dealership.

Advantage of Hiring a Locksmith to Replace Your Key Fob

You should never turn to buying cheap key fob replacements online. If your key fob does not come from a reputable source and it has faulty mechanisms, then it can make the security of your vehicle vulnerable. Additionally, you may end up buying the wrong key fob as choosing the right one can be an intricate process.

A dealership can provide a reliable solution to this. However, this can cost you a lot. An automotive locksmith can provide and program the right key fob for you at a much smaller cost scale. You should make sure that the locksmith is reputable and can be trusted to do the task.

How to Start the Car When the Key Fob Is Dead?

Before you can get to calling a locksmith, you might need to start your car, especially if you are out. Fortunately, there are various ways that can help you prevent getting stranded and allow you to start the vehicle. For example, many key fobs come with a mechanical key kept within them. It is a handy backup measure that can be utilized in the case of a key fob failure, so that you do not get stuck with a car that won’t unlock or ignite.

The mechanical key can be brought out by pressing a small button. Then you can unlock the car door by inserting the key into the key slot. In some cases, the key slot may be out of view due to being located behind the handle cover.

Once you are inside the vehicle, there may also be ways to start the engine without a functioning key fob. For example, many vehicles have a hidden key slot that you can insert your key into. It may be located inside the cup holder, steering column, etc.

Alternatively, there may be the option of remote unlocking and engine ignition features provided by the car manufacturers in some cases. 

Why You Should Keep a Backup Key Fob

Even if your key fob comes with an emergency mechanical key, it is extremely useful to keep a spare key fob. Not only can it save you from the annoyance of temporarily losing the convenience of a key fob, it can also save you from a big inconvenience should your key fob get lost.

Along with repairing and replacing your key fob, a locksmith can also duplicate the key fob. This service can give you extra peace of mind and prevent troublesome situations. A dealership can also provide an extra key fob to you, but that would cost you much higher than it would with a locksmith crafting you the extra key fob.

Resolve Your Key Fob Issues and Regain the Convenience of Your Key Fob Now

As aforementioned, there are various reasons behind why a key fob is not working. A key fob not working after a battery change or other simple solution can indicate issues that range from dirty components of a key fob to a malfunctioning car lock. Either way, this can be greatly disruptive to your daily life, especially if you do not have a backup key fob.

This is where our expert automotive locksmiths come in. Faster Locksmith has served Toronto with its excellent services for automotive locks for 5 years. Whether it is key fob repair or replacement, or car lock repair or replacement, we are ready to solve any key fob issues and help you regain the convenience of your keyless entry system. We can also provide and program a backup key fob for you, so that you do not get caught off guard with a sudden key fob failure. 

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.