Your Key Fob Does not Work? Here Are the 4 Reasons Why It May Happen

A car key fob is a handy piece of electronic equipment that brings the car owner’s convenience to the next level and dramatically improves automotive security. However, its usefulness makes it all the more frustrating when a fob breaks down. When something is wrong with your key fob, it is in your best interests to solve the problem as soon as possible. Fortunately, the absolute majority of fob malfunctions are limited to just a few common reasons. We list them for you here, so that the next time you run into trouble, you can easily identify what exactly is wrong.

Physical damage

As most of us continuously carry them around in pockets with lots of other stuff, casually throw on tables, drop on pavements and subject them to other indignities, it is hardly surprising that key fobs can get physically damaged in the process. Of course, manufacturers know all this and design them so that they are able to sustain a lot of punishment but, nevertheless, things do break down occasionally. The most obvious telltale sign of physical damage is the presence of any broken pieces inside the fob (you will have to take it apart to check). However, even if everything seems to be alright, it does not exclude this possibility, as a fob’s electronic stuffing is sensitive enough and can be damaged even if visibly everything is alright.

Receiver or transmitter do not work

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Key fobs work by an exchange of signals between the fob’s transmitter and the car’s receiver. If the fob’s transmitter is damaged, it will no longer be able to communicate with the car’s receiver. The car’s receiver can get damaged as well – you have to rule this possibility out before trying to fix the fob. You can easily do it by using a spare fob – if it does not work as well, the problem lies with the car, not with the remote. Anyway, if either the receiver or transmitter breaks down, you are unlikely to be able to fix them, as they are quite complex devices that require significant knowledge to repair. It is a better idea to buy a replacement or consult an automotive locksmith.

The battery is dead

Probably the most common situation. Car key fobs usually work for about 3 years before they need their batteries to be replaced, but deviations from this rule do happen, especially if you use the device a lot and often. As key fobs can work using the same battery for long periods, drivers often get complacent and forget that their battery will run out sooner or later. Some symptoms of a dying battery include a decreased range of the fob and inconsistent work that requires multiple clicks before the door opens or closes. If you noticed your fob behaving this way, a dead battery is the most likely diagnosis. You can read how to find and replace a battery on

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The fob is not programmed properly

Car fobs work in pair with car receivers – i.e., each fob only communicates to a single receiver. If they are not programmed to work together, you will not be able to use them. It is a common problem for the buyers of second-hand cars, which is why it is so important to check if everything works properly before finalizing the transaction – it is yet another danger of buying aftermarket electronic car keys.

Sometimes programming can malfunction, and you will not be able to get into a car although everything worked just the day before. In this case, you may need to reprogram the fob – one can relatively easily do it at home.

As you can see, if something goes wrong with your car fob, there are not so many potential causes to consider. Check your problem for these four situations, and you cover 95 percent of what can go wrong with this device. There is no need to run to a specialist immediately after you discover that it does not work properly – chances are, you can resolve the issue on your own with relative ease. However, one thing is for sure – it is best always to keep a spare remote in case the main one breaks down.

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