Key FOB Failure? Check the Battery

Most of us have come to rely on our key FOB (Frequency Operated Button) to get on the road each day. It’s never a good time to be unable to enter or start your car, but cold winter temps might be the worst. Depending on the make, model, and year of your car, you may have keyless entry or a push button start.

If you miss the low FOB battery notifications on your dashboard or there’s another issue at play, you’ll want to know what to do when your key FOB fails you. The battery is the most common culprit, and one that’s usually easy to fix. Identify the battery your car’s key FOB uses and keep one in your wallet or in a regularly used purse or coat. A key FOB left it in the car, or even on a hook near the car, can continue to communicate with your car, which could drain the battery.

No time to replace the battery? Many drivers aren’t aware that many FOBs actually have a physical key blade tucked inside that can manually unlock the car doors if needed.

A key FOB with a low battery may not be recognized by the vehicle and may therefore hinder your ability to use a push start button to turn on your car. You can try holding the key right up to the button and attempt to start the car again. Some push-button ignition systems may also have a place, generally located between the steering wheel and the infotainment system, where you can insert the physical key and allow you to start the vehicle.

If a new battery or back up FOB doesn’t do the trick, and you can’t manually start your car, there may be a more serious problem. Your car battery may have died, the car key remote transmitter or receiver may be damaged, or there may be a larger issue with your car.  Try some of these steps if you are unable to start your car using a key FOB:

  1. Check and replace the key FOB battery.
  2. Verify that the key FOB in inoperable by using a backup key FOB.
  3. Following manufacturer’s instructions, reprogram your key FOB yourself or have a professional do it.
  4. Have a dealer check the key FOB and purchase a replacement key FOB if necessary.

CED’s engineers are experienced with investigating product failures and battery malfunctions. We could be the key to helping you understand your next case.