How to Fix Your Remote Car Key
New technologies improve our lives. However, these improvements almost always come at a cost. Cable television gave us many more channels, but our TV viewing was no longer free. And, our electronic car keys are no exception to this rule. They offer many conveniences we really enjoy. Isn’t it nice to have doors that unlock themselves when your hands are full? And, it’s heaven to start your car from inside your home on a cold winter day! So, what’s the cost? The key will eventually malfunction. These electronic keys are expensive to replace, so you may want to try to repair your broken car key instead.
Steps to Repair Your Broken Car Key
Confirm the Key is the Problem
The first thing you want to do is make sure the problem really is a broken car key. Maybe the key is fine, but the receiver inside the car is damaged. The easiest way to do this is to use another remote key. If the second key operates the locks and other functions, then the Problem is with the first key. If the second key also doesn’t work, then the problem may be with the car itself, and not the remote key, at all. Also, check to see if any of the buttons work. If none of them do, then the problem is probably the battery. If some buttons work, but others don’t, then the problem is probably with the switches themselves.
Change the Battery
A dead battery is the most common reason for a car key that doesn’t work. To change the battery, you will have to open the key fob and remove the bad battery. Be careful when you open it, because if the problem is loose contacts, these very small parts can fall out and be difficult to find! The battery is a flat silver disc. Remove it and look at the code. An example of a battery code is CR2025. Make sure you buy a new battery with the exact same code. Install the new battery. If the key works again, then the problem is solved. If not, you’ll need to look further.
Check the Button Contacts
Sometimes, a broken car key is caused by buttons that wear down inside the key fob. The buttons are rubbery, but inside, there is an electricity-conducting material that can wear away. One way to fix this is by placing tiny pieces of aluminum foil inside the buttons. This pads the area inside the worn buttons with metal, which conducts electricity, and may restore contact between the buttons and the circuit board. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then the actual switches inside the key may have come loose.
Check the Inside SMT Switches
This is why we said earlier to be careful when opening up the fob. If there is a loose switch inside, you want to have it to reattach it in place. If you lose the switch, you can go online to find an SMT switch that will work. Look for one that matches the other switches on your circuit board. This will require a soldering iron and solder, so it helps if you are comfortable with the soldering process. Once you have soldered the switch properly in place, the button should work again.
Replace the Key
If worse comes to worst, and you have changed the battery, confirmed that the buttons are in good shape, and determined that all your switches are in place, you may have to replace the key. It happens! If that’s the case, the best place to get a car key replacement is an automotive locksmith, not the dealer. There are several reasons to choose an automotive locksmith instead of a dealer:
- It’s a locksmith’s business. Automotive locksmiths do this for a living. They replace car keys every day, so they have the replacement keys in stock, and they are experts at cutting and programming them.
- Automotive locksmiths come to you. Your automotive locksmith will arrive at your location within 15 to 30 minutes. They can cut and program your new key right there, and have your back on the road again soon after. By contrast, your car dealer will need you to come to the dealership. This may require you to tow your car there, costing additional time and money, because the dealer needs the car to be present in order to program your new key.
- Automotive locksmiths are less expensive. Because this is our business, we can usually charge you less to cut and program your new key than the dealer. Dealers make deals on car sales, but use situations like this to charge premium prices.