Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


What to Do When Remote Controller Key Dies - Vol.145

Remote entry to cars as well as keyless driving is certainly convenient. But what happens when the battery to your keyless remote no longer works? As more car makers use remotes in place of keys, this is a very real problem that many drivers will eventually face. Following are ways to troubleshoot this particular situation.

Replace the Remote Battery
Obviously, this will likely be your initial response. It costs very little to buy a new battery and only a few minutes to replace the old battery with the new one. You just need to open the case of the remote, remove the old battery and insert the new battery. In most cases, this will satisfactorily address your problem. However, this becomes a bit more complicated when you do not have a physical key to your car in order to drive to the store for the replacement battery. You may need to try another option in this situation.

Recharge the Remote Battery
As long as you have a physical key, you can use this approach. Simply insert your key into the ignition switch and start your vehicle. The power from your vehicle will recharge the remote. You can even go for a short drive around your neighborhood. To fully recharge the remote battery, you will need to take a longer drive. If you have to recharge your battery frequently, it is recommended you simply replace the battery.

Reprogram the Remote
You may think the problem is your battery when in fact it is a problem with the programming in your remote – it no longer communicates properly with your vehicle. There are a few ways you can reprogram the remote. You can take your car and remote to an expert and have them reprogram the remote for you. Or you can try doing it yourself. Insert the key into the ignition switch of your car with the remote attached to the key. Quickly turn the key so your car is in "run" position and then back in "off". You want to do this about eight times within a 10 second period of time. After the eighth time, keep the car in the "run" position. Do not actually start your car during this process – you just want to sync your remote with your car. You should hear your locks at which point you want to hold down one of the buttons on the remote until you hear the locks click again. This process will reprogram the communication between your remote and the computer in your car.

Replace the Remote
After you have tried all of these steps and your remote still does not work, it probably needs to be replaced. You will need to visit a dealer that handles your type of vehicle so they can get you a new remote. To make sure there is not a more significant problem associated with your car's computer, schedule an appointment with your mechanic or a local car dealer that handles these types of issues.

Take Care of Remote
Remotes can be easily broken and the buttons can wear with excessive use. Make sure you protect the remote as much as possible to ensure it lasts. Do not press too hard on the buttons. This can often cause them to stop working which will result in you having to replace the remote. And avoid liquids around the remote.

Final Thoughts
If you still have your car manual, check it for troubleshooting tips. It is possible the manual will have specific instructions you can follow when you run into a problem with your keyless remote. There are also online resources you can use that provide instructions for reprogramming your remote. You need to use those that are specific to the make and model of your vehicle. More than likely, you can also find a copy of your car manual online which might prove helpful.