Burlington Auto Repair

Keyless FOB battery - the heart of the matter

Unlock the Door With a Dead Fob

OK, put that rock down you picked up while you considered breaking the window.  Before we get too far, do you have OnStar or another similar service for your vehicle?  If so, call that service and they will unlock your car remotely.  If you don’t, try holding your dead fob up against the driver’s door handle and pulling.  Try pressing the fob unlock icon while pulling the handle.  If that fails, look closely at the fob.  If it has a leather jacket on it, remove that.  Almost all automakers hide a small mechanical key inside the fob.  There is usually a small lever or trick to getting that little key to pop out.  If you can expose the little mechanical key, you can then insert it into the lock opening in the driver’s door, and you’re in.  If by chance you have a Ford product remember that many of those models also have a strip of numbers that allow you to input a code and unlock the car.  If what we have suggested does not work, call your dealership.  If they are closed, try searching for your owner’s manual on your smart phone.  Good luck.  They are usually PDF files and hard to navigate on a small screen.   If you happen to be near a Radio Shack, pharmacy, hardware store, or supermarket one option is to go find a replacement battery.  You will have to open up the fob.  Most have a small detent where you insert a coin or screwdriver to open them like a clamshell.  The battery will look like a little silver button, and the type you need is written on your fob’s old battery in a stencil.  As a last resort, local police or locksmiths can almost always get you into the car.


How To Start a Car With a Dead Key Fob

OK, you got in.  It’s going to be OK.  Automakers know that your keyless ignition may need to work if the fob dies.  Put your foot on the brake first.  Simply hold the dead fob up to the start button of your car and push the start button.  If that did not work, look on the steering column.  There might be a key slot.  Use the same key you used to enter the car in that slot like in the old days.  Failing that, hold the fob to that area and touch the start button.  Some cars use to have hybrid keyless ignition.  They had a plastic thing you turned in the area that a key use to go in.  If you have that kind of car (Mazda for example), that plastic cap can come off.  Try a gentle pull.  It should expose a key slot.  Use the mechanical key.  Just in case you are a kid and never started a car the old way, you put the key in while having your foot on the brake.  Turn the key clockwise and let go after you hear the car start.  If the key does not seem to go in normally don’t force it.  You may have a valet key, and you don’t want that stuck inside the ignition.

If these suggestions worked for you that's great!  The best cure is an ounce of prevention.  Any good auto service centre should check your FOB battery at no additional charge with your regular oil change.  If you're not sure - ask for it.