Dodge Ram Key Fob Not Working – What’s Wrong?

The Dodge Ram key fob has a host of convenient functions at your fingertips, and if it doesn't work, the situation can get frustrating. So what could be wrong? We've gathered the information here to help you understand.

Like many other key fobs, a Dodge Ram's key fob may stop working for several reasons. These include:

  1. Low or dead key fob battery
  2. Key fob needs resetting or reprogramming
  3. Key fob might be dirty or wet
  4. Buttons or contact points on the fob may be worn
  5. Dodge Ram's locks might be damaged
  6. Fuse box problems
  7. Dodge Ram's battery might be discharged
  8. RKE module problems

Does the list seem daunting? Many of the items here are simpler than they sound. In this guide, we'll help you understand each possible reason as well as give you tips on how to fix the problem.

Dodge Ram 2500 on a mountain road, Dodge Ram Key Fob Not Working - What's Wrong?

Common Reasons Why A Dodge Ram Key Fob Doesn't Work

We can group the common reasons for key fob failure into two categories, namely (1) the key fob and (2) the vehicle itself.

Key Fob Problems

Discharged Or Dead Key Fob Batteries

If some of the key fob features are working while others are not, then the battery might be due for replacement. 

Wireless car key on the wooden table

The Dodge Ram can come with two key fobs: either the standard rectangular fob or the unique Frequency-Operated Button Ignition Key (FOBIK) fob. The standard fob uses the CR2450 coin battery, while the FOBIK uses the smaller CR2302 battery.  

The image below is an example of the rectangular Dodge Ram key fob.

This next image is that of the FOBIK version.

Changing key fob batteries is usually relatively easy, and you will only need the appropriate battery, screwdriver, and a little dexterity. Nevertheless, checking your Dodge Ram's manual for step-by-step instructions won't hurt either.

Discharged Car Battery 

The booster cables and discharged battery, cold winter day

If the key fob's battery is working fine, it's also important to check if your Dodge Ram's car battery is working as well. Your car can only perform the key fob's commands properly if its battery has a sufficient electrical charge.

If you have a multimeter, you can test your battery's charge. If the engine is off, fully charged batteries should have 12.6 volts or slightly more. However, if the engine is running, this value should be between 13.7 and 14.7 volts.

Check out this digital multimeter on Amazon.

Fob Needs Resetting Or Reprogramming

Many modern key fobs require resetting or reprogramming after battery replacement. Fortunately, reprogramming Dodge Ram key fobs is quite easy.

Here are the steps for reprogramming the rectangular key fob.

  1. Get in your Dodge Ram with the key fob and close all the doors.
  2. Without stepping on the brakes, push the engine start button until it is in "Run" mode.
  3. Once the chimes in your truck stop, press and hold the "Unlock" button on your key fob for 10 seconds before releasing.
  4. In a fluid sequence, release the "Unlock" button, then press and release the "Panic" key.
  5. Once a chime goes off, press the button(s) that you need to reprogram.
  6. Turn your ignition off to end the programming mode.
  7. Exit your Dodge Ram, close all doors, and test your key fob.

Next, here are the steps for reprogramming the FOBIK key fob.  You will need one working FOBIK (usually your original spare key) and another FOBIK that you want to program.

  1. Get in your Dodge Ram's driver's seat with both key fobs and close all the doors.
  2. Insert the working FOBIK into the Wireless Ignition Node (WIN) and turn the key to the "ON" position.  Don't start the engine.
  3. Once the chimes in your truck stop, press and hold the "Unlock" button on your key fob for 10 seconds before releasing.
  4. In a fluid sequence, release the "Unlock" button, then press and release the "Panic" key.
  5. Once a chime goes off, press the button(s) on the second FOBIK  that you need to reprogram.
  6. Turn your ignition off to end the programming mode.
  7. Exit your Dodge Ram, close all doors, and test your newly-reprogrammed key fob.

If these steps don't work, then you may want to consult your owner's manual or go to your dealer for car servicing.

Dirt and/or Moisture

Damaged car key fob on aluminium background locksmith service

Dirt and moisture can accumulate inside your key fob. If you accidentally got your key fob wet, then the key fob may work erratically or stop working completely.

You can try disassembling your key fob to clean any dirt and moisture inside using an electronics cleaning kit.

Check out this electronics cleaning kit on Amazon.

Physical Damage

Remote key fob of any vehicle

Key fobs can get a significant amount of abuse from regular use. Apart from the regular button presses, key fobs go through wear and tear as they get squeezed into pockets and bags or dropped from time to time.  

Disassemble your key fob and check for physical damage like cracked buttons, dislodged contact points, worn rubber buttons, or disconnected battery terminals. You may try using adhesives for the plastics, solder for the metals, and some cleaning and flexing for the rubber parts.

If these DIY repair tips can fix the problem, that's great!

However, there are some key fob components that may not be repaired easily or not at all.  These are:

  • The active RFID transmitter - transmits the key fob's button commands to your Dodge Ram's receiver. This transmitter draws power from the fob's battery.
  • The passive RFID chip - allows your Dodge Ram to recognize your key fob for ignition or engine start. This chip does not need battery power.

If the RFID components are damaged, then you may need to buy a new key fob.

Dodge Ram Problems

Modified Dodge Ram 2500 with huge lug tires

Now that we've covered the most common causes with the physical key fob, let's take a look at the recipient of the fob commands - your Dodge Ram.

Damaged Car Locks

If you are trying but failing to lock or unlock your door remotely with your key fob, it might be possible that your key fob is functional, but your car's door locks are damaged. To confirm this, try the following tests:

  • Can the mechanical key lock or unlock the door you are trying to open remotely?  If yes, then either your car lock's actuators are not working properly, or your key fob is not working.  Use the next test to confirm.
  • Are the physical door locks slightly moving but not engaging or disengaging completely?  If they are moving even a little, then your key fob is working.
  • Can your key fob unlock some but not all of the doors?  If yes, then your key fob is working but some of your door locks are malfunctioning.
  • Are the turning or indicator lights blinking in the correct response pattern to the remote locking and unlocking commands?  If yes, then your key fob is working, and you need to check your locks.  If the blinking pattern is incorrect, then you may need to reset your key fob.

Dodge Ram TIPM Problems

The Dodge Ram's fuse box, which is called the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM), is the theoretical gatekeeper between your key fob and your Dodge Ram's remote keyless entry (RKE) module. Below are some things that can cause the TIPM to malfunction.  

  • The TIPM is dirty or partially corroded
  • A fuse or relay might be busted
  • The TIPM may be shorted

While some more experienced car enthusiasts can clean the TIPM, replace blown fuses, and switch out burnt relays, many regular drivers may need professional assistance to fix the TIPM problems.

Dodge Ram RKE Problems

As with any remote-controlled system, the Dodge Ram's remote system needs two main components, and these are as follows.

  • A transmitter for the commands - this is your key fob
  • A receiver  - this is the RKE module in your Dodge Ram 

Although its name only pertains to keyless entry, the RKE module is in charge of performing all the commands that the key fob sends remotely.  Your key fob might be working fine, but if your RKE is malfunctioning, your key fob's commands will still not get through.

As with the TIPM, not many car owners can diagnose, fix, or replace their RKEs. You may need to go to the dealer for servicing.  

Opening And Starting Up the Dodge Ram With A Dead Key Fob

If you need to drive your Dodge Ram to the dealership for servicing, you're probably wondering how you will do so when your key fob is not working. If your passive RFID chip is still working, then you don't have to worry because you can still drive your Ram.

First, you need to get inside your vehicle by using the mechanical key from inside the key fob.  Then comes the exciting part, which is starting up.

Starting Up With The Rectangular Key Fob

  1. Get in the driver's seat of your Dodge Ram; make sure to bring your key fob.
  2. Press the bottom end (near the "lock" and "unlock" buttons) of your key fob against the "Start/Stop" button of your engine. This will allow your car to recognize your key fob, even if the fob has no battery.
  3. Step and push on the brake pedal and push on the "Start/Stop" button with your key fob to start the engine.

Starting Up With The FOBIK

Dodge RAM Rebel Dashboard

Get in the driver's seat of your Dodge Ram, insert your FOBIK key in the ignition, and start the car as you normally would. Your FOBIK key does not need a battery for ignition.

Wrapping Up

A Dodge Ram's key fob may stop working because of mechanical or electrical problems either in the key fob itself or with the vehicle. We hope that we were able to help you diagnose these problems and find solutions.

If you would like to learn more about the Dodge Ram or car key fobs, do check out these great articles.

Car Key Fob Not Working – What Could Be Wrong and How to Fix It

Ram 1500 Big Horn Vs. Tradesman – Which Is Right For You?

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