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Why Is My Harley Davidson Not Recognizing The Key Fob?

Failure of gadgets is not an exception for motorcycles, and owners of Harley Davidsons know this. Sometimes motorbike owners, much to their dismay, realize that their bikes don't recognize the key fob. After a lengthy investigation, we discovered the causes and solutions to this issue.

A key fob, in most cases, won't respond to a Harley-Davidson when the battery is dead. Another possible cause might be a wrong frequency or signal interference on the key fob.

Do these seem like trivial possibilities? Well, read on as they detail why these are the leading cause of key fob failure.

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Man walking towards harley davidson bike with branded keys, Why Is My Harley Davidson Not Recognizing The Key Fob

Key Fob Not Responding To My Harley-Davidson: Why?

Harley-Davidson owners enjoy the keyless operation of their bikes, and sometimes they forget that the key fob needs attention. The key fob operates on a battery that, over time, runs out. Although it can last long, most bike owners remember this once they are stuck in odd places.

Another issue could be that white noise interferes with your key fob's frequency. Signals might fail, but you can solve the problem if the key fob has frequency hopping. The hopping allows the key fob to use another frequency to start your bike if the others are not working.

What Type Of Battery Does A Key Fob Use?

Harley Davidsons use a standard cell battery similar to other gadgets. When replacing your key fob's battery, you'll need to know which type works. 

You can open the key fob and look at the digits on the cell battery. However, Harley Davidson's key fobs use a CR2032 cell battery. Your user manual has the number indicated there, also.

Alternatively, approach any dealership for assistance in replacing the battery for a nominal fee.

Click here to buy these cell batteries on Amazon.

How Long Do Key Fob Batteries Last?

According to manufacturers, Harley's key fob battery should last one to four years. It might seem far-fetched, but advent riders can attest that it lasts long enough for them to forget to replace it on time. Generally, the key fob will last three years without requiring a replacement.

How To Replace A Key Fob Battey

Don't you love when you can do seemingly impossible tasks yourself? It is the case of changing a key fob battery. You should:

  1. Using the tabs, open the key fob with a flathead screwdriver or a coin.
  2. Once you uncover it, you'll see a transmitter chip and the battery; remove it.
  3. Pop the new one in with the plus side facing down. It is also indicated on the key fob.
  4. Close it by pressing it until you hear a pop sound. 

It's as simple as that. But for those who prefer a visual, watch the following video.

Can You Use Another Battery Type In A Key Fob?

A different battery might work in a Harley Davidson key fob. But, more often than not, the battery, other than a CR2032, won't work.

The other battery might be thinner or smaller than the one meant for the key fob. It won't make contact, and no signal will come from the key fob to the bike.

Why Do Key Fobs Have Frequencies?

Frequencies are used as a security measure for your lovely toy. The frequency secures your bike, and lights start flashing if you move it without deactivating the alarm with a key fob or PIN.

Depending on your Harley Davidson, the flashing lights might be accompanied by a siren to alert the owner. Although the technology isn't new, it remains a mystery to many bike users.

For more details, read this post. Why Does My Harley Davidson Say Enter Pin? What To do?

What To Do If You Lose Or Misplace A Harley Davidson's Key Fob?

 Harley Davidson Break Out 114 2020 is parked outdoor in Ho Chi Minh city. Milwaukee-Eight large V2 engine. Landmark 81 and Bitexco tower in blur background

Manufacturers ensure that they provide two key fobs for each bike in case one gets lost. Only two keys are allocated to any bike using an electronic program.

If you lose both keys, you must request a dealership to provide you with new ones. The new keys will have a unique number to replace the old ones. Bikers usually get the new key fobs in three or so weeks.

Are Harley Davidson's Key Fobs Expensive?

Harley Davidson's key fobs are relatively expensive. The cost of replacing a key fob depends on the year your bike was manufactured. However, expect to pay about $40 for two key fobs.

The cost includes a new battery and new key fobs. You will have to pay about $100 to code the key fobs to the bike. You can purchase the key fobs from a dealer or other key-cutting places. But don't compromise the security of your bike. 

Can You Program A Harley Davidson's Key Fob Yourself?

Harley Davidson motorcycle stands on a street. Harley Davidson

If you aren't the type to be intimidated by extraordinary tasks, then with proper instructions, you can program your key fob. Programming your key fob will let you bond with and secure your favorite toy. 

Here's a simple guide on what to do:

  1. Start by turning off the bike.
  2. Turn the ignition key on and off severally.
  3. Press the turn left signal twice, and your bike's lights should blink. The number of times they blink depends on each motorbike.
  4. Press and release the right signal once. Repeat with the left turn signal. At this point, the bike's lights should flash.
  5. Press and hold the key fob until your bike flashes its lights at least twice. The key fob should be on when doing this.
  6. Remove the key after turning it off. You've successfully synchronized the key fob and the motorbike.

Remember, you should do all these maneuvers with less than ten-second pauses to work.

Does Changing A Key Fob Battery Reprogram It?

Heap of lithium button cell batteries. Closeup with shallow DOF , Why Is My Harley Davidson Not Recognizing The Key Fob

After replacing the battery, you don't have to reprogram Harley's key fob. Though if your bike doesn't start after replacing the battery, you will have to ask a professional to check it. The key fob might need to be reprogrammed. Alternatively, the bike might need a new key fob if the old one is damaged.

Can You Start A Harley Davidson Without A Key Fob?

You can bypass the key fob and alarm system by turning the ignition key on your motorbike, using the PIN, and a few other maneuvers. Ensure that your PIN is not available for anyone to find.

This knowledge will help start your bike if you are far from a dealership. Therefore, these are the steps you need to follow: 

  1. Turn your ignition key. Hold the left and right signals till you see dashes on the odometer.
  2. Use the left signal to pick the PIN digits and the right one to move from one digit to the next.
  3. Finally, press the right signal once to complete the maneuver. Now your security system is off, and you can ride your bike.

You can use this method if your key fob battery is dead. For a detailed demonstration, watch this video.

Is There A required Distance For A Key Fob To Work?

Any gadget that works with frequency has a required minimum distance for you to get a response. The ideal distance for your Harley's key fob to work is about one and a half meters or five feet. The distance is measured from the bike's center to the location of the key fob.

At this range, your motorbike is vulnerable because the security system is disarmed. Ensure you have your key fob when attending to the bike.

Can You Use Old Key Fobs For A New Harley Davidson?

Man walking towards harley davidson bike with branded keys, Why Is My Harley Davidson Not Recognizing The Key Fob

No, you cannot. Due to different alarm system configurations and designs, old key fobs won't work on a new Harley. The old key fobs can only serve as mementos, or you could resell them online for a symbolical token.

Will A Wet Harley Key Fob Work Properly?

To err is human; you could get your key fob wet by accident. Once your Harley key fob gets wet, you must dry it immediately. Drying will help avoid battery failure, corrosion, or permanent damage to the electrical components in it.

There is no guarantee that the key fob will work correctly after the trials and tribulations of the washer, swimming pool, or puddle. You will find this out only after quickly drying it, opening it to check for water inside, and the battery. 

The key fob might work if the water didn't have time to wreak havoc. But, you might realize with time that it has voltage spikes or battery failure. You might resolve to purchase a new key fob for your Harley Davidson if you can't rescue the one you have.

Check out this leather key fob on Amazon.

In Closing

Don't rush to write off your Harley Davidson's key fob if it isn't responding. First, check to see if the battery is new and correctly positioned. If all is well in that department, you might find that white noise or other frequencies are interfering with your bike, causing the key fob not to respond.

Once you resolve the key fob issues, ensure that the security of your Harley Davidson isn't compromised. If necessary, reprogram your key fob or seek help from a dealership.

Here are some more posts on America's favorite ride.

Why Does My Harley Davidson Alarm Keep Going Off?

Why Won't My Harley Davidson Start When Hot?