How To Start Chrysler Pacifica With An Emergency Key

You push the "engine start/stop" button on your Chrysler Pacifica, but it won't start. Then, you see the message flash across the dash panel, "key fob not detected." If you wonder what the key fob has to do with starting the vehicle, don't worry, we have found the answers. 

Chrysler Pacificas are equipped with a keyless, push-start ignition requiring detection of the key fob to start the van. Fortunately, if the vehicle cannot detect the key fob, you can still start the vehicle. Chrysler Pacifica has a "key" feature and an actual emergency key hidden within the key fob; just in case of an emergency, you can use either to start the van. 

Hopefully, you never have to use the emergency key functions, but we have all the information you need to know if you do. Keep reading to find out more about the emergency key and important features of your key fob. 

Pushing car start button. How To Start Chrysler Pacifica With An Emergency Key

What To Know About Key Fobs

Most people are familiar with key fobs because they have been used for keyless entry into vehicles for many years. They are also used for remote start on vehicles with that feature. Surprisingly, the key fob is also a requirement in the ignition process for starting the Chrysler Pacifica engine.

Sentry Key Immobilizer System

Chrysler Pacificas are equipped with an automative preventative anti-theft system that combines the key fob technology, keyless ignition, and a Radio Frequency (RF) receiver to disable the engine for unauthorized use.

If a programmed key fob cannot be detected by the vehicle, the engine will not start. Pressing the "engine start/stop" button will only result in an error message on the dash control panel.  

Low Battery Key Fob

Receiving the "key fob not detected" error message is one of the first indications to the owner that the battery is starting to get low in your key fob. If you receive the error message, confirm you have the key fob, and your next try is successful, then the battery is probably starting to become depleted.

It is best to change it quickly before you find yourself in a situation where the vehicle won't' move past the key fob detection error message.

Back-up Starting Method

So, what happens if you do forget to change the battery or, even worse, your key fob is heavily damaged? Thankfully, you can still start the vehicle.

You don't actually use the emergency key, it's only for the doors and glove compartment, but you do need the key fob. You can still start the vehicle by touching the nose side (the side opposite the emergency key) of the key fob to the "engine start/stop" button. Pushing the button using this method allows the ignition process to activate. 

Watch this YouTube video for more clarification:

How do you use the emergency key on a key fob?

The emergency key inside the Chrysler Pacifica is provided as a backup measure should your key fob become inoperable to activate the doors. To access the emergency key, push the small button located on the side of the fob, which separates the fob into two pieces. Inside you will find the emergency key.  

Car stop start system with finger pressing the button

When to Use It

There are two situations in which you might find that you need to use the emergency key provided by Chrysler.  

First, if the key fob battery is depleted or the fob is damaged, it may no longer work to operate the door locks. This does not mean that you are locked out. Use the emergency key to unlock the driver-side door.

However, be aware that the car alarm will be activated. To disarm the alarm, you will need to touch the top of the key fob to the "engine start/stop" button. 

Removing the Key for Security

Second, the emergency key locks and unlocks the glove compartment. The emergency key easily separates from the key fob, giving you the option of taking the key with you.

This is important when you may have to leave your car with others, like valet parking or a repair shop, but you want to ensure that your glove compartment is secured. Removing the emergency key from the fob does not affect the ability to use any of the other functions of the fob. 

How do you check if the key fob is working?

Car key on white background

You press a button on your key fob, and nothing happens. Is it the key fob or the van? To check if your key fob is working, press any button.

If the fob is trying to transmit a signal to the Pacifica, you will see a flashing LED indicator light located on the top of the device above the "lock" and "unlock" buttons. The indicator light brightness level is intended for indoor viewing, so it may be difficult to see in direct sunlight. 

According to the 2021 owner's manual, the key fob can successfully communicate with your van from up to 66 feet away.  It is not necessary to point the key fob directly at the vehicle.

The owner's manual also warns that a cell phone, laptop, or other electronic devices in too close proximity may block the key fob signal resulting in poor performance. 

How do you open the key fob on a Chrysler Pacifica?

When you need to replace the battery on your Chrysler Pacifica, it can be a little confusing about how to get it open. You know that you have to get inside, but it's not immediately obvious how to do so. There is a specific method that you need to use for opening. Otherwise, you risk breaking the key fob case. 

First, you remove the emergency key by pressing the button on the side of the key fob. This will release the key. The key is the hidden trick.

Next, you will find a tiny gap in the exposed section of the fob. Insert the key blade and pop open the key fob carefully. You can also use a coin or screwdriver but using the key is handy and MacGyver-like.

Be careful because replacement key fobs aren't cheap. Once the case separates, this will expose the battery slot, and you can easily remove the dead battery and replace it with a new one. When finished, snap the case back together, and you are ready to go. 

The key fob uses a CR2032 button battery; check out this lithium multi-pack from Energizer if you need some. 

Find it here on Amazon. 

If you are still unsure about getting into your key fob, watch this video on YouTube:

What is KeySense on Chrysler Pacifica?

KeySense is a feature offered through UConnect that gives drivers the ability to customize the Chrysler Pacifica driving experience based on the KeySense designated key fob assigned to the vehicle.

According to the 2021 owner's manual, the following safety features are pre-programmed into KeySense:

  • Entertainment audio muted if occupied driver seat belt not fastened
  • Consistent chime for unbuckled seat belts
  • Maximum audio volume is limited
  • Daytime running lights
  • Headlights on with wipers
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Automatic high beams

Still, you can further program the KeySense fob with different settings. Do this through the UConnect touch screen panel. Here you can allow different features to be activated or deactivated.

This is also where a driver profile is established and coded by personal identification number (PIN). That same number sequence will be used at the vehicle start-up to activate the key fob and unique settings programmed to a specific driver profile. 

Parental Controls

KeySense allows you to program additional safety features such as maximum speed, an early fuel warning, and even assisted driving options if you have new drivers. Beyond driver preference and convenience, KeySense gives parents peace of mind and a level of supervision while young drivers are gaining solo experience on the road. 

For more information, watch this promotional video from KeySense:

How do I turn off the KeySense on my Chrysler Pacifica?

The KeySense functions only work when the specific KeySense-labeled fob is in the vehicle.  At the time of new purchase, owners should be provided with two additional non-KeySense fobs that do not activate any pre-programmed functions.

KeySense options are accessed and edited through the vehicle's UConnect System. To make changes to this feature's options, access UConnect through the buttons located on the touch screen and buttons found on the faceplate surrounding the touch screen in the center of the instrument panel. 

To access, press the "vehicle" button, then choose "settings."  From there, you will see the UConnect options menu. To find and access each feature option, use the scroll function, or you can use the "scroll/enter" knob located on the right. You will need the PIN to make changes. 

Detail close-up of car start and stop button. Modern car interior with minimalistic details. How To Start Chrysler Pacifica With An Emergency Key

In Closing

The key fob is required for entry, remote start, and push-start options on the Chrysler Pacifica. These features are a convenience to drivers and a standard feature on many newer model cars.

If the key fob is dead or damaged, panic doesn't need to set in. Chrysler considered those scenarios and included an emergency key and alternate start method for you to use. While it may not be as easy as pushing a button, it won't leave you stranded or locked out of your vehicle. 

To find out more about cool features with your van, read "Does Chrysler Pacifica Have a 3rd Row? [Yes! and Here's What You Need to Know About It]."

For more information on keyless starting, check out "How To Start A Push-Start Car?"

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